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The Millennium Watch Book
Urwerk - Martin Frei and Felix Baumgartner

Urwerk Martin Frei and Felix Baumgartner

For GMT Publishing has created The Millennium Watch Book for the 20th anniversary of GMT Magazine, available for pre-order now. Read here an exclusive excerpt from the book.

On the occasion of GMT Magazine’s 20th anniversary (and WorldTempus’s upcoming 20th anniversary in 2021), we have embarked on the ambitious project of summarising the last 20 years in watchmaking in The Millennium Watch Book, a big, beautifully laid out coffee table book. The Millennium Watch Book is available exclusively now for pre-order at a discounted rate on www.the-watch-book.com, in French and English, with delivery aimed just in time for the holiday season.
In the coming weeks, WorldTempus will be exclusively sharing excerpts from the book, to give you a taste. Only a few days left to get an additional 10% discount on the Millennium Watch Book. To obtain your code, fill in the information requested in the dedicated area to the left of the article.
Here’s is an exclusive excerpt from our section “Who’s who”, where we name the 80 industry players, from CEOs to Creative Directors to retailers and independent watchmakers, who have indelibly shaped the last two decades of watches, written by those in the industry who perhaps know them best. For more information, visit www.the-watch-book.com

Who’s who-Martin Frei and Felix Baumgartner, Urwerk - By Pierre-André Schmitt

Throughout the first two decades of the twenty-first century, two ground-breakers in style and technology have repeatedly made waves in the habitually calm waters of Swiss watchmaking: Felix Baumgartner (born in 1975) and Martin Frei (born in 1966), a couple of upstarts for whom the Urwerk band has been the culmination of a genuinely personal, in-yer-face, off-the-wall, and disruptive approach.

Their achievements have earned them many friends and all kinds of tributes. In 2019, at the Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève, they won an award for their retrofuturistic AMC. In 2017, they scooped a free product placement in blockbuster movie Spider-Man: Homecoming, with audiences' gaze drawn to the Urwerk UR-110 RG model on the wrist of Robert Downey Jr. Other milestones include the UR-103.01 in 2003 and the EMC (short for Electro Mechanical Control) in 2013, fitted with the first ever 'smart' mechanical movement.

With this kind of creation, Frei and Baumgartner broke the boundaries of traditional Fine Watchmaking in a big way, demonstrating that the craft need not always result in the same complications or use the same noble materials. "Our primary objective is to leave the traditional limits of watchmaking behind", insists Martin Frei. "I come from a world of boundless creativity."

Indeed, after completing higher studies in visual and applied arts, Martin Frei has given free rein to his creative spirit in all sorts of fields, including sculpture, painting, and video - and successfully so. It is in this fertile soil that creations such as the AMC, which  combines the technical aspects of traditional mechanical watches with those of an atomic watch, have flourished.

The other half of the duo, Felix Baumgartner, has been immersed in watchmaking pretty much from birth. His father and grandfather were watchmakers before him; as he tells it, the first musical performance he heard was the tick-tocking of the fifty clocks in his father's workshop. Having discovered the magic of minute repeaters, tourbillons, and perpetual calendars on his father's workbench, he went on to train at the Schaffhausen watchmaking school.

 

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