Urwerk UR-1001 Zeit Device Goes ‘Easy Rider’ (With Video)
by Ian Skellern
The video at the bottom of this article was made in the spirit of a bit of fun by Urwerk co-founder and chief designer Martin Frei and a couple of his friends: : Jean Pierre DiLenardo, designer of the jewelry brand CULT925, and photographer Nathan Beck.
A plethora of complications and indications
The hour satellite complication is a “flying” design in that there is no top bridge supporting the carrousel. This allows maximum appreciation of the satellite hour and retrograde minute mechanisms.
The retrograde minute hand is fixed to a sprung ring around the circumference of the satellite complication that is pushed along a guide rail by the hour satellite. A swan-neck spring engages two coaxial star cams. When the minute hand gets to 60 minutes, the star cams trip over to release the minute hand and it flies back to zero to meet the next hour satellite.
The day/night indicator is a rotating disc marked with black Super-LumiNova for the night, white-brushed ruthenium for day, and a striped mix for dusk/dawn.
A power reserve indicator monitors the amount of energy left in the mainspring up to 39 hours and features a red warning zone to remind the owner when the Zeit Device needs refueling.
The revolving satellite calendar is an original annual calendar complication completely developed in-house by Urwerk. Visually, it is in the same family as the hour satellite complication, with months and date replacing hours and retrograde minutes. However, whereas the hours rotate across the minutes with unchanging 60-minute regularity, the months automatically adjust according to whether they have 30 or 31 days.
“At the end of 30-day months — April, June, September and November — the date advances automatically to the first of the following month. At the end of the short months, a finger on a Maltese cross intervenes to make the date wheel advance two days to the next month,” Baumgartner explains.
On the back
The “oil change” indicator is the shortest time interval measured on the back of the Zeit Device. It alerts the user as to when a service is due after three years. As it does so, the dial changes from white (years one to three) to red (years three to five). This display is reset to zero each time the timepiece is serviced.
The 100-year indicator advances in five-year increments and acts like the odometer of a car. Where an automobile’s odometer keeps track of the total distance a vehicle has driven, the 100-year (and 1000-year) indicator of the UR-1001 registers the total running time of the movement.
The 1000-year indicator advances once every 100 years on its imperceptibly slow, but deliberate, journey toward a new millennium.
The UR-1001 AlTin is an impressive timepiece, and it’s no surprise that the eight pieces sold out quite quickly. We can only cross our fingers that Urwerk might release another version in the not-too-distant future.
For more information, please visit https://www.urwerk.com/collections/ur-special-projects/ur-1001.
Quick Facts UR-1001 AlTiN Zeit Device
Case: AlTiN-treated steel with titanium elements, 106 mm x 62 mm x 23 mm, bespoke chain with carabiner clasp
Functions: dial side: revolving satellite hour complication, retrograde minutes, running seconds; revolving satellite calendar with months and date, day/night indicator, power-reserve indicator; back side: “oil change” indicator (5 years), 100-year indicator, 1,000-year indicator
Limitation: 8 pieces (sold out)
Price: 340,000 Swiss francs (excluding taxes) retail in 2011
* This article was first published on February 20, 2015 at The Urwerk UR-1001 Zeit Device Goes ‘Easy Rider’