Urwerk – Baumgarten and Frei

Urwerk watches

Urwerk: A Young Horlogerie Brand with Exquisite Craftsmanship

Born in 1995, Urwerk is a Geneva-based, luxury watch-making brand that originated due to the brainchild of two skilled brothers, Felix and Thomas Baumgartner, as well as their designer friend named Martin Frei.

At the time of inauguration, the company’s vision was to be a luxury brand for innovative and artistic watches. However, today, it has gone ahead to become famous even for modern and head and next-generation designs – something that fashionable and royal watch lovers would love to have.

Urwerk what’s in a name?!

Urwerk is certainly not a name that comes out easily from people of different countries, but nevertheless the brand manufactures some of the most sumptuous timepieces that no other Swiss brand offers. The blend of skills possessed by the brothers and the artistic talent of their friend has resulted into watches that retain the rich history of chronometers while moving ahead with the time with new technology, striking design, and superior craftsmanship.
The Meaning of Urwerk

Did you know that the word ‘Urwerk’ is made up of two words that are vital to the creators? Well, it is a compilation of ‘Ur’ and ‘Werk’. Let’s now find out the meaning of these two words.

  • Ur: This is the name of a very ancient city in Mesopotamia where in 6000 B.C., the time was reflected by the moving shadows cast by the colossal sundials that were historically famous as obelisks of Ur. As these giant sundials exposed the secrecy of the earth’s movement in space, the inhabitants of the Ur city who were Sumerians divided 365 days into 12 parts by observing the passage of these shadows, thus, laying the base for measuring time. This is why we follow the division of 12 months in a year even today along with 24 hours in a day.
  • Werk: This refers to a German term whose meaning in English is to toil, produce, develop, shape, form, and kindle emotions.

“Conceptual brand” fits the Urwerk brand

Therefore, ‘Urwerk’ stands for the conception of inspiring forward thinking and accurate time measuring tools. It also represents a German word Uhrwerk that means watch movement or original accomplishment. Named after the historic sundials of the Ur city and the German term representing work, Urwerk gets its inspiration from a diverse range of sources, right from the timepieces of 17th century to people, notions, and machines.

Expanding the precincts of haute horlogerie up to a large extent, the chronometers of this brand are undoubtedly valiant, highly contemporary, and unbelievable accurate while still being traditional, chic, and versatile. When designing an ingenious piece, the brand always tend to succeed in its goal of following nobody but to make their own way in pushing the limits of haute horlogerie as far as possible.

The Birth of Urwerk

As per the sources, the brand was born from a meeting among the two brothers who were gifted watchmakers and their friend who is an artist and designer. It was 1995 when these young brothers got together due to their passion for depicting and measuring time. After a lengthy conversation that included sharing of ideas and beliefs, a decision was taken to form their own portrayal of time.

Soon after this, Martin Frei drew and polished the design of the chronometer of their dreams, while the two Baumgartners developed the technical features related to movement over a span of two years. Already enthused by the Campanus Night clock of the 17th century, the small panel aimed to filter timekeeping to extract the very essence of perception of time by discarding all irrelevant distractions and signs. In that clock, every hour on a turning disc rises and sets like a sun in an arc like manner, and it was this hour concept that formed the basis for creations of this brand.

Finally, the small team of three gave a name to legalize their new collaboration by joining Ur and Werk.

Some of the brands models

  • 1997: The brand’s first watch was released, which was named 101 followed by 102. While the former was of gold, the later was of steel. They looked much like polished ocean
  • 2003: The makers showcased the 103 watch model at Basel exhibition. The UR 103 has four looping and rotating satellites to reveal hours, all of which display the time in digital as well as analogue manner. Working much like a spaceship, the watch has a big crown that makes one recall rocket engine. On the reverse side, you can find three hands under a dial of sapphire crystal: a power reserve indicator of 15 minutes and adjustment screw to control the precision
  • 2005: The 103.03 model was launched
  • 2007: The new model 201 was launched at Geneva Fairs, which feature telescopic minute hands located through the center of three revolving and orbiting hour satellites
  • 2009: The UR103t (The Tarantula) model was released, which won the accolade of the Best Sports Watch in Singapore’s Grand Prix d’Horlogerie Asia competition where it also won the Best In Design award

The brand has no tradition, which means it is experimenting with the design as well as technical aspects of watches. So, more unique Urwerk models are expected in near future.

Olaf

Olaf is fascinated by watches since the age of 6. Having his first Casio with calculator in the early '70's (back then rocket science!) he was the proudest guy at school. Over the years Olaf has specialized in exclusive watches and collectibles and has a broad knowledge of valuable timepieces. (ps. He enjoys a good cigar too!)

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