URWERK: the new ‘UR-112 Aggregat’ – hands-on with a most complicated gearbox for your wrist
The horological mechanics put ‘time – at your service!’ with a clever use of planetary gear systems, and finally overcome their dislike of silicon – meet the Urwerk UR-112 Aggregat
Well in the – vertical – line…
Today, Urwerk presented the new UR-112 Aggregat, one of their fewer pieces which use vertical satellite systems instead of horizontal ones to tell time. As such, they are in the tradition of legendary Urwerk watches such as the UR-210 of 2012 or more recently, and more directly related, the UR-111C of 2019, watches that belong to Urwerk’s Special Projects collection.
(Urwerk UR-210 (top) and UR-111C (bottom))
Oh yes, this latter watch, the UR-111C, can be regarded as the direct ancestor of the new UR-112, not only was as the direct succession in numbering suggests. Both have a front-facing, ‘tubular’ and separated time display with jumping hour, two vertical satellite systems, a ‘digital’ second indication at the top and an elaborate crown system.
(Urwerk UR-112 Aggregat, with opened case top to show power reserve (left) and seconds (right))
For indicating the time, the UR-112 Aggregat is equipped again with a front-facing rotational display, proving hour (left, jumping) and minute (continuous, right) information.
Under the hood there is also a ‘digital’ second (with a ‘display wheel’ made in the silicon, the first time Urwerk uses this material) and a power reserve indication:
A tron-like body with a spinal cord
The case of the UR-112 Aggregat is a bold, compact affair made of titanium, arranged around a central spine (there’s a reason for that, look a bit further down), with the two sapphire cones at the front, a hinged case cover and a larger crown. Particularly with the two cones it reminds a bit on the Tron Light Cycle, sans the light:
Finally, there is a solid luminous signature on the time indications:
So, on a passing view, the new UR-112 Aggregat appears a lot like a slightly revised UR-111 – but in fact it goes a lot farther, does all in a subtly more sophisticated way than the former – in terms of mechanical complexity or materials used.
For once, just look at the angle of the time paddles, all at a different angle …:
Take a close look at the display: there are two satellites rotating on vertical axes left and right of the central movement, indication, to the left, the (jumping) hours indication, to the right, a continuous minute display. Both are of ingenious construction: using 4 triangular satellite elements, thus 12 different pieces of information can be shown: 12 hours, or 12x 5 minutes.
Moreover, the respective time paddle is oriented in a perfect viewing angle for the viewer:
The time in the above image is 07:40 – you can either count 35+5 or 40+0 minutes… The angle of the respective active surface changes from steep (‘40’ in the right minute display) over perpendicular (‘7’ in the left hour counter) to a flat angle (‘35’ in the right display again) in respect to the viewer as the satellites traverse their path. On the minute scale, the interim values between the 5-er instances are indicated by arrow as the satellite moves.
How’s that possible? To understand this we need to go back in technical history, far, far back, to the mechanical principle of epicyclic (or planetary) gears…