When talking about crazy independent brands, a few names spring to mind. The likes of MB&F and De Bethune for example. The other brand that most watch geeks will come out within this conversation would be Urwerk.

Urwerk was founded in 1997 by two men, my namesake Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei. Felix possessed some pretty serious watchmaking credibility when the brand was founded, having grown up in the workshop of his father, who restored some of the most iconic clocks in the world. This led him to watchmaking school in Solothurn, where he received his Diploma in 1995. Martin, on the other hand, trod a path of design, graduating from the School of Visual Arts in Zurich in 1989.

“Urwerk is founded in 1997 with one goal: to design and craft haute horlogerie timepieces blending tradition with a futuristic vision. URWERK has its origins far from Switzerland, in the town of UR in Mesopotamia, the very first place where our perception of time was moulded. While WERK means to work, create, evolve, shape, forge and to arouse emotions, in German.”

The pair set out to design and manufacture a watch that incorporated their unique vision about how time could be displayed. And so in 1995, Urwerk was launched. The company had one overriding aim: to follow nobody but to create their own path in pushing the boundaries of Haute Horology even further than it had ever been done before.

Their first watches, the UR-101 and 102, coupled the pairs desire to tell time differently, in more additional rounded case. The time is displayed using a wondering hours complication, with the time being displayed between 3 and 9 at the top of the dial.

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