When the art of watchmaking pays tribute to Star Trek

The Urwerk UR 120 “Spock”

The UR 120 Spock is a tribute to Mr. Spock and his mythical salute from the Star Trek series that influenced and cradled the youth of Martin Frei.

This 20th century cult series follows the adventures of the crew of the USS Enterprise as they boldly explore space and its occupants.

The interest in space and science fiction that has influenced each of the brand’s creations finds its origins here.

Like a student who pays tribute to his master by perpetuating his art, the co-founder of the brand participates in maintaining the aura of this series, especially since this novelty is not a limited series. Only 30 pieces will leave the workshops each year and this for an indefinite period.

As the brand is successful with a higher demand every day, the teams opted for this strategic choice to reduce the disappointment of customers who could not access their products.

Urwerk UR 120 Spock portée

The trigger for this launch and its guidelines

While the brand doesn’t wait for symbolic dates to be creative, celebrating 25 years this year was all the more reason for Urwerk to come up with something new.

With Martin’s imagination working constantly, the brand is managing several projects at the same time. The UR 110’s 10th anniversary celebration last year was the final push to bring the UR 120 to life.

If 10 years ago, the UR 110 won the GPHG prize for the best design watch, it was enough to stimulate Martin’s creativity. The instructions he was given, which he shares with us, unleashed his creativity: “The idea was to make it thinner, smoother, more elegant. To achieve this, we rethought the entire satellite system, with each satellite now made up of two elements to give it an ease of reading, a finesse, a fluidity of movement.”

UR 120 Spock Urwerk

More than a novelty, a new challenge for Urwerk

The central element of this watch lies in its satellites and more precisely when they separate to form a V. This stylistic choice has resulted in a 35% increase of the dots making the hour display more legible. When they separate, they turn on themselves, thus offering a new animation in the dial and demonstrating once again the mastery and technicality of the brand’s teams.

We asked Felix Baumgartner about the part that required the most work. Here is his answer: “The making of the lyre spring that ensures the V-shaped opening of the satellite hours. We did multiple tests with a stronger, thinner, bigger spring etc… before making it ourselves on our CNC machines to make sure all the standards were met.” 

The integration of this in-house savoir-faire joins many others and increases the brand’s creative and production freedom. Will it become totally independent? Years will tell.

How long does it take for a watch to be assembled?

Still hard to say. We are working on the first parts which always take longer. It takes the watchmaker’s hand to get used to a new gesture… If I’m being fair, I’d say it took us 25 years to assemble it.”

Urwerk UR 120 Spock

What I like about this watch

I would say that there are 3 things I like about this watch.

First, its general design. Its shapes are fluid and harmonize with the light contrast of the technical parts treated with 24 carat gold PVD and the monochrome set. Without being too visible, it goes everywhere.

Secondly, the articulated lugs. They perfectly position the case on our wrist making it very comfortable. These articulated lugs are a first in the history of the brand. Urwerk has placed a spring in the lugs at 6 o’clock to press it on the wrist. These are the kind of “small” details that make the wearer comfortable and allow us to concentrate mainly on what is happening in the dial.

It is in this same logic that the case has been designed. Directly inspired by the construction of the cases designed by Gerald Genta. To achieve this, the case back and the bezel are interlocked and sealed by lateral screws, giving it a smooth and fluid look.

Third, the texture of the case. With its titanium and sandblasted steel, its texture is light, as if airy. While wearing it, I had two desires: to look at the dial and to run my fingers over the case. This makes the connection with the watch even more important because two senses are stimulated. It’s these kinds of details that make the difference.

As Mr. Spock says: “Long life and prosperity!” and for us to add “To Urwerk!”