Urwerk - RETROSPECTIVE: 2000 - 2020 Geneva Sunday, November 8, 2020 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Urwerk
    Year: 2003
    Reference No: UR-103
    Case No: 12/25
    Material: 18k white gold
    Calibre: Manual, cal 3.03
    Bracelet/Strap: Alligator
    Clasp/Buckle: 18k white gold pin buckle
    Dimensions: 50mm x 36mm x 13.5mm
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by International Warranty and presentation box. Further accompanied by an original sketch signed Martin Frei of the UR-103
    Literature: Urwerk is featured in Twelve faces of Time, Horological Virtuosos by Elisabeth Doerr and Ralf Baumgarten pp.186-201

  • Catalogue Essay

    It’s the Basel Fair 2003, three years into the new millennium and watchmaking had not yet broken the codes of the past.

    Urwerk, a young brand founded by watchmaker Felix Baumgartner and designer Martin Frei in 1997 were on the brink of bankruptcy and their latest creation was a last chance to “make it or break it”.
    The UR-103 was a big break in terms of design from the brand’s round UR-101 and UR-102 models. It is a watch that looked like anything but a watch, it broke all the rules and clearly set a path to the unbridled creativity of Independent Creative Horology a few years later.

    Says Felix Baumgartner “UR-103 is the result of nearly three years of development and a further two more years of testing... the end result went beyond our dreams.”

    The case was somewhat of a rectangle, rounded on the bottom and bombé on the top part. The top of the case featured cut lines giving the watch a rather industrial appearance with an opening on the bottom for the time indication that was done via the brand’s signature rotating discs. Hours are etched into rotating satellites, the correct hour aligns with a minute track allowing the exact time to be instantly read.
    The back side of the watch features a power reserve indicator, a subdial for precise to the minute time setting and continuous seconds as well as a precision adjustment screw that allows the user the possibility of adjusting the watch's timing (about +/- 30 seconds per day).

    The UR-103 received orders on the first day of Basel fair, it enabled the brand to continue, the later iterations of the 103 were huge successes and since then Urwerk has been creating watches of undeniable appeal to an ever growing collector base.

    In unworn condition, the present UR-103 in white gold is number 12 of a limited edition of 25 and a watch whose relevance in the birth of Independent Creative Horology cannot be underlined enough.

    The proceeds of the sale will be donated to Doctors Without Borders, a non profit organisation that provides medical assistance to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters, or exclusion from healthcare.

    Please note that Urwerk generously offers a complimentary service of the watch to the successful bidder.

  • 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 very rare and unusual limited edition white gold chronometer wristwatch with three-dimensional satellite hour display and fine adjustment, international warranty and presentation box

50mm x 36mm x 13.5mm
Case, dial and movement signed

CHF15,000 - 25,000 

Sold for CHF47,880

Contact Specialist

Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Watches, Continental Europe and the Middle East

41 79 637 1724


Thomas Perazzi

Head of Watches, Asia
+852 2318 2031


RETROSPECTIVE: 2000 - 2020

Geneva Auction 8 November 2020