Producing completely new complications, the brand rises to the challenge of offering exclusive, consistent timepieces that are user-friendly even as they break away from tradition. Urwerk creations are fun and timeless – the embodiment of an uncompromising vision of contemporary watchmaking.
Founded in 1997 by Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei, this watchmaking brand was the result of a strongly held belief that the history of Fine Watchmaking is a constantly changing art – just as much today as it was in the past.
Originally, the two men leading this uprising met purely by chance. Martin Frei is a designer artist. Having graduated from the Hochschule fur Gestaltung und Kunst in Lucerne, he successfully tried his hand at all forms of creative expression – sculpture, painting and video. As to Felix Baugmartner, both his father and grandfather were watchmakers, and he is a born craftsman. While others may talk about watches in the way one talks about pastimes, for him they are the centre of his life.
The pair got to know one another at a student party in 1995. The two young men quickly became firm friends. They spent many hours thinking about the difference between the watchmaking they saw around them and the watchmaking of their dreams.
In 1997, ten years after they met, they launched a first model – the UR-101, freely inspired by the Campanus brothers' night clock, with the time displayed from sunrise to sunset.
2003 was the year of the launch of the UR-103 collection, comprising watches with an original aesthetic appearance and highly technical complications. These foreshadowed an aspect that was to become a hallmark of the brand: the hours are displayed on four orbiting satellites.
2005 was marked by collaboration with the jeweller Harry Winston for the Opus V, placing URWERK at the heart of the independent watchmaking movement.
2008 was also a key year, with the presentation of the UR-200 collection.
Producing completely new complications, the brand rises to the challenge of offering exclusive, consistent timepieces that are user-friendly even as they break away from tradition.
Urwerk creations are fun and timeless – the embodiment of an uncompromising vision of contemporary watchmaking.
1995: Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei meet
1997: presentation of the UR-101, the first Urwerk creation, on the stand of the Watchmaking Academy of Independent Creators at Baselworld
2003: launch of the 103 collection, firmly rooting the brand in the landscape of Fine Watchmaking
2005: launch of the Opus 5 in collaboration with Harry Winston
2012: Urwerk celebrates its 15th anniversary. The brand makes some 150 watches per year.
Collection 210: Urwerk establishes the first physical link between a timepiece and its owner, thanks to a winding efficiency indicator (patent pending) that monitors the wearer's physical activity and its effect on the watch's winding function.
Collection 202: The UR-202 features the satellite complication (patented) – and a completely new compressed air winding system.
Collection 110: The UR-110 comprises a central carousel that makes the mobile hour units rotate around the dial, along with three of the hour satellites that are typical of the brand
Collection 103: Equipped with a control panel on the rear, the UR-103 features a satellite hour display that redefines time as a 60-minute journey.