“At Urwerk, we are crazy people who try!”

An encounter with Pierre and Diego

The strength of a company lies in its product, but above all in the quality of its people. This is especially true for small and medium-sized companies like Urwerk.

The product stands out on its own and our numerous interviews with Martin Frei give you the keys to understanding the creativity behind this differentiation.

If the attachment to the company is easily understandable for the management team, the question is even more interesting when asked to its latest arrivals.

As part of our exploration of the brand, we went to meet Diego and Pierre, the representatives of this youth.

After the usual greetings, here we are, we have in front of us two beings who will give us the answers to our questions. So let’s dive into the interview.

Pierre and Diego, it’s a pleasure to have you on Tourbillon Watch. We had the chance to have this interview with Martin, Felix and Yacine (available here) and now it’s your turn.

Can you describe Urwerk in 3 words?

Diego: For me, the 3 words that best describe Urwerk would be: Family, Irrational and Avant-garde. And I would even say that Family is the most important. Urwerk is not run by a family but we feel like a small family. We see each other every day, there are only about ten of us working in Geneva and this size requires us to be close to each other to work well. Urwerk has become in a way our second family.

Pierre: Out of the box is what I think best describes Urwerk.

Urwerk was not your first job, before joining the team you had another job respectively. What made you join Urwerk?

Pierre: For my part, my first passion is contemporary art and art history. So when I met Felix and Martin for the first time, I had the impression of exchanging with two artists. They seek to push the boundaries of their discipline and it was the idea of being in contact with them that made me want to join the team. Their works and the team were therefore decisive for me.

Diego: for me, what I liked about Urwerk was that they went beyond the standards of watchmaking. Both technically and in their way of doing things. They were themselves and did not let themselves be influenced by others. Seeing this freedom within the teams, I understood that Urwerk would allow me to gain more experience and I was not disappointed!

As someone who is at the heart of the brand and therefore has access to things that few people know, what do you think Urwerk should be remembered for?

Diego: As I said earlier, the teams at Urwerk are free and this freedom allows us to be creative. Everyone is free to express themselves and work in their own way and in the end, we all manage to work together and our goals are achieved.

Put more bluntly, I would say that Urwerk is an organized mess from which crazy ideas come out. The talents of each individual are not restricted by any standards that allow us to continue to differentiate ourselves from other independent brands.

Pierre: I would add to the organized mess that each of us has a grain of craziness. In short, at Urwerk, we are crazy people who try!

This collective craziness, made possible by a ground set up by Martin, Felix and Yacine, finds its explanation in a quote from Felix: “for the balance of Urwerk, it is necessary the balance of each one. So, you can work for Urwerk even if you have other personal projects on the side. I don’t expect everyone to work 100%. It’s that balance that allows us to realize these crazy ideas.”

This ground frees your creativity and pushes its limits. With so much freedom, do you have any projects in mind that you would like to realize with Urwerk?

Diego: For my part, what I would like to achieve with Urwerk is to maintain this creative spirit and this pioneering spirit. I would like to collaborate with artists, but also to work with new materials and elements. In this way I protect the spirit of the brand and continue to influence the industry as Urwerk has done for 25 years.

Pierre: I like the idea of collaborating with artists. I would like Urwerk to become a bridge that links two different universes but which are driven by a common desire. Rather than choosing artists according to their techniques, I would like to choose them according to their visions to confront them with URWERK’s. In this logic, I think of Wade Guyton, Bernar Venet and Tatiana Trouvé. They have each changed the codes in their own discipline.

What do few people know about Urwerk?

Diego: this is an anecdote about the presentation of the first model in Basel in 1997. Without any explanation, the watch was placed on a stove. At the time, people were unsettled because they were not yet used to this creative craziness of independents. Accustomed to classic displays, they had before their eyes a stove on which was placed the first watch of this young and unknown brand.

Something hot is cooking!

Needless to say, it left no one indifferent and 25 years later, Urwerk proved their detractors wrong and as we speak, the stove is on display at The Hour Glass in Malaysia.

Pierre: Not many people know that we have launched a titanium cube into space. This cube is a tribute to Pietro Manzoni and his work Le Socle du Monde. Called the Sky Cube, this creation of Martin Frei and Christophe Draeger reached space during a space mission. It could only be imagined and implemented by Urwerk. Our attachment to space is thus reinforced and in addition to being on wrists, Urwerk is also present in space.

And finally, what are your top 3 Urwerk watches?

Diego : UR-112 ; UR-220 RG ; UR-105 TTH

Pierre : UR-111C TT ; UR-100 Gunmetal ; UR-102 x Cooper Jacoby

The interview ended with a smile. I was happy to see that the passion that drives Felix, Martin and Yacine also burns in the veins of Pierre and Diego. They have understood the mission of Urwerk and want to carry it out in their turn.

We must therefore congratulate this management team who knew how to surround themselves and instill their passion while being careful. Above all, as Felix told us, the balance of each person must be respected in order to “realize these crazy ideas.”

And you, what is your top 3 Urwerk watches?