Why The Amazing Urwerk UR-112 Aggregat Odyssey Watch Costs $270,000
The elite watchmaker cites spacecraft from “Star Wars,” “Watchmen,” and “Star Trek” as inspiration for its titanium and steel tour-de-force.
Very few ultra-high-end watch brands can claim to be doing something radically different than the competition. MB&F, Jacob & Co. and Richard Mille all inhabit this rarefied stratum, and Urwerk, the avant-garde Swiss watchmaker founded in 1997, should surely be part of the club.
Urwerk’s dynamic duo of Martin Frei and Felix Baumgartner have now been turning the world of haute horology on its head for 25 years, with seemingly impossible feats of mechanical design and engineering.
Having broken the mold several times, they are now, a quarter century into their history, refining some of their best-received concepts. And hence we have the new bare-metal limited edition UR-112 Aggregat Odyssey. Urwerk cites spacecraft from Star Wars, Watchmen, Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica as the inspiration for the titanium and steel tour-de-force, limited to just five examples priced at about $270,000 apiece.
When it comes to Urwerk pieces, time is never conventionally displayed; on the UR112 Aggregat Odyssey, in a departure from the brand’s signature wandering-hour indication concept, it can be read via two cockpit windows, with hours and minutes featured on separate rotating black titanium prisms.
A spring-loaded hood meanwhile, released side via pushers, displays the watch’s power reserve and digital seconds on a skeletonized silicon disk attached to a red anodized aluminum bridge. Inside the masterful case beats Urwerk’s in-house UR-13.01 calibre movement with a 48-hour power reserve, courtesy of a large single mainspring barrel.
And as the brand notes, “The transmission of information from the main display to the secondary hidden secondary displays is made possible using a long, thin titanium rod that is thought to be the biggest individual component used in contemporary watchmaking”—quite a claim.
The UR-112 Aggregat Odyssey also displays jumping hours and trailing minutes on prisms, visible in large sapphire-crystal housings. “As the hours jump on one side and the minutes advance in five-minute increments on the other, an additional trailing indicator shows the precise minutes,” the brand notes.
The watch features an “infinite number” of flat, curved, grooved, sculpted, screwed and bonded surfaces, “all incorporating advanced finishes alternating between matte and glossy, sandblasted and polished.” Just for starters, the steel cover is grooved and mirror-polished on top with a beadblasted edge, while its central titanium body is satin-brushed, grooved, sandblasted and beadblasted.
As Felix Baumgartner, co-founder of Urwerk and master watchmaker puts it, “Once again we have let our guts speak for us in making a ‘wrist spaceship,’ a UFO that is a technical challenge. This UR-112 is pure madness in terms of the mechanics and the finishes. We are only able to make a very limited number and there may be just five of them, but this is sheer unadulterated watchmaking pleasure!”