A very rare, fine and unusual limited-edition stainless-steel and titanium wristwatch of Urwerk, the Swiss independent watchmaking company, founded in 1997 by watchmaker Felix Baumgartner and designer Martin Frei. Limited edition launched in 2014. Case in stainless steel and blackened titanium, measuring 53 x 39.5mm, 16.65mm thick, caseback with 3 sapphire apertures. Caliber UR 5.01, manually wound, power reserve up to 42 hours. Functions – wandering hours and minutes on 120-degree sector, digital 10-second indicator between 0 and 5 minutes, caseband with seconds and power reserve indicators, caseback with power reserve and oil change indicators, and fine-tuning feature. Urwerk yellow leather strap with black lining, Urwerk blackened titanium pin buckle. Limited edition of 77 pieces.
From the very beginning of its activity, Urwerk has developed the design of its wandering hours complication. The inaugural models UR-101 and UR-102, equipped with such a time indicator, were launched in 1997. Development of the UR-103 was carried out over several years, and the first timepieces were presented by the brand in 2003. The UR-103 is widely considered the starting point of the brand’s success. With the UR-103.01, Urwerk gained worldwide fame, at the same time establishing its dominant position in the production of wandering hours complication watches, which have become both synonymous with and a symbol of the brand. Connoisseurs of high watchmaking art and independent watchmakers took to the watch with great enthusiasm, and many still consider it Urwerk’s best design. The UR-103 was finally discontinued in 2010 and the brand began developing a new entry-level model with an alternative design.
The present example is one of only two editions of the UR-105 featuring hand-wound caliber, released as a limited edition of 77 pieces, which certainly adds to the appeal of this lot.
The UR-105M, from a new Urwerk collection and successor to the UR-103, was launched in 2014. The brand introduced two models, the UR-105M ‘Iron Knight’, in stainless steel and blackened titanium (the present reference), and the UR-105M ‘Dark Knight’, in stainless steel with black AITin-coating and blackened titanium, both issued as a limited edition of 77 pieces.
The watch is powered by the UR 5.01 caliber, a modernised version of the UR 3.03 caliber used as the base for the UR-103 collection. Both are based on the Eta/Peseux 7001 caliber, supplied by La Joux-Perret in a reworked version. The UR 5.01 caliber features an updated version of the control board with oil change indicator and a timing screw with indication window on the caseback to adjust the rate of the watch, as well as a number of additional indications. Among them are seconds and power reserve indicators on the side, which is unusual for Urwerk; an additional power reserve indicator on the caseback; and a digital 10-second indicator, which is situated on the dial side of the watch, between 0 and 5 on the minute scale – part of the time it is hidden under the rotating satellite indicator of the watch.
The UR-105M ‘Iron Knight’ and ‘Dark Knight’ limited editions represent a very short initial period of development of the UR-105 line with manual winding, with just two references released. All subsequent UR-105 models were equipped with self-winding movements – until the collection was discontinued in 2021. The very rare manual-winding caliber and the strictly limited production makes the present example very attractive for the collector who appreciates the oeuvres of independent watchmakers.
Reasons to bid
The Urwerk UR-105M ‘Iron Knight’ Limited Edition would appear to be a fine purchase for the collector thanks to its unique futuristic design and rare wandering hours complication, developed by a world-renowned independent watchmaker. The present example is one of only two editions of the UR-105 featuring a hand-wound caliber, released as a limited edition of 77 pieces, which certainly adds to the appeal of this lot. The collector will perceive the ‘Iron Knight’ watch as a sign of an important and very short stage in the development of Urwerk’s basic collection, associated with the transition from the initial UR-103 purist design to the cool, eye-catching and futuristic UR-105 design that is the mainstream of the brand’s modern collection.