Urwerk's Special Project UR-111C in the metal.
I was very fortunate to get to meet Felix Baumgartner, co-founder and master watchmaker of Urwerk, together with Urwerk's US based representative Phil Ogle earlier this week to see Urwerk's most recent Special Project the UR-111C.
They had the two variations of the new watch on hand, one in a gunmetal finish (most of the pictures below) and another with a polished steel finish.
As one might expect the 111C is a conversation starter. While it wears reasonably well, my wrists are small, the combination of the in usual case design and unorthodox time display ensure it doesn't go unnoticed.
The case itself is three pieces, as you look down from top it's basically a large central piece and two pieces on each side. The case back then is solid, the movement is inserted from the side (tricky).
It also has no crown. Instead you wind the watch using the long cylinder you see in the center top of the case. This also controls the time setting but to switch from wind to time setting you first pull out the little lever which is positioned on the right hand side of the case.
And the time? Jumping hours, a linear retrograde minute display, a digital minute display and digital seconds. The retrograde minute display provides only a general sense of time in 5 minute intervals, to see the precise minute one needs to look at the digital seconds. I'm not sure how I feel about this, but the idea as I understood it was to give the wearer a general sense of where the minutes were at a quick glance, and that it achieves.
It's the digital seconds display that may be the little star of the show when it comes to the time display. There are two rotating discs buried deep within the movement, one showing 0,10,20 etc the other 5,15,25 etc. They come together in the center and with the use of optical fibers (which Felix referred to as an image conduit) the display of running seconds is essentially projected from the depths of the movement to the surface. While there's no magnification occurring this is (to my uneducated non scientific mind) the cyclops of the future!