Urwerk is a brand whose creations are tough not to love. Suffused with creativity and ingenuity, they feature wacky, all-but-useless complications and indicators that manage to charm for their sci-fi inspiration, technical sophistication and downright cool factor. Seeing as their wares are also astronomically expensive, most of us are content to look upon them with wonder from afar, admiring their design and quite sure that we'd never sell our primary residences in order to afford one. But we can window-shop.
The brand's EMC Time Hunter is collection has been around for some time, but a Desert Sage version is brand spanking new, turning an already-outlandish design into something positively future military-esque. The EMC Time Hunter features a unique display and movement: the dial, in addition to displaying the time, gives readings on not only power reserve, but also the movement's amplitude and rate deviation. These measurements, which describe the accuracy and health of a watch movement, typically need to be measured by a separate, precision instrument. Not so with the EMC Time Hunter.
The EMC Time Hunter contains a special hybrid movement. Based around the mechanical Urwerk caliber UR-EMC2 with 80 hours of power reserve, it also makes use of an electro-optical circuit powered, believe it or not, by a hand-cranked dynamo. (A lever comes out of the watch that the wearer turns in order to power the module.) This circuit uses a laser diode to measure the handwound movement's amplitude and rate deviation — which are displayed on the dial — and compare them to an internal clock beating at 16 MHz which serves as a reference. In short, the watch can check it own accuracy autonomously.
Meanwhile, the user can actually adjust the movement to correct for rate variations that might arise over time — this is done via a "fine tuning" adjustment screw on the case back. All this incredible functionality is housed within a 43mm, ceramic-lacquered, Grade 5 titanium and steel case with a sapphire crystal and 30m of water resistance. Satin-brushed, micro-bead blasted and featuring a black dial tastefully accented with fluorescent green Super-LumiNova, the sage-colored watch looks like an instrument you'd find on a special operator's wrist in the year 2050.
Is any of this over-the-top, self-contained functionality necessary in 2020, let alone 2050. Absolutely not. But is it fun? Uh, hell yeah it is. And besides — the EMC Time Hunter in Desert Sage is $125,000, parking it firmly in "wrist-borne-work-of-art" territory, and not within the realm of wearability for the average ground pounder. For those folks, there is the G-Shock.