The UR-100 collection needs no introduction. Its style is very recognizable thanks to its case and its satellite display. Already comprising several iterations, the collection has just welcomed a new one with the presentation of the UR-100V UltraViolet.
Are we facing a simple reissue of an iconic model with the only point of differentiation being the color of the strap, the case and the dial?
Knowing Martin Frei, I could already tell that the answer to this question couldn’t only be a simple yes. So, we took the opportunity of the Geneva Watch Days to talk with him and to handle the piece.
Who better than its creator to explain the origins of the project?
The color was definitely the longest part. The different components being of different materials, they all react in their own way to the treatment. We find ourselves bending to the demands of the material and proceeding component by component while trying to obtain a homogeneous rendering in the end. This play with color was an opportunity for me to learn more about this process.
It is true that the interest of this novelty lies mainly in its color. But we must not forget that each new project is an opportunity for us to try new things, to explore new horizons.
With the UR-100 collection, we can make technical improvements to the movement and its display. The UR 12.02 movement came out of this logic. But playing with materials, colors and finishes remains the main element of our exploration area.
I approach the creation of these pieces as a real opportunity to get to know them. We could almost say that the UR-100 collection is like a person and each piece is a dialogue. We get to know her.
If the piece brings elements on the understanding of the collection, what does this novelty tell us? What did the brand want to express? I leave the reader the opportunity to share with us in comments his opinion on these questions.
After contemplating it in the virtual world, my first reflex was to take the watch and observe it in the sunlight. It is at the moment of this encounter between light and matter that the object really reveals itself.
In addition to feeling pleasure, when I look at the watch, I see above all the accomplishment of the work of an entire team. Together, we managed to get through all the problems. It’s almost a relief after all.
On the other hand, by prolonging the observation, I discern potential improvements. I am in a continuous process of creation.
The explanation for the choice of this color is partly due to the book “QED, The Strange Theory of Light and Matter” by Richard Feynmann. He explains in his book the strange theory of light and matter. In addition to the physicists who study the question of light, there are also philosophers who are interested in it. It is all these questions that interested me and that pushed me to look into this subject.
In addition to being a subject of physics and philosophy, color also has a place in our society. Each color has an interpretation as for example black expressing mourning in our Western societies.
The violet is positioned at the end of the visible spectrum of colors, it is at the border of the visible world and the invisible. Beyond this color, we fall into the ultraviolet which is accessible to us only with the help of instruments. This represents Urwerk quite well. We are on the border between the world of traditional watchmaking and the world of the unknown. Our collections are perhaps the instruments necessary for our observation.
Absolutely. And then all of these subjects give you access to other perspectives of observing the world. And ultimately, you learn more about yourself.
I am both sensitive to the beauty of an object and to the research work that led to this object. It is my way of exploring our world.
It is something much more general. In the end, nothing is finished and we can continue to search without stopping. This concerns artists and scientists. But we have to restrict ourselves in order to produce our works. This research process must produce fruits that others will be able to consume.
If the UR-100V UltraViolet first seems to be the result of a simple color change, we can see that this change is the result of a much deeper reflection.
The novelty also lies in the fact that this piece will not be limited. If it is limited in terms of production per year, it will be able to satisfy the desires of all collectors wishing to acquire one.
This strategic choice is part of a desire of the brand to respond appropriately to the craze it is experiencing. In recent years, independent brands such as Urwerk have become victims of their own success: supply has fallen below demand, resulting in frustration.
However, is this the right way to respond to this craze, I let you share your opinion in comments.