Urwerk goes back to basics with a new 102 reload
Late last year, Urwerk teamed up with artist Cooper Jacoby to create a special one-off version of its original 102 watch from 1997. We brought you live coverage of the watch ahead of the auction and wondered if we'd see a return in this form in 2018. The 102 was completely redesigned, taking into account a complete redesign of the case. Today we have the answer to that question in the form of this UR102 Reloaded series watch. The latest 102 gets the same case as the one we saw fetching over $400,000 at a one-off auction, but misses out on the finesse color-changing element that makes this case so special. A fair tradeoff in my book, as I'm happy to see this case make it into a production reference.
The original 102 is an important part of Urwerk's history as their first platform and eventual proof of concept, and has since grown in various ways. There are no hands working here, not even a dial, just a long wandering hour hole tracking the time on a display arc at the top of the case. It's simple, elegant, and looks as fresh today as it did 25 years ago (though the inspiration for this design is much older).
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In fact, the 102 represents a number of firsts for the brand, and these are reflected in the rotating elements on the dial itself, written on top of the broader celestial-themed components. It provides a personal touch to the theme of the watch without compromising the core theme of the work. The disc element itself comes in heat-treated blue on the bare gray titanium case, or classic Urwerk black on the all-black titanium case.
These new 102 Reloaded references will initially come together as a set and are limited to 25 examples. The titanium case measures 41mm in diameter, which is slightly further north than the original 39mm. One thing to note is that this case is a little different compared to the others, with slightly shed edges for a pebbled look and feel, so it doesn't feel bulky on the wrist. This is thanks to an overall thickness of 11.3mm. In fact, I think this new leg design is very pleasing, it's more angular than the case itself and fits easily on the wrist.
The new 102 uses the Urwerk 2.02 caliber, an automatic movement with a 48-hour reserve, a roaming hour mechanism that rotates the hour disc, and positions each hour marker in its proper position. The minute arc is static. Each engraved area is filled with Super LumiNova for maximum visibility in low light conditions.
Urwerk makes new adjustments to the 110 with the 120 "Spock"
The Urwerk 110 has remained an icon for the brand, with some stunning releases and collaborations since its launch nearly 10 years ago. This year, the platform gets a new generation with the introduction of the 120, which has been given the "Spock" moniker for reasons that will become clear in action. The 120 is a step toward a more hardwearing case, with smoother edges, trimmed dimensions, and hinged lugs, and that’s about it. Gone are the dramatic edges and corners of the 110, replaced by clean lines and clear visibility into a simplified interior. The satellite theme is still there, tracking the time along a single edge of the case, but it's handled a little differently this time around.
The 120 Spock naturally bears the "live long and prosper" tagline, as the Orbital Hour Satellite is no longer a single cube, but a two-piece object that splits and rotates along its axis to change the hour, and in the process creates a V with the " The gesture of the most famous Vulcan in the Star Trek universe is no different. Each block splits, rotates, and rejoins before catching the minute track along the right side of the dial. The design doubles the drama, but has lost the quirky oil-change indicator and running seconds that were common in the 110 in the move to the new layout.
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Overall, the execution feels a bit clean, and this is an introductory reference to the new 120, keeping it relatively simple in terms of color palette. I hope to see changes with new variants in the near future. To me, the Urwerk is at its best when it balances unexpected color applications within its highly distinctive shape; this is where I want the 120 to really mature.
The sleeker case design welcomes a new set of articulated lugs that should fit the wrist more naturally. A welcome consideration that reaffirms the brand's idea of trying to translate its designs into more wearable items without compromising creativity. That said, the 120’s sandblasted titanium case is still 47mm wide and 44mm long, with a middle thickness of 15.8mm.
Internally, Urwerk uses the new UR-20.01 to control the more complex manipulation of the hour block, now consisting of 6 elements instead of 3. Inside, there's a lyre-shaped spring that opens and closes the satellite swing before and after the satellite. The controlled oscillating weight can be seen through a small display window around the back, which has parallel grooves.