The Opus 5 by Felix Baumgartner/Urwerk for Harry Winston is one of the best of this series of exceptional timepieces. But, as this drawing by Urwerk designer Martin Frei from June of 2003 shows, one of the original ideas behind Urwerk’s Opus 5 was a digital display in a model christened with the working title “Time Bandit.”
“What, another watch?” she almost screamed in disbelief no sooner than I had opened the front door to our little love nest. Rewind to last week. I had been looking for a Roger Smith Series 1 for some time now, and Jones, my watch dealer, happened to finally locate one. I thought that I had played it pretty safe, so I really don’t know how she could have noticed. But then what happened next changed the rest of my life.
Following the Swatch Group’s takeover of Harry Winston, a continuation of the Opus series with an Opus 14 seemed in doubt to me, though at Baselworld 2015 Dr. Nayla Hayek, chair of the Swatch Group’s board of directors and CEO of Harry Winston, quietly let it be known that a Harry Winston Opus 14 is forthcoming. What better reason to take a look back at the history-making timepieces of the Opus series.
“It’s not a pocket watch,” Felix Baumgartner, Urwerk’s co-founder and chief watchmaker, emphasized to me, “It’s a ‘Zeit Device’.” This ultra-complicated calendar-cum-pocket watch is one of the most unique timepieces in the horological world today. Enjoy its starring role in this new ‘Easy Rider’-style video.
Paradoxically, the SIHH really begins at least a day before its doors open; Sunday is the time to visit the smaller brands holding private exhibitions Geneva. So we put on our Sunday best and headed into town for a busy day of meetings with De Bethune, Urwerk, Laurent Ferrier, Revelation, Christophe Claret, Speake-Marin.
The fact is that Urwerk is a small brand, albeit an extremely imaginative and talented small brand, with very limited resources available. That means that if Urwerk wants to use resources to develop and produce a new model, it first has to stop producing one of the older models. So unfortunately it’s soon to be bye-bye to the UR-110. But fortunately it’s hello to the final UR-110 model: the “Eastwood”!
SalonQP, London’s premier watch exhibition, ran from the 6th through the 8th of November 2014 at the prestigious Saatchi Art Gallery in central London. It was bigger and better than ever in terms of both size and visitor numbers.
Read on for more than just a few reasons (and lots of photos) why SalonQP is my favorite watch exhibition.
Now we get to the real nitty-gritty at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève.: the Aiguille d’Or. There are no ifs, and or buts any more, just a decision on which of the 72 pre-selected watches is the best overall timepiece of the year. It is the most prestigious of the awards given.
Which could be our panel’s favorite to win? The Margot by Christophe Claret? Urwerk EMC? Perhaps the De Bethune DB29 Maxichrono Tourbillon? Or will it be something else entirely?
While this category in the 2014 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève is called “Mechanical Exception,” it could well be titled “exceptionally difficult to pick a winner.” And that’s because of the incredible selection of exceptional watches to choose from: Urwerk EMC, Jaquet Droz Bird Repeater, TAG Heuer Monaco V4 Tourbillon, MB&F Legacy Machine No. 2, Hublot, MP-05 LaFerrari, and Andreas Strehler Sauterelle à Lune Perpétuelle.
Let’s get one thing straight: Urwerk’s EMC Black is not a pretty watch and it’s not meant to be, it’s a proof-of-concept instrument. And a very good instrument at that, one that is not only extremely precise, but is the world’s first watch capable of measuring its own precision without external tools or meters.