Appropriating time, rotation and orbit, the URWERK UR-100V “Blue Planet” reimagines “space time” as a modern-day wristwatch.
If you’d like a glimpse at the future of watchmaking, look no further than Geneva-based URWERK (urwerk.com). By reconceptualizing mechanical watchmaking for the 21st century, URWERK has pushed the limits of displaying time and space since the early ’90s. Founded by third-generation watchmaker Felix Baumgartner and artist Martin Frei, the two designers take centuries-old concepts and turn them into mechanical marvels inspired by science fiction. Take their latest, an update on a signature piece, the UR-100. In addition to Earth time, hours and minutes, the UR-100 “Blue Planet” also looks deeper into the universe to reveal an extra astrophysical dimension called “spatial horology.” The Blue Planet exchanges URWERK’s usual imposing outer case for the UR-100’s beautiful, dark matte shade of cobalt PVD steel inspired by the infinite sky.
Three green-and-yellow arrowheads spin around the Blue Planet’s dial indicating three sets of data. First, the minutes, 0 to 60, are indicated along the bottom edge of the dial. As the arrows travel, one arrow reappears at the 9:00 position to track the 555.55 kilometers the earth rotates at the equator every 20 minutes. When the arrowhead finally reappears at the 3:00 position, it follows 20 minutes of the Earth’s rotation around the sun (35,742 kilometers)—while large numerals indicate hours on the dial’s rotating central satellites. “We have miniaturized and reinterpreted our solar system. It is a plunge into space, a fall into nothingness,” Baumgartner says. “It’s a new horological odyssey with our head in the stars and our feet on the ground. It’s a reverie in blue.”
IT’S A NEW HOROLOGICAL ODYSSEY WITH OUR HEAD IN THE STARS AND OUR FEET ON THE GROUND. IT’S A REVERIE IN BLUE.” –FELIX BAUMGARTNER