TECH SPOT: Urwerk UR-210

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Urwerk’s UR-210 is a world-first watch that tells you when you need to get up and move around to keep the wind in the mainspring. Read on — then haul yourself out your seat to keep things ticking.

We all understand the concept of a power reserve but how about a watch that tells you when it is time to get up and get moving? The UR-210 by Urwerk is said to be a world-first in as much as its gives its owner feedback about how much of the watch’s stored energy it is using while you calmly sit and enjoy a good book or a cup of coffee.

While the dial of the UR-210 features a traditional power reserve indicator at one o’clock, directly opposite at 11 o’clock sits a similar dial that indicates the watch’s winding efficiency over the last two hours.

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When the wearer is resting the indicator will be lean towards the red zone to tell them that the UR-210 is not being wound enough by its automatic rotor and is instead running on stored energy. However, if – as Urwerk likes to offer – you are moving around energetically, perhaps through a spot of tennis or maybe by playing on your Wii, the indicator will point towards the green zone as a sign that you are replenishing your watch with energy.

This new indication does not measure mainspring torque but instead calculates the difference between the consumed and generated energy of the mainspring and, armed with knowledge of both winding efficiency and the watch’s power reserve, Urwerk says the wearer is now able to intervene. If the UR-210 indicates an insufficient supply of energy then the wearer can switch the position of the winding efficiency selector, placed on the back of the watch, to the Full setting.

Once set, the rotor will then convert the slightest movement into stored energy via a turbine connected to the rotor that provides unimpeded power.

For those who like to be up and about, perhaps exercising or chasing after the bus, then too much energy might be provided which Urwerk warns can unnecessarily wear the mechanism. In such a case the wearer can flip the efficiency selector to the reduced setting to slow the rotor through an air turbine compressor mounted on ruby bearings that spins and creates internal resistance to ease the automatic winding rotor.

The dial features an oversized, three-dimensional retrograde minute hand that indicates 0-60 minutes by tracing an arc of 120°. But, as the hand hits the 60th minute a click will signal the return of the minute hand to its starting point, flying back to position in less than 0.1 of a second, thanks to a retrograde system based on three key elements including a central axis surrounded by a cylindrical marine chronometer-type spring that generates the optimal tension required for the retrograde minutes flyback and a double coaxial star-shaped cam that regulates the retrograde mechanism through its gearing. When the minute hand reaches 60, the double star trips a hockey-stick shaped spring under the mechanism which releases the minute hand enabling it to fly back to the starting position.

“More than any other Urwerk piece the UR-210 catches the attention,” says Martin Frei, Urwerk’s creative head. “The UR-210 is not really a watch but rather a living mechanism grafted onto your wrist. We have nicknamed the UR-210 the Maltese Falcon because we see it as the stuff that dreams are made of.”

THE STATS
Case: 43.8mm titanium and steel with sapphire glass
Movement: Caliber UR-7.10 with 51 jewels
Water Resistance: 3ATM
Power Reserve: 39 hours
Other Materials: Plated in ARCAP P40. The watch has a 3D minute hand crafted in aluminium and a brass counterweight. Its central cylindrical spiral spring is steel and the hour satellites are also aluminium. The UR-210’s central carousel and screws are grade 5 Titanium.


This article was taken from the October 2012 issue of WatchPro magazine, out now. To view a digital version of the magazine click here.

 

 

 

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