Urwerk UR-100V Stardust: Star Light, Diamond Bright
by Martin Green
Urwerk is a brand that always loves to look beyond Earth’s atmosphere into the depths of the universe. Founders Martin Frei and Felix Baumgartner have a passion for outer space (and Star Trek) and translate that in a unique way into their timepieces. Many of them look like they have been created as a spaceship, or at least to be worn when you are traveling on one.
With their signature wandering hours displayed within their collection through a wide variety of satellite configurations, they have created a universe of their own within the watch world. Among them, the UR-100 might not be the most extreme version, but (first) looks can be deceiving, in particular when it concerns the UR-100V Stardust.
Let’s talk diamonds
Before I go into the watch itself, I first would like to highlight what gives this Urwerk the name ‘Stardust.’ This is a reference to the brilliant-cut diamonds that decorate the timepiece. As their fire and scintillation show a lot of resemblance with twinkling stars in the sky, the connection is obvious; the setting on the Urwerk, however, is not.
Four hundred diamonds are used on the UR-100V to create a spectacular effect. As the total carat weight is close to 1.90 carats, you can already deduct that the diamonds are all relatively small. Felix Baumgartner explained during Geneva Watch Days that the cost of setting these diamonds on the Urwerk is greater than the value of the stones combined.
Being a brand with a profound love for mechanics, Urwerk values diamonds beyond their aesthetic qualities. While playing their role in the overall design of the UR-100V Stardust, their setting is profoundly technical. Urwerk opted for a so-called snow-setting. This type of setting was pioneered by Jaeger-LeCoultre but widely adopted in the industry. It combines brilliant-cut diamonds of various sizes, which are seemingly placed at random.
A snow setting requires quite a bit of planning, as the setter has to figure out where to put each diamond to achieve the desired effect. With the UR-100V Stardust, a marvelous job was done, as I don’t recall seeing a snow setting so tightly packed. This tremendous skill is even more visible near the lower lugs of the Urwerk, which dip down. The diamonds smoothly follow this curve with unbelievable precision. It takes a very gifted setter to achieve this.
While most brands opt for a precious metal case, Urwerk has chosen stainless steel. As this can be polished to a very high degree and reflects light different than platinum or white gold, steel creates the best effect for the diamonds.
The case itself is pretty modest for an Urwerk, being 41mm wide and just 14mm thick. On the wrist, the UR-100V Stardust sits very comfortably and occasionally tucks underneath the cuff. Thanks to the large crown, operating the watch is a breeze, and as it is located at the twelve o’clock position and integrated into the case, it doesn’t compromise the wearing comfort.
Another thing that makes an Urwerk precious is the way it tells time. With this model, the satellite system is laid bare, allowing you to enjoy every aspect of the wandering hours. A few brilliant-cut diamonds are added for good measure and to make the ‘stardust’ concept an integrated one.
The watch is a monochrome proposition, apart from a few deep blue details offering an excellent contrast. The beauty of this is that nothing is at odds with each other, giving the watch a very organic look.
Space and beyond
Urwerk also included two rare and unique complications within the UR-100V. Left and right at the top half of the watch, you can see the rotation of the Earth (distance traveled on Earth in a 20-minute frame) and the revolution of the Earth around the sun (distance traveled by Earth, also in a 20-minute frame). While the practical use of these complications can be debatable, they have a very high cool factor. And try to name another watch with these features.
The UR-100V Stardust is fitted with an automatic movement that Urwerk sources from Zenith. Their Elite caliber forms the base for this watch, and in my humble opinion, this is still one of the best automatic calibers currently available.
Urwerk completely reworks the movement and hides it mostly behind a stunning oscillating weight fitted with a Windfänger airscrew to control its motion. A blue fabric strap and stainless steel buckle secure the UR-100V Stardust on the wrist.
The buckle is also set with 22 brilliant-cut diamonds, complementing the theme.
While this Urwerk is not a limited edition, production is quite complex given the diamond setting, so the brand will only make ten each year, and it is safe to say that their lucky owners will be over the moon with them!
For more information, please visit www.urwerk.com/collections/ur-satellite/ur-100
Quick Facts Urwerk UR-100V Stardust
Case: 41 x 49.7 x 14 mm, steel and titanium, brilliant-cut diamonds in snow setting
Movement: automatic Caliber UR12.02 (Base movement Zenith Elite), 48-hour power reserve, 28,800 vph/4 Hz frequency with Windfänger winding regulator system
Functions: satellite hours, minutes; distance traveled on Earth in 20 minutes, revolution of the Earth around the sun in 20 minutes
Limitation: 10 pieces per year
Price: CHF 88,000
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