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INTRODUCING: Urwerk’s Physics-Inspired UR-100V LightSpeed

The Urwerk UR-100V "Lightspeed".

The watch expresses astronomical units through the language of time in this latest variant of the UR-100V.

If you recall anything from your GCSE Physics, you may recall some absolute physical constants in our universe that set the limits that define our existence. These include the masses of subatomic particles, the gravitational constant, and the speed of light. A photon of light travels at a speed of 299,792,458km/s. It is the maximum speed that any object can travel at. Albert Einstein’s famous equation for converting mass to energy relies on this value, commonly denoted as ‘c’, to determine the energy released.

The Urwerk UR-100V
The Urwerk UR-100V LightSpeed.

In astronomy, we quantify distances using light as a measure based on how far it’s travelled, which is where time comes into play. Since distance covered is speed multiplied by time, astronomers use light-second, light-minute, light-hour, light-year, and more to create a scale to understand our universe. Astronomy and time are inextricably intertwined. Astronomy and timekeeping also share historical links, which Urwerk has sought to express with the UR-100V collection.

The planetarium of the Urwerk UR-100V
The planetarium of the Urwerk UR-100V LightSpeed indicates the distance of the planets from the Sun in light-minutes.

The latest UR-100V model differs from past versions, which carry two astronomical values on either side of the watch’s upper half, indicating the distance the Earth travels in its orbit in 20 minutes and the distance covered by its rotation in 20 minutes. The lower third of the dial presents the satellite or wandering hours time display, with a minute pointer set on the satellite hour arms. With the UR-100V LightSpeed, rather than displaying these two values, Urwerk has created a stationary planetarium of sorts, measuring the position of each planet relative to the Sun in a linear format by calculating their distance using light-minutes or hours.

The Urwerk UR-100V
The Urwerk UR-100V LightSpeed on the wrist.

Mercury, being the closest planet, clocks in at 3.2 light-minutes from the Sun, while Neptune is a distant 4.1 light-hours away. Each planet is clearly indicated, showing exactly how long it takes for light from the Sun to reach the most distant places in our Solar System. The satellite hours are set on beryllium-bronze Geneva crosses with an aluminium carousel, and the triple baseplates of the UR 12.02 movement are in non-magnetic ARCAP alloys. Housed in a watertight titanium inner container, the self-winding movement has a black PVD-treated aluminium rotor that is regulated by Urwerk’s Planetary Turbine Automatic System. This allows the winding rate of the rotor to be adjusted for maximum efficiency.

Urwerk's Planetary Turbine Automatic System enhances the rotor's efficiency at all times.
Urwerk’s Planetary Turbine Automatic System enhances the rotor’s efficiency at all times.

The UR-100V LightSpeed is housed in a black carbon thin-ply case with a grade 5 titanium caseback. A DLC treatment is applied on the caseback, which is also sandblasted and shotblasted to deliver that matte, industrial finish. A red textured rubber strap with a folding clasp is paired with the watch, which is water-resistant to 50m. The watch is priced at S$106,000, including tax, and is available through The Hour Glass in Southeast Asia.

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Editor

Darren has been writing about, and admiring the craft of watchmaking for over a dozen years. He considers himself lucky to live in a golden age of horology, and firmly believes that the most difficult watches to design are the simplest and the most intriguing to discover.


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