Even if you know high-end independent brand Urwerk's track record of technical and crazy-futuristic watchmaking, you might be a bit dumbfounded when first encountering their latest creation. And if you're a fan of the brand's straight-out-of-Tron, Batmobile-for-your-wrist approach, Urwerk is delivering a healthy dose of it with their new UR-112 Aggregat watch. Yes, it's a wristwatch that primarily tells the time, but there's a lot more going on.
What are we even looking at? You should first know that time is displayed "digitally" — that is, with digits, not an electronic display — here so that the hours and minutes are facing the inside of the wearer's wrist. Watches with this type of display are often billed as meant for drivers, as the time can be easily read while your hands remain on the steering wheel. Watchmakers have used a range of methods for achieving this effect, from digital LED displays to more complicated mechanical solutions involving discs and prisms (as seen here from MB&F). Of course, if there's a way to make a product even more industrial-fantasy, then that's what Urwerk is going to do.
Many of the brand's avant-garde designs are based on an old watchmaking concept known as wandering hours: this is a relatively complicated way of indicating the time in which the minute hand itself digitally displays the hour. Urwerk has taken the idea and run with it, often making it further complicated and mesmerizing by placing the hour on three-dimensional, rotating arms. For the new UR-112, which the brand says it's been developing for 10 years, the concept is pushed even further.
This "satellite system," as Urwerk calls it, has been reimagined to rotate in a cylinder with the numerals carried on three-sided structures. On the left, the hours jump to change, whereas the minutes are precisely indicated as they travel along a five minute scale. It makes reading the time intuitive, though the mechanics are obviously extremely complicated. Even more technically astounding is that the basic power (mainspring) and regulation of the movement is on a traditionally horizontal plane while the display is perpendicular to it, and they're connected by a driveshaft.
As mind-warping as any Urwerk watch is just in its primary functions, there will always be more clever touches to discover: Pop the top of the case open like the hood of your Batmobile and you can check the running seconds and power reserve (which maxes out at 48 hours). Given its 42mm-wide armor-like titanium case structure with a matte finish, you won't see much of the movement or its automatic rotor, but there's surely enough mechanical wonder going on to keep you entertained.
If you're going for Bond-villain style and have around $272,550 to spend, you'll want to contact the brand to make one of the 25 examples yours.