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Urwerk - Urwerk and the Aztecs

Urwerk Urwerk and the Aztecs

The UR-100V manages to be both futuristic and archaeological at the same time, with its horological Indiana Jones vibe that hints at a different experience of time. First stop: Mexico, and the Sun Stone

The UR-100V Time and Culture I by Urwerk debuts a new line whose purpose is to take you on a voyage through time and space. The way we measure time is deeply rooted in the history of the human race, and how we have organised our social, religious and economic lives. Back at the dawn of civilisation, people calculated the phases of the moon, tracked the sun, and measured the shadows it cast on the ground. More recently, in the Western world, watchmaking provided a different way of tracking time. Martin Frei, Urwerk’s co-founder, explains: “I am always fascinated to see that these unique observations, made thousands of kilometres away, have given birth to a universal language, that of time.” Welcome to a different way of seeing: that of the Aztecs. Hold on tight, it’s going to be a wild ride.

Urwerk and the Aztecs

UR-100V Time and Culture © Urwerk

In a way, it was an inevitable step for Urwerk to take. Its name comes from Ur – ‘origin’ in German – and also the City of Ur, where the remains of sun dials over 6000 years old were discovered, and which today form the basis of the way we calculate time. The UR-100V includes two particularly original ‘geographical’ complications that are more symbolic than genuinely useful: the Earth’s revolution around the Sun every 20 minutes, in kilometres, and the distance travelled by a person located in Mexico every 20 minutes, calculated according to the speed of the Earth’s rotation in that precise location.

Urwerk and the Aztecs

UR-100V Time and Culture © Urwerk

The Aztec Sun Stone

The Sun Stone, which dates back to 1479, is an iconic artwork from Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. Its sculpted motifs represent the Aztec calendar, its gods and its mythology. The first two circles evoke the legend of the Suns, and a time when 400 men were sacrificed to avert the end of the fifth era (there have been four already). This cosmogony and perception of time are very different from those of our culture and our time. Through this choice, Urwerk demonstrates its intellectual honesty in appreciating the cultural richness and diversity of other times and places.

Urwerk and the Aztecs

Sun Stone, Aztec © Juan Carlos Fonseca Mata

On its curved copper-coloured steel dome, the UR-100V Time and Culture I replicates the intricate designs of the Sun Stone in meticulous engraving, with microblasted hollows and satin-brushed ridges that accentuate its three-dimensionality. This ancient design is married with the UR-100V’s futuristic satellite hour display and retrograde minutes, producing an intriguing result. Is the watch from an Aztec monument, or from Geneva? While the influences could not be farther apart, the result is coherent, both conceptually and aesthetically, for this 20-piece limited edition.

Urwerk and the Aztecs

UR-100V Time and Culture © Urwerk

Green and copper evoke a trip through the jungle

Visually, the UR-100V Time and Culture I merges the futuristic Swiss horology for which Urwerk is known with motifs and colours redolent of the world of the Aztecs. The dark carved lines with their cryptic symbols and references stand out strongly against the copper patina, giving off a very ‘archaeological’ feel. The warm tones of the metal contrast with the intense green of the time display and the satellite hours module with its bright red accents. A green fabric strap completes the jungle archaeologist/explorer look. All that’s missing is a machete to bushwhack your way to a pyramid, where you might be lucky enough to witness a sacrificial rite. During a solar eclipse. 

Urwerk and the Aztecs

UR-100V Time and Culture © Urwerk

 

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