Urwerk UR-110 Eastwood
The Urwerk UR-110 Eastwood is a new watch incorporating hardwood and tweed. These symbols of the establishment sound at odds with the unconventional character of this youthful brand. Angus Davies looks closely at this new model.
This detailed review of the Urwerk UR-110 Eastwood includes live images and specification details.
English society is often described as class-riven. There are numerous examples which pigeonhole individuals into upper, medium or working class. Indeed, these three simplistic groups are often further sub-divided. Education, accent, etiquette, name and profession have all been linked with the stereotyping of individuals.
Whether you subscribe to the notion of class may be determined by your own upbringing. As time goes by, my perception is that the social divides within modern Britain are based less on class and more on wealth. However, wood and tweed remain symbols of the establishment which remind me of the ‘old school tie’ and polite conservatism from a bygone age.
Hardwood characterises strength, tradition, security and history. I often associate wood-panelled walls with stately offices frequented by industry leaders and government ministers.
Tweed is a cloth, once again steeped in tradition. It was always the cloth of choice for aristocrats and the landed gentry.
Recently, Urwerk, the Genevan-based haute horlogerie brand has embraced both wood and tweed for the Urwerk UR-110 Eastwood. The UR-110 has been in the range for a number of years and won the GPHG prize for Best Design Watch back in 2011. However, the neoteric brand has imbued a limited series of 10 timepieces, named “Eastwood” with a surprisingly unique appearance.
The Urwerk 110 is a watch which always elicits a smile on my face whenever I see it. Failure to love the creativity of Urwerk is an inability to recognise brilliance.
Three rotating “hour modules” orbit the dial area with the prevailing time indicated by the satellite adjacent the scale shown on the right hand side of the dial. The current hour is displayed uppermost and the minutes are imparted with an arrow-shaped tip. As the arrow reaches “60”, depicted in red, a second hour module arrives at zero minutes and assumes responsibility for communicating the time. The motion of the hour modules is truly hypnotic.
Next to the central hub, where the arms connected to all three hour modules meet, is a small seconds display. In addition, two further functions occupy the dial canvas, a “day/night” indication and an “oil change” service interval display.
The indication of time on the Urwerk UR-110 Eastwood transcends the normal, delivering a colossal quotient of horological theatre which is mesmerising to see. However, despite the show-stopping performance of the choreographed hour modules, the watch remains simple to read and interpret.
Part of my attraction to independent watchmaking is that it often disregards convention and approaches timekeeping from a new perspective. Indeed, when it comes to the allure of Urwerk, it is because it is the antithesis of the establishment, that I choose to look more closely.
The Grade 5 titanium case is an exemplar of modernity. However, the bezel is wood. Urwerk offers the Eastwood in a choice of two variants, fair trade Indonesian Macassar ebony and fair trade South African Red Ivory wood. The wood is incredibly hard and apparently proves very challenging to machine.
Despite my perception that wood is a symbol of conservatism, its incorporation on the facade of the UR-110 is anything but. It seems that Urwerk has bravely used wood and, in so doing, augmented the contemporary persona of its watches, contrary to any preconceptions I previously held.
The dimensions of the Urwerk UR-110 Eastwood, on the face of it, sound substantial, measuring 47mm x 51mm x 16mm. However, when I placed the watch upon my wrist, it did not appear ungainly, but seemed perfectly at home.
The crown is positioned at 12 o’clock and the titanium case back features two circular sapphire crystals, revealing two turbines which are connected to the self-winding movement.
The UR-9.01 is automatic, the balance has a frequency of 28,800 vph (4Hz) and the movement contains 46 jewels.
Much of the movement is hidden from view. However, on the specification sheet for the watch, Urwerk list various aspects of the finishing, such as circular graining, diamond polishing, chamfered and polished screw heads, which undoubtedly will appeal to purists.
The watch is equipped with a single barrel, delivering a power reserve of 39 hours. This may not sound very impressive at first but, considering the energy necessary to propel the hour modules, the power reserve is actually very respectable.
Urwerk has collaborated with Timothy Everest, the famous Welsh tailor, to provide a further striking design element to the limited edition Eastwood models.
The tweeds confer a truly unique character to the watches. Interestingly, despite tweed having a conservative, sometimes staid image, when it is paired with the Eastwood the cloth delivers a fascinating and highly unusual aesthetic.
Indeed, the straps deliver a warmth which seems in stark contrast to the aloof personality often linked with tweed.
The Urwerk UR-110 Eastwood would always appear on my horological bucket list. It masterfully blends style, invention, functionality and craftsmanship together in one stunning form.
Where the Urwerk UR-110 Eastwood proves especially inventive is by incorporating two elements, wood and tweed, which on the face of it, are very traditional. However, somehow the expert pairing of the materials with an existing model, delivers a fresh, bold and highly modern aesthetic.
It is by being open-minded and embracing symbols of the establishment that Urwerk has delivered something new. Perhaps, this is a lesson to us all, not to prejudge but to appraise merit based on the evidence presented.
- Model: Urwerk UR-110 Eastwood
- Case: Grade 5 Titanium with bezel made of precious wood; dimensions 47mm x 51mm; height 16mm; sapphire crystals to front and caseback.
- Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; power-reserve indicator; oil change service interval indicator.
- Movement: UR-9.01, self-winding; frequency 28,800vph (4Hz); 46 jewels; power reserve 39 hours.
- Strap: Tweed strap selected by Timothy Everest.
- Limited Edition: 5 pieces available in each wood option, 10 in total