Urwerk - The Geneva Watch Auction: X Geneva Saturday, November 9, 2019 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Urwerk
    Year: Circa 2005
    Reference No: UR-103
    Case No: 5
    Material: 18k pink gold and titanium
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 3.03, 21 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: 18k pink gold
    Dimensions: 50mm x 36mm x 13.5mm
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and buckle signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Urwerk fitted box
    Literature: Urwerk is featured in Twelve Faces of Time: Horological Virtuosos by Elisabeth Doerr and Ralph Baumgarten pp. 182-198

  • Catalogue Essay

    Urwerk’s UR-103 is an incredibly important watch historically speaking as it is one of the pieces that firmly set the mark for what was to become a genre referred to as Creative Independent Horology and beamed the brand to the summits of horological Everest.

    Urwerk was founded in 1997 by Felix Baumgartner, a watchmaker having started his careers doing restoration on antique watches and working for Vacheron Constantin and Martin Frei, an artist passionate about architecture and design. Both being in their early 20s, their inspiration came from the pop culture they grew up with, Sci-Fi, comics and design bringing a completely fresh and out of the box approach to watches and watchmaking.

    Whereas the pieces created by the duo obtained critical acclaim, commercial success was slow in coming. Cash was low and Baumgartner and Frei were even considering it quits but decided to test the market with one last watch. Presented in 2003, the UR-103 hit all the right notes with collectors, it was adventurous, exotic, fierce, cool and utterly like nothing people had seen before.

    Time is read via 4 three-dimensional orbiting and revolving hour-display satellites. A world premiere, the back of the watch features a dashboard featuring a power reserve display, indication of minutes and running seconds for exact time setting as well as a small screw enabling the wearer to fine tune the hairspring for greater precision.

    The present UR-103 is an evolution of the original model where the top of the case was opened to reveal the mechanism. Whereas this may seem simple, creating the sapphire crystal was quite a daunting task as no sapphire crystal of this size and form had ever been made, new techniques were developed to craft it.

    Even though the bold design of the watch can take centre stage, we cannot underline enough the complex mechanism beating within. More than a horological sculpture, the UR-103 is an icon of 21st century watchmaking and a must have in a collection of independent creators.

    Please note that Urwerk offers a complimentary service for this watch and a Certificate will be issued following the servicing.

  • Artist Biography


    Swiss • 1997

    The Swiss firm's name "Urwerk" is a play on the German word meaning clockwork. "Ur" is an ancient Sumerian city in which the populace used sundials for timekeeping, while "werk" is German for creation. The company started by Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei is known for their innovative avant-garde designs inspired by space travel. With their own take on time indication, like many of their contemporaries, their futuristic timepieces are rooted in high-end traditional watchmaking. Their signature floating method of time indication using rotating satellites traces back to a watch made in 1656. Producing only 150 watches per year, they have impressed connoisseurs with their innovativeness and cutting-edge technical prowess.

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Ref. UR-103
A rare and original pink gold wristwatch with three-dimensional satellite hour display and power reserve

Circa 2005
50mm x 36mm x 13.5mm
Case, dial, movement and buckle signed

CHF15,000 - 25,000 

Sold for CHF23,750

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Watches, Continental Europe and the Middle East
+ 41 79 637 1724

The Geneva Watch Auction: X

Geneva Auction 9-10 November 2019