Urwerk: UR-105 CT Streamliner6 September 2017
It was 20 years ago that 22-year-old Felix Baumgartner set foot in New York, where Martin Frei had made his home. It was vibrant, noisy and thrilling, a giant playground of fantasy and tension. Today they evoke that mix of emotions in their new creation, the UR-105 CT Streamliner.
In March 1997, Martin Frei graduated from the College of Arts and Design in Lucerne (Switzerland), and moved to New York where he joined other Swiss artists in founding the United Swiss Artists (USA) association. Felix was in Geneva, Martin across the Atlantic. Their brainchild, URWERK, had been born but was struggling to take its first steps. Their first two creations, the UR-101 and UR-102, were critically acclaimed.
Felix Baumgartner took a flight to New York to join his friend, he was 22 years old, Martin slightly older. Together in the city of their dreams they wandered the streets, taking in the images of New York, its redbrick houses, its Art Deco skyscrapers and gleaming subway. These pictures filled their minds and would never leave them.
Twenty years have now gone by and URWERK is an established niche brand. Their dream has taken shape and come to life. And when Martin Frei and Felix Baumgartner look back to those days, their memories return on the drawing board and the workbench. Their American dream is now on their wrists as the UR-105 CT Streamliner.
The Art Deco influences are apparent in its geometric angularity and symmetry. As Martin Frei explains, “the Streamliner has a minimalist design with few frills and clean lines. In the initial drawings, I thought of the Empire State, the Chrysler and the Comcast buildings. That is why it has that vertical structure that seems to go on forever.”
You have to slide the catch on the top of the case to reveal the mechanism of the UR-105 CT. It’s a new wandering hour indication based on an openwork carousel, which carries the four satellites, each bearing three numerals for the hours. The hours successively sweep past the minutes scale for an analogue and digital display of the time.
According to Felix Baumgartner, Streamliner is an apt name for this watch. “The UR-105 CT is a watch with a flexible design. When it is closed, it looks austere, with only the time indication visible. Open the protective cover and you delve into a metallic environment that is quite cold, yet you perceive a notion of speed and an effort at efficiency. The Streamliner’s carousel has been completely redesigned, becoming lighter, stronger and far more effective.
A power-reserve indicator and digital seconds make up the rest of the information displayed on the dial, while two pneumatic turbines on the back govern the selfwinding rate, which can be set with a lever.
In the Streamliner, Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei take you to the New York of their youth, a plunge into a city of different facets, from the top of the highest skyscraper to the depths of the subway.
The Streamliner comes in two versions:
Titanium and mirror-polished steel (CHF 65’000.00 – Swiss francs / tax not included)
Titanium and black PVD coated steel (CHF 65’000.00 – Swiss francs / tax not included)
By Jacopo Corvo