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A Timepiece that Bridges Horology with Astrophysics, Urwerk UR-100V “LightSpeed”

Urwerk, the innovative Swiss watchmaker founded by Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei in 1997, continues to redefine the landscape of luxury watches with its UR-100V “LightSpeed.” Known for their groundbreaking approach to timekeeping, Urwerk combines avant-garde design with mechanical genius, often drawing inspiration from science fiction as much as from traditional watchmaking.

The UR-100 series stands out within Urwerk’s portfolio for its inventive reinterpretation of the “wandering hours” feature. This ancient time display mechanism, revitalized by Urwerk, showcases the hours on a set of three rotating satellites that travel across a curved path to indicate the time. This concept, which dates back to the 17th century and was popularized in modern wristwatches by Audemars Piguet’s Starwheel, has been given a unique twist by Urwerk, with the UR-100 series boasting designs that push the boundaries of contemporary watchmaking.

The “LightSpeed” edition brings a cosmic dimension to the UR-100 collection. Centered around the theme of light and its interstellar journey across the solar system, the watch features a miniature planetarium. This delightful complication visually represents the speed of light’s travel time to each planet, a concept inspired as much by Einstein’s theory of relativity as by the speculative depths of science fiction, like the hyperspace of Star Wars and Star Trek.

Though its practicality might be debated, the poetic nature of the UR-100V “LightSpeed” is undeniable. Its combination of wandering hours and planetary distances crafts a narrative that feels at home in the realm of speculative fiction, reminiscent of the gadgets found in the hands of iconic space explorers like Star Trek’s Commander Spock.

The heart of the “LightSpeed” is the UR 12.02 movement, a testament to Urwerk’s flair for the extraordinary. This automatic movement is a marvel of engineering, incorporating materials and finishes that highlight the brand’s expertise in innovative watchmaking. With components such as aluminum satellite hours, beryllium-bronze Geneva crosses, a titanium chassis, and a rotor that pays homage to the sun, the UR 12.02 is as visually captivating as it is technologically advanced.

Encased in a 43 mm black carbon shell with a Grade 5 titanium back, finished with a sandblasted DLC coating, the UR-100V “LightSpeed” is a robust yet aesthetically pleasing masterpiece. Despite its size, the watch promises comfort, courtesy of a red textured rubber strap equipped with a folding clasp. Priced at 65,000 CHF (around $74,290), this watch is an exclusive offering for the connoisseur tired of the mundane, seeking the extraordinary in horology.


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