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Felix Baumgartner, Urwerk, Harry Winston, And The Opus V: Where On Earth Did That Come From? - Reprise | Quill & Pad

Felix Baumgartner, Urwerk, Harry Winston, And The Opus V: Where On Earth Did That Come From? – Reprise | Quill & Pad

Blast from an earlier time! This post is a “reprint” of an article initially published on The PuristS in 2005.

The article is in four sections:

Section 1: Felix Baumgartner and Urwerk

Section 2: Harry Winston Rare Timepieces and the Opus V

Section 3: The Urwerk 103.03

Section 4: The Urwerk 103.03 User Review

Part 1: Felix Baumgartner and Urwerk

Many companies set out to wow the public at the yearly Baselworld watch reasonable with rich booths, extravagant gatherings, and occasionally an imaginative watch or two. Sadly, we will in general see much a greater amount of the previous than the last mentioned. Not because of lack of will, but evidence that even with the gigantic research and improvement budgets available to the big brands, conceptualizing and acknowledging something with a horological wow factor is no simple undertaking. Again and again we see old news wearing new clothes and being showcased as the following big thing with a gigantic publicity campaign.

Harry Winston Rare Timepieces has adopted another strategy; with its Opus arrangement, it has bridled, sustained, and advanced the incredibly creative gifts of a couple of little free watchmakers and, of course, has figured out how to wow us multiple times in a row.

The Opus arrangement was introduced with the Opus 1 by François-Paul Journe in 2001. Antoine Preziuso’s beautiful Opus II followed the year after. The year 2003 saw the absolutely unique, imaginative and crazy Opus III by Vianney Halter, which showed the dangers and commitment Harry Winston was set up to both take and make. Christophe Claret continued the arrangement with his astounding musical Opus IV in 2004. For additional on the Opus arrangement see The Harry Winston Opus Series: A Complete Overview From Opus 1 Through Opus 13 .

Harry Winston Opus 1 by François-Paul Journe

The Opus 2 by Antoine Preziuso for Harry Winston

The Harry Winston Opus 3 by Vianney Halter (with later assistance from Renaud et Papi)

Harry Winston Opus 4 by Christophe Claret

Each of these Opus watches produced colossal publicity and horological respect for Harry Winston, and the Opus V by Felix Baumgartner not just continued that custom, it rocked the universe of haute horology like not very many watches before it.

2005: Harry Winston Opus V by Urwerk

Love it or unwilling it, the Opus V isn’t a watch to leave one inclination uninterested. So it likely could merit having a closer gander at the group behind the project and the watch.

The Baumgartner brothers and Martin Frei

Felix Baumgartner and his brother Thomas are third-age watchmakers – and you may almost add a fourth as their incredible granddad worked for a watch company too, albeit in the office not the workshop.

The Baumgartners experienced childhood in Schaffhausen, where their dad had a shop selling and fixing watches: this was a shop he had taken over from his dad. At some point, father came home and amazed the family by saying that he had enough; he didn’t care for present day watches enough to dedicate his life to them any longer. He offered the shop and dedicated himself to his hobby, which was reestablishing antique clocks in his atelier.

Felix Baumgartner introducing Urwerk at the AHCI remain at Baselworld 2005

The atelier was the room beside Felix’s bedroom. What’s more, with his dad currently working at home the entire day, Felix, as of now just seven years of age, invested the majority of his extra energy learning and aiding his dad. A couple of years after the fact, Thomas (the more seasoned of the two brothers) began an apprenticeship with IWC as a precision machinist. Felix proceeded to contemplate watchmaking at the famous watchmaking school in Solothurn. Of course, he discovered he had a significant head start on his class mates.

In 1995, close to the furthest limit of his last year at watch school, Felix saw a promotion from Svend Andersen, who was searching for a youthful watchmaker to go along with him in Geneva. The announcement read, “If you wish to be autonomous at that point this is the ideal opportunity to do it!”

Felix had no distinct plans at that stage; in any case, he felt firmly that he needed to be a free watchmaker like his dad, and the magic word “independent” jumped off the page. He masterminded a meeting with Andersen and made a trip to Geneva for a meeting. In spite of Felix talking no French around then, they continued ahead with English and German (Andersen is quadrilingual).

The meet worked out positively and toward the finish of the gathering Andersen requested Baumgartner’s CV; Felix had not readied one as he suspected his experience was not at this point worth expounding on. Andersen scribbled Felix’s name and telephone number on a little piece of scrap paper, which he at that point placed on a tall heap of great looking CVs.

Incredibly, that scrap of paper was not lost, and after fourteen days Felix was offered the position. He spent the following over two years with Andersen.

“When Felix completed the process of watchmaking school in 1995, he came to me to function as a free watchmaker and learn French,” Andersen advised me. “At that time we began putting the on the map erotic robot watch (see Worldtimers, Erotic Watches, And Poker-Playing Dogs: AHCI Co-Founder Svend Andersen Has (Semi-)Retired, But His Brand Lives On ), and Felix built up the technique for cutting out arm parts for the machine figures and setting them up for painting (while likewise working all the more technically on a retrograde unending calendar). Felix turned out here for almost three years and began to try and build up the mechanism for his 101/102 watch.

“His interest was additionally in updating old watches and perceive how they were made: a vital advance for a creator. The most recent few years have seen him truly create as an exceptional watchmaker. The Opus V is a functional masterpiece, and Felix is a fine agent for the AHCI: he has a genuine ‘Academie’ spirit.”

While this was going on, Thomas had completed his apprenticeship at IWC and went to England where he put in a couple of years figuring out how to reestablish antique English clocks and about their set of experiences. A brief period in his dad’s atelier followed before moving to Saint-Croix, where he labored for a couple of years with François Junod planning, constructing, and fixing machines, including Jaquet Droz’s popular Writer android .

Thomas at that point moved to Geneva and set up a little atelier in which he continued to work for Junod just as different clients. Following a year, the brothers united and opened up another workshop together. Felix continued to work for Andersen; he additionally worked multi week of the month for Vacheron Constantin, which assisted with paying his bills.

The brothers originally discussed making their own watch around 1995 as something to accomplish for no particular reason. They had seen too many complicated watches on which they felt that perusing the time was difficult because of the numerous hands on the dials. They decided to plan and construct a moderate, current, and imaginative watch. Basic sketches were drawn up of a watch with a voyaging hour.

An early sketch by Martin Frei of what might become the Urwerk’s first watch, the UR-101

Martin Frei was a craftsman who had been a companion for quite a long time, however he was not simply a craftsman. Frei was a craftsman who had adored and collected watches since childhood, in this manner it was common that the Baumgartners disclose their plans to him and request his info. Frei promptly got a handle on their concept and drew a couple of sketches, which the brothers adored. He had come up with an extremely distinctive and new design!

An early sketch by Martin Frei of what might become the Urwerk’s first watch, the UR-101

Slowly the sketches become somewhat more refined and a look arose. The Baumgartners built a steel model, which they appeared to companions; the reaction was incredibly sure . . . so they built another.

An early sketch by Martin Frei of what might become the Urwerk’s first watch, the UR-101

In 1997 Thomas and Felix Baumgartner joined Martin Frei, and with 20,000 Swiss francs (around $16,000) framed their own company called Urwerk. Their way of thinking was to create unique and imaginative new complications and to show that haute horology could encompass more than tourbillons and minute repeaters.

Svend Andersen was paying special mind to youthful watchmaking ability for the AHCI. He was stressed that if the association didn’t recruit more youthful members as the current members developed more seasoned it would simply disappear . In 1997, with Andersen’s help and encouragement, they introduced a brass model of the UR-101 (addressing a gold watch) and a steel model of the UR-102 at Baselworld as AHCI candidate members.

The Geneva/Maltese cross compared with a star wheel

The unique model had utilized a star wheel course of action to turn the hour plates; this was like the one utilized in Audemars Piguet’s iconic Starwheel watch. They found, in any case, that the star wheel framework, which has a spring under lasting strain on the wheel, had an excessive amount of friction because of that pressure, which caused it to utilize a lot energy. This thusly reduced the force reserve.

View from the highest point of the Urwerk Maltese cross satellite framework in the UR-101/102

They searched for choices and found that the Geneva cross offered a number of favorable circumstances: much less friction because there is no spring pressure and no tendency to bounce an additional progression whenever turned excessively fast. The Geneva cross framework requests much more tight manufacturing and assembly tolerances as there has be a slight play between the parts.

View of the Maltese crosses under the hour cones of the UR-103 orbital satellite mechanism

The terms Geneva cross and Maltese cross are interchangeable. Because of possible copyright concerns, Geneva cross is becoming all the more commonly used.

You can see a movement of a Maltese cross utilized in a stopwork mechanism to forestall over-twisting at .

The Geneva cross framework requires seriously exacting fabrication tolerances, while the star wheel requires more precise guideline and uses more energy.

The UR-101/102 watches are moderate in the extraordinary: no dial, no hands; not a lot that may persuade it is a timepiece by any means. A desolate hour digit gets across a semicircular arc, while discrete focuses mark the quarters and half-quarters.

Urwerk UR-101 “Millenium Falcon”

If the plan of the case and complication was adequately not to get you into orbit, the UR-101 was dubbed the Millenium Falcon, and the 102 Sputnik, in light of current circumstances: the voyaging hour seems as though a satellite getting across space. A variation of the 102 called the Nightwatch had a black, ceramic, anodized aluminum case with platinum back and brilliant hour figures.

Urwerk UR-102 “Sputnik”

Even at that embryonic stage, and remember they had not sold one watch right now, Urwerk created a minor scandal among the conservatives with its vanguard watches. While it attracted a lot of press coverage, deals didn’t exactly flood in. Despite the fact that more deals came with the steel UR-102 watches, which went into conveyance a year later.

Using the proceeds from those deals, the group built a gold watch. What’s more, 1998 saw Urwerk increase deals to two gold UR-101 watches and eight steel UR-102 models. The accomplices were thrilled with the increased turnover and held a gathering held for each watch sold: luckily, however, they actually had their day jobs!

From these little beginnings, turnover increased consistently and has generally doubled each year.

2001: Urwerk Chronometer for the Goldpfeil Seven Masters project

In 2001 Urwerk made 200 watches for Goldpfeil, which not just brought about more public recognition, it additionally introduced the brand to Christian Gros, who ran a little, amazingly top notch precision machining company specializing in watch cases and parts. Urwerk and Christian Gros shaped a relationship that has suffered and developed right up ’til the present time to the common benefit of both parties.

Urwerk UR-103 in yellow gold

The big year for Urwerk was 2003. Baselworld saw the company introducing its new UR-103 model, which replaced the discontinued UR-101/102 models. The 103 was a significant development of the past models as the hours were currently appeared by three-dimensional satellites at the bottom of the dial considering perusing the time at a glance, i.e., without turning the wrist.

Urwerk UR-103 Control Board

The back of the watch saw the Control Board make its debut. This enabled Urwerk to keep the dial clean and without clutter while giving helpful (but not frequently utilized) complications. Inventive functions such as the precision change showed on the back of the watch enables the client to adjust the watch’s guideline forward or backward as long as 30 seconds out of each day. A 15-moment and second dial considers precise time-setting.

The UR-103 was not just a much more sophisticated and upmarket advancement of past models; it likewise attracted a much bigger pool of clients and admirers . . . what’s more, among the last was Maximilian Büsser, overseeing director of Harry Winston Rare Timepieces.

Part 2: Harry Winston Rare Timepieces and the Opus V

Perhaps emboldened by the positive reaction at Baselworld 2003 for their new UR-103, the Baumgartners visited the Harry Winston booth and introduced themselves to overseeing director Büsser. While it might well have been a last minute, agreeable social call, the Baumgartners knew that Büsser was a decent man to know. The brothers were very much acquainted with Vianney Halter; in fact they had acted as patrons for Halter’s candidacy into the AHCI a couple of years before. Bridle and Büsser were behind the awesome Opus III.

Further discussions with Büsser continued in Geneva, and both parties’ interest in collaboration developed. Büsser needed to substitute a crazy Opus model with a more customary one. Strap’s Opus III was surprisingly kooky and crazy; Christophe Claret’s reversible Opus IV with tourbillon, cathedral gong minute repeater, date, and an immense central moon stage was a conventional model (in what other arrangement of watches but the Opus could a watch like that be called customary?). Büsser was keeping watch for somebody who could think outside about the box to create the Opus V.

By the center of 2003, Büsser decided that Urwerk had all the characteristics he was searching for. Urwerk put three starting proposition to Harry Winston; the originally was considered too dangerous from a technical perspective to complete in the time period available (see  The Urwerk Opus 5 For Harry Winston That Almost Was ); the second had the opportunity going past on a kind of continuous band; the third showed the little cubic satellites. The last was the one chosen.

Early Urwerk CAD concept of a Harry Opus V case and dial layout

Frei drew up additional sketches on the satellite topic, lastly the design of that radical framework was settled upon. Büsser had focused on that central to the Opus arrangement was the consolidation of the “DNA” of Harry Winston and the autonomous watchmaker. Feeling that the satellites addressed Urwerk, they consequently searched for a complication to address Harry Winston. As Harry Winston is notable for its utilization of retrogrades, the possibility of a retrograde moment before long arose – a decision Baumgartner almost came to regret!

Suggestions and recommendations flew back and forward, and by the year’s end the last plan was concurred. The outcome was a lot of an organization with Harry Winston contributing fundamental plan components to the case, including the crown cover and the back of the watch.

Technical drawing of the base plate of the Harry Winston Opus V by Urwerk

Urwerk and Harry Winston currently had a little more than a year in which to turn a technical drawing of something never longed for – not to mention constructed – into a functioning and reliable timepiece.

Technical drawing of the dial of the Harry Winston Opus V by Urwerk

Here Urwerk’s relationship with Christian Gros more than demonstrated its worth. Thomas Baumgartner had decided to return to a calmer life in Schaffhausen, and Felix, searching for another atelier, moved into some extra space at Gros’ workshop. Having an elite case and part-production precision machine shop for all intents and purposes on tap, was crucial to the quality and punctuality of the last product.

Christian Gros and Felix Baumgartner in 2005

Anybody under the feeling that the utilization of present day CNC machines makes manufacturing parts child’s play might be astonished to discover that simply programming, tooling, setting up the CNC machine, and making the 100 base plates for the development took a group of three almost three months. Furthermore, that was for only one part!

Once the technical subtleties of guaranteeing that working the Geneva crosses on the satellites at 90 degrees to the standard was worked out, the satellite framework advanced generally easily. Baumgartner imagined a sharp and straightforward arrangement (presently protected) for working the satellites with Geneva crosses; the satellites function as their own crosses.

Proof of concept model of great importance satellite complication of the Harry Winston Opus V

The retrograde moment, then again, demonstrated much more troublesome. Retrograde mechanisms are generally controlled from the center hub; on account of the Opus V, the center of the retrograde was occupied by another complication – the satellite framework. Baumgartner knew about no other retrograde mechanism that managed another complication in its center and, along these lines, had no technical reference to pass by. This was breaking completely new ground.

Harry Winston Opus V retrograde moment ring and hour satellite mechanism

Baumgartner had just tackled the problem months before . . . on paper, that is. The moment hand would be attached to a huge width precision ball-bearing encircling the satellite framework and fueled by a double star. The problem was that specialist micro bearing manufacturers revealed to him more than once that making an enormous width ball bearing with such a slight cross section was impossible.

Impossible? The word isn’t in Baumgartner’s vocabulary.

Oversized-breadth retrograde moment hand mechanism of the Harry Winston Opus V by Urwerk

From a plan sense, the moment hand is on the left of great importance indications for a number of reasons: initially, technically it bodes well on the left; secondly, esthetically it assists with balancing the visual load of great importance satellites on the right; thirdly, Urwerk’s research showed a solid preference for time indicators moving in a clockwise direction. Placing the moment hand on the left permitted Urwerk to satisfy each of the three criteria.

Eventually Baumgartner discovered somebody who figured out how to build up the techniques to make the bearing. In any case, when it was tested in a model, he found that the 12 mm (1/2″) traction spring that profits the retrograde – itself a non-conventional arrangement – was excessively solid; this caused enormous varieties in force across the arc of the moment hand and utilized substantially a lot of energy overcoming the spring. The arrangement was to make a spring with a more modest breadth wire, nonetheless, they were at that point at the constraint of the possible with a minuscule cross section of 0.1 mm (100 microns).

Retrograde minute traction spring for the Harry Winston Opus V by Urwerk inside a paper clip

He tried different things with consistently decreasing wire widths until he obtained the characteristics he required at 0.05 mm (50 microns) or half what was recently thought to be as far as possible. Lamentably, to move those perfect springs implied discarding 90 percent of them. Obtaining the traction springs required for the 100 Opus V watches necessitated testing each one of a 1,000 springs and rejecting 900 of them.

Retrograde minute traction spring for the Harry Winston Opus V by Urwerk

Note: to put the breadth of the 50-micron wire of the traction spring in perspective, the normal human hair is 70-100 microns.

As Felix Baumgartner explaind, “Less than two months before Baselworld I was as yet not certain on the off chance that I would be able to have these traction springs made to the specifications I required. I was certain that the development would work; nonetheless, there were a couple of little doubts at that stage concerning whether it would work in time.”

The meticulous exertion was awesome because the retrograde mechanism wound up utilizing just 15 percent of the development’s force. This, coupled with incredibly close tolerances and precision in the manufacture and assembly of parts, brought about the watch having a five-day power hold. There are very few generally “simple” watches around with a five-day power hold, not to mention one with a complex three-dimensional satellite framework turning more than two tomahawks, an incredibly huge retrograde moment (possibly the biggest at any point made) getting across 120 degrees, a day/night indicator, a force save indicator, and a service stretch indicator. This is a genuinely incredible accomplishment and demonstration of the nature of plan and construction.

Three specially formed springs under the satellite framework not just license the entire framework to be turned counterclockwise without harm, they likewise grant the deliberate lively bounce of the moment hand when it gets back to zero.

Before and in the wake of completing of the ARCAP base plate for the Harry Winston Opus V by Urwerk

Many parts have been machined from ARCAP P40 because it is an amazingly safe and stable amalgam. ARCAP is a copper nickel compound that is more stable (and costly) than brass and doesn’t corrode; brass is normally plated with gold, rhodium, or palladium.

ARCAP base plate for the Harry Winston Opus V by Urwerk

The special completion, in which the parts are micro blasted and afterward cleaned with a fine cashmere brush, is remunerating upon close assessment under different light sources: now and then it shimmers like a finely cut stone and now and again like cleaned marble. This extremely distinctive completion make the indicators simpler to peruse (with minimal reflected glare) and contrasts perfectly with the couple of profoundly cleaned surfaces.

The huge looking moment hand is actually additionally made of ARCAP and has an emptied out back. While titanium would have been lighter, Baumgartner favored ARCAP because it was possible to manufacture the moment hand with a very sharp point and to utilize the equivalent diamantée finish as the remainder of the cleaned surfaces. Urwerk’s unique fine change screw sits discreetly on the back where the proprietor can direct the accuracy +/ – 15 seconds for every day.

Harry Winston Opus V by Urwerk

A close look dial side of the Harry Winston Opus V

Power hold and timing precision change screw on the back of the Harry Winston Opus V

Side and bottom perspectives on hour satellites of the Harry Winston Opus V

Watchmaker Sébastien assembling an hour satellite for the Opus V in 2005; around then Urwerk’s watchmaking group comprised just Felix Baumgartner and this gentleman

Complex case of the Harry Winston Opus V

This is what the platinum Opus V cases resemble before machining

Harry Winston Opus V on the wrist

Part 3: The Urwerk 103.03

As if a project of the complexity of the Opus V would not be sufficient to keep anybody busy for a year or two, Baumgartner and Frei additionally figured out how to plan and construct a significant development of the 103. This watch, the 103.03, is as I would see it, their best model to date. While their past watches have been space-age, moderate, and functional time machines (with the accentuation on machine), the targa-formed crystal on the 103.03 changes it from watch that paralyzed because of its one of a kind plan into a genuinely dazzling watch.

The 103.03 was a radical reexamine of the Urwerk theory just as the look. Until this model, the thought had consistently been to show just the absolute least on the dial. It was distinctly as the plan built up that Frei and Baumgartner acknowledged the amount more was added outwardly in showing how everything functioned. The enormous crystal gives another significant bit of leeway over past models in that it is much more impervious to scratches than a completely metal cover.

Urwerk’s qualities include the fact that architect Martin Frei doesn’t come from a horological or technical background. Unshackled by realizing what is believed to be technically feasible permits his creative mind to meander unbounded; he can concentrate absolutely on workmanship and structure. To physically manufacture the complex crystal he intended for the 103.03 stretched the actual furthest reaches of the possible – good enough from Frei. Inside the type of the crystal are a progression of complex curves making production amazingly difficult. The structure first runs corresponding to the pivoting satellite and afterward levels out marginally to match the reduced curve at the highest point of the case. Difficult by itself, that was actually the simple part!

Urwerk asked five specialists in crystal manufacture to make models: four flopped completely and one had without a doubt, extremely restricted success. The problem was cutting the internal bite from the crystal where it faces the crown. Though outside cuts and shapes are moderately simple, inner cuts are very problematic. Further research and improvement implied that while these elaborate structures are presently possible, the reject rate is as yet one out of two. For each 100 watches Urwerk makes, it orders 200 crystals and tosses half of them away.

Brass is perhaps the most common metals utilized in watch component manufacture; in any case, it is typically plated with gold, rhodium or palladium to limit discolor. Urwerk fabricates a huge number from ARCAP P40 all things being equal. ARCAP is a very safe copper-nickel combination that is stabler (and more costly) than brass and doesn’t corrode like brass. That captivating completion, made by micro blasting the parts at that point cleaning them with a fine goat-hair brush, is an interesting Urwerk specialty. What’s more, the dials of the gold models receive a coating of black PVD, while the restricted version platinum models have perlage.

The look of the Control Board on the back brings us closer to earth, but not very close: just from space to a low earth orbit. The dials on the back are actually black; in any case, when caught at certain points to the light, the counter reflective coating on the crystal makes them look blue.

One uncommon element about the development in this watch is that it is topsy turvy. The minutes, seconds, and force save on the Control Board (back) are actually on what might be ordinarily the dial side of the development. The satellites on top are driven by a minuscule 0.3 mm pinion that goes through a friction-fit opening in the center wheel.

The future?

And what’s to come? Indeed, we should keep a watch out, however one thing is without a doubt: whatever else Urwerk has available for us one year from now, it is probably not going to be boring. This is a company where thinking out about the box is simply standard working procedure and the impossible essentially implies attempting again a little harder.

If Urwerk could come up with a watch like the 103.03 while creating, constructing, and dealing with a project like the Opus V, what may they come up with in a “quiet” year?

And that ought to have been the finish of this three-section set of three; in any case . . .

Part 4: The Urwerk 103.03 User Review

Urwerk UR-103.03 in white gold

As I was preparing to leave from my last visit to Urwerk, I said something to Felix Baumgartner along the lines of, I truly like your 103.03, anyway it is a disgrace it is dreadfully big for my little wrists.” He answered that he believed that the watch wore comfortably on little wrists – including his own – and for what reason don’t I require his (watch) home for half a month and give it a shot for myself?

Not waiting be asked twice (and stressed he may change his psyche), here I am seven days after the fact composing away with his white gold 103.03 on my wrist and sore facial muscles from a fortnight of continuous smiling.

Ian Skellern at “work” wearing a thin Urwerk UR-103.03

Warning! As I affixed the watch to my wrist in Urwerk’s atelier, I noticed from the corner of my eye a transitory development above and behind Felix’s workbench. Turning quickly, I was without a moment to spare to see the last remnant of my objectivity fly out the window. For those searching for, or expecting, a disspassionate and objective audit, I wish you the absolute best of luck in your mission . . . because you will discover precious little trace of that here.

Please note: the watch I audit here is Felix Baumgartner’s own watch and is a model (due for a service). It doesn’t have any enemy of reflective coating on the crystal and kindly don’t be too unforgiving if my pictures have featured any grime, dust, or scratches.

Urwerk UR-103.03 on the wrist

While I am an unabashed fanatic of this timepiece, I am not in the least an aficionado of huge watches. I have small wrists (17 centimeters or a little more than 6 ¾ inches) and I have never felt comfortable wearing anything bigger than a 38 mm watch. In fact, when Felix made the offer, I was wearing a vintage super flimsy Vacheron Constantin Caliber 103 that is 33 mm in breadth thus light that it would drift off the wrist notwithstanding the tie holding it down. Taking that off and replacing it with a 50 mm long, 128-gram time machine was a considerable shock to the lower arm . . . for about five minutes. From that point onward, it seemed like it had consistently been there.

The following comments were made in the wake of wearing the watch basically 24 hours every day for about fourteen days. I have a genuinely fluctuated and active way of life – probably much more active than Felix acknowledged – and the watch has accompanied me while working with ponies day by day (including cleaning stables), driving tractors, flying in helicopters, an evening gathering, (formal attire) business gatherings, and question and answer sessions. Not a typical fortnight, I’ll concede, in any case, the 103.03 never peered or felt strange once. I thought that it was an entirely comfortable, simple to-wear watch on the whole those circumstances and I don’t remember having at any point worn a watch as flexible before.

Lume shot: Urwerk UR-103.03

By any principles, at 50 mm long, 36 mm wide, and 13.5 mm high, this is an enormous watch: yet I was shocked not just how proportional it looked on my wrist, but likewise that it was so comfortable to wear. One problem that I have with bigger watches is that the hauls broaden straight out past the curve of my wrist; this normally brings about either the watch either pushing ahead (down the arm) and the crown driving into the back of my hand or it slides around my wrist and winds up topsy turvy – neither of which has occurred (or feels liable to occur) with the 103.03.

So why doesn’t it look so big? I believe that is because of two fundamental plan highlights. From the wearer’s primary concern of the view, the watch is just 36 mm across and it doesn’t have a crown out aside, which typically makes that measurement look significantly more extensive. And keeping in mind that a thickness of 13.5 mm may appear to be substantial, this is just in the actual center of the case: at both finishes the case tightens to the wrist giving a general appearance of a much more slender watch. Typically it isn’t the measurement that makes a watch look big and bulky to my eyes, but the height.

Urwerk UR-103.03 in white gold

As the pictures above show, the 103.03 doesn’t resemble a larger than average watch; be that as it may, does it wear like one? In a word, no. Indeed, even with my little wrists, the watch is truly comfortable and wears like a much more modest model. I believe this is because of a number of factors:

1. While the watch is 50 mm in generally length, that incorporates the coordinated drags. The tie pins are “only” 43 mm separated, which implies that the drags don’t reach out past the curve of the wrist.

2. The tie is wide (30 mm at the pins), which gives an entirely stable base and a comfortable inclination on the wrist. The weight is distributed over both an enormous surface zone of watch and strap.

3. While taking a gander at the case edgeways gives the feeling that the base of the watch actually curves up into the clouds from the wrist at each end, as a general rule it embraces the wrist by curving down and around it, bringing about an extremely cozy and secure fit. This clever accomplishment is made possible by placing one of the carries below the watch and complementing that with a calculated structure sticking up to the huge crown.

The amazing and tactile Urwerk UR-103.03 crown

Another big plan include is that gigantic crown. It is relativity discreet when seen from above as the crenelations match the sections in the highest point of the case. The joy comes from review that monumental structure from the back and actually winding the development. I have never delighted in winding a watch however much this one and ended up wishing, without precedent for my life, that the force hold was shorter!

While the winding mechanism has been especially fortified to keep away from any possible over-enthusiastic over twisting of that enormous crown, I found that it is not difficult to feel when the development is completely twisted as it stops clearly when it has had enough.

Expecting that telling the time would not be just about as instinctive as perusing a classical watch, I was astounded once more. Inside twelve hours of wearing the 103.03, I got myself less perusing the time but rather more basically noticing the situation of the satellite; much as we do while glancing at an ordinary dial. A significant (and deliberate) favorable position of Urwerk’s plan is that you never need to lean your wrist toward you to see the time; in any event, when driving you can typically see clearly where the hour satellite is and know the time at a glance.

Urwerk UR-103.03 views

Another unexpected come about because of wearing this watch has been that I have discovered that I don’t for the most part need to know the time as precisely as I once suspected. When wearing a watch with standard hands and dial, I am pretty much as particular as anybody in checking the time against an atomic clock at customary stretches or feeling somewhat bothered in the event that I am reminded that my watch is a couple of minutes out. While it simple to tell the exact time on the off chance that you believe you need it, with the 103.03, I end up in the habit of simply taking a gander at which fifteen-minute term it is in instead of bothering with much else precise. Except if I have a train to catch, I can see myself requiring close to the hours and half-hours before long.

As much as I am biased towards the watch, in the mission for balanced detailing I have searched high and low for blemishes . . . furthermore, believe I have discovered one, an exceptionally little one. While not everybody will invest as much energy as I have taking a gander at the Control Board with a loupe or macro focal point, my own experience has uncovered that it is fiddly to (perfectly) clean the edges of the dials where they meet the base plate. On the off chance that the crystal was level with the base plate, that “problem” would be eliminated.

While not in any manner pompous, especially in white gold or platinum, this is the main watch I have at any point worn where I have noticed outsiders secretly glancing at my wrist attempting to work out what it is I am wearing . . . furthermore, the braver of them in any event, inquiring. Companions who might not blink an eyelid at a $300,000 repeater – because of ignorance, not being blasé – quickly need to understand what the watch does and how it functions, and it gives me much delight to demonstrate.

Ian Skellern wearing a thin Urwerk UR-103.03

There is anyway one significant blemish with this watch; I need to give it back!

“Better to have adored and lost . . . .” I advise myself. Without much conviction.

Thank you without question, Felix, for confiding in me with your baby. It has genuinely been my pleasure.

You may likewise appreciate Urwerk Celebrates 20th Anniversary In 2017: But For Me The Brand Really Blasted Off In 2005 With Harry Winston Opus V And UR-103.03 .

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Quick Facts Urwerk 103.03

Case: 50 (including carries) x 36 x 13.5 mm, white gold

Development: manual winding Caliber UR-3.03, 3 Hz/21,600 vph, hour satellites in evaluation 2 titanium with black PVD coating, orbital cross in evaluation 2 titanium

Functions (front): meandering hours on cone-formed satellites indicating minutes

Functions (back): Control Board, 15-minute dial, seconds dial, 43-hour power hold indicator, tweaking screw (change +/ – 30 seconds out of every day)

Price: $30,000 – $40,000 on the secondary market, contingent upon model and condition

* This article was first published on March 19, 2018 at Felix Baumgartner, Urwerk, Harry Winston, And The Opus V: Where On Earth Did That Come From? Additionally UR-103.03 User Review .

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