Urwerk UR-105 CT Maverick
The Urwerk UR-105 CT Maverick pairs the ancient alloy, bronze, with high-tech titanium. This high-end exemplar of avant-garde horology brims with ingenuity and eye-catching allure.
This detailed review of the Urwerk UR-105 CT Maverick includes live images, specification details and pricing.
Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin. In addition, bronze often contains other metals, including aluminium, manganese, nickel and zinc. The material was discovered circa 3700 BC. It has several properties, including corrosion resistance, ductility and hardness.
An unusual property of bronze is that it expands slightly when transitioning from liquid to solid. This characteristic makes it ideal for casting objects as the alloy readily fills the mould, achieving the desired shape.
Bronze sculptures have always been used for posthumously celebrating the achievements of the great and the good. Politicians, royalty and sporting figures have all been depicted in bronze. The alloy proffers longevity, making it the ideal material for a lasting memorial. Bronze will forever be associated with the establishment and tradition.
Urwerk, the avant-garde Swiss watch brand, is the antithesis of tradition. It does not subscribe to convention but dares to dream and bravely invent. While some of the finest brands choose to ascend mountains using well-trodden paths, Urwerk navigates its own route to greatness. The company is a free spirit and non-conformist. It therefore seems fitting that the Genevan firm has called its latest watch, the ‘Maverick’.
The Urwerk UR-105 CT Maverick is a horological paradox. It blends the brand’s neoteric design language with an exemplar of tradition, bronze. The marriage of the two materials may sound strange, but the union looks spectacular.
Urwerk is synonymous with the wandering-hours display. Four satellites, each carrying three hour values, are located on an openworked carousel. This carousel rotates, positioning the prevailing hour against a minute track. As the satellite reaches ’60’, the responsibility for displaying the prevailing hour passes to the next satellite. Each satellite works in concert with its counterparts in order to display the current hour.
A key strength of the Urwerk UR-105 CT Maverick is that the dial aperture frames the current hour and minutes, displaying merely the essential. In order to view the twirling gait of the hidden satellites the wearer simply needs to push the sliding tab atop the fluted upper cover.
A power-reserve indicator is positioned to the right hand side of the display. The state of wind is shown on an arcing scale. A ‘digital seconds’ display is located to the left of the arcing dial aperture. The seconds are presented in 10-second intervals on an openworked circlet. Interestingly, the system for the seconds display was manufactured using a ‘photolithographic process in which each seconds marker was skeletonised to weigh less than a tenth of a gram.’ Adjacent the minute track is a red-hued, horse-shoe shaped aperture that frames the running seconds.
The dial area proves intuitive to read, setting aside the superfluous and displaying the essentials. The judicious use of vivid yellow-green numerals augments eye-appeal and heightens legibility.
Urwerk uses titanium for the case and bronze for the ‘bezel’. However, when the Genevan brand uses the term ‘bezel’, it does not mean a slither of metal framing the dial. The large upper surface of the case, including the aforementioned sliding tab, is dressed with a generous swathe of the bronze.
Typically, bronze watch cases appear almost yellow, however, the case of the Urwerk UR-105 CT Maverick exhibits a rich, dark tone. In common with other bronze structures, this timepiece will age over time, accruing a unique patination based on the lifestyle of its wearer. Unlike most watches which leave a production facility in their final state, the Urwerk UR-105 CT Maverick will evolve post purchase and continue to do so with the passage of time.
Over the years, I have spoken to many watch designers and listened to them describe the act of creating ‘tension’. When using this term, they are referring to the juxtaposition of two seemingly disparate elements. Urwerk has created ‘tension’ by uniting a modern, high-tech material, such as titanium, with bronze, an ancient alloy dating back to 3700 BC. By combining these materials, the Swiss brand could have produced a horological abomination, however, thankfully, the two materials prove happy bedfellows and the resultant aesthetic is magnificent.
The case is festooned with a plethora of grooves. Deep recesses grace the lid of the case, vertical veins adorn the caseband and the dorsal flank of the case is embellished with many furrows. These numerous fissures enrich the appearance of the case wonderfully.
Measuring 39.5mm x 53mm x 17.8mm (w x l x h), the Urwerk UR-105 CT Maverick is generously proportioned, granting imposing wrist presence. However, despite its size, the watch proves incredibly comfortable to wear. One reason for this ergonomic union relates to the crown mounted at 12 o’clock. Detailed with prominent groves, it sits away from the wrist and, as such, does not gouge the arm or inhibit free movement. Its location is eminently logical.
The Urwerk UR-105 CT Maverick is equipped with the brand’s Calibre UR 5.03. This automatic movement features an innovative winding system governed by two turbines. A lever mounted on the caseback allows the wearer to select ‘FULL’, ‘RED’, meaning reduced, and ‘STOP’ in order to influence the behaviour of the winding rotor. In the FULL setting, slight motion of the wrist causes the oscillating weight to rotate. When set to RED, the turbines inhibit the motion of the winding rotor, preventing the mainspring becoming over tensioned. By selecting STOP, the oscillating weight is disengaged and the watch is wound merely by turning the crown.
At the heart of Urwerk’s paradigm, sitting adjacent innovation, is the notion of continuous improvement. In former models, the satellites were mounted on Maltese crosses and held in position by an orbiting cross. Felix Baumgartner, Urwerk’s head watchmaker and co-founder, states ‘we examined the design and found ways to improve it. You can feel the result when you set the time – no friction, no click, just the waltz of the satellites. Our work is hidden in the flow of the transmission through the gears.’
The Geneva crosses are formed of beryllium bronze, the openworked carousel is made of aluminium, while the carousel and triple baseplates are formed of ARCAP, a cutting-edge non-magnetic alloy. Despite its unabashed passion for avant-garde aesthetics, Urwerk has not eschewed traditional watchmaking craft. Circular graining, sanding and brushing abound. The screws sport chamfered heads, a further demonstration of the company’s unrelenting appetite for perfection.
The balance has a frequency of 28,800 VpH (4Hz) and the movement contains 52 jewels. The Calibre UR 5.03 has a power reserve of 52 hours.
Martin Frei, Urwerk’s chief designer and co-founder, has repeatedly played with contrasting finishes to bestow eye-catching aesthetics. In 2018, Frei fused the neoteric profile of the UR-105 with Art Deco influences, creating the sublime Urwerk UR-105 CT Streamliner.
In this instance, the Zurich-based design genius has combined the avant-garde shell of the UR-105 and clad it in titanium and bronze. The character of the ancient alloy seems diametrically opposed to cutting-edge titanium, yet this blend of materials works superbly.
Prior to seeing the Urwerk UR-105 CT Maverick, I would never have envisaged the Swiss brand using bronze to partially clad one of its futuristic watches. However, it is this rare creative vision which Baumgartner and Frei possess in spades. Indeed, the bronze alloy seems like a fitting metaphor for the dynamic pairing, always evolving while providing a future legacy for others to admire.
- Model: Urwerk UR-105 CT Maverick
- Case: Titanium case with bronze bezel; dimensions 39.5mm x 53mm x 17.8mm (w x l x h); sapphire crystal to the front.
- Functions: Wandering hours; minutes; digital seconds; power-reserve
- Movement: Calibre UR 5.03; self-winding movement; frequency 28,800 VpH (4Hz); 52 jewels; power reserve 48 hours
- Strap: Black leather strap.
- Price: CHF 67,000 (RRP as at 5.2.2019 excluding taxes)
- Limited Edition: 22 pieces