Urwerk takes a very different approach to watch design, opting for dial and case configurations that speak directly to the company’s high-tech approach to materials and movements. Last year, we showed you the UR-210 Maltese Falcon, containing a “winding efficiency indicator” to show you just how well your own movements are generating power for the self-winding mechanism. For 2014, Urwerk introduces the UR-210Y Black Hawk – a stealthy update featuring a black scratch-resistant titanium and steel case paired with a black fabric strap.
Besides the modern case, you’ll notice two main things about the Black Hawk: the bold retrograde minute function at the base of the dial and an industrial-looking tri-part minute hand mechanism that doubles as the hour indicator. Each section of the minute-hand mechanism contains a four-sided aluminum satellite featuring 1 of the 12 hour values on each side. At the appropriate hour, the minute hand moves into position at 0m, and the respective hour satellite rotates to the respective hour value within the aluminum cage. At the end of 59m, the minute hand snaps back to its starting point and the next appropriate hour satellite is already in place, ready to begin its path again. Notably, this reset all takes place in less than one tenth of a second.
At 43.8mm wide, the case is not as big as you might think. Compared to its predecessor, the UR-2106 Black Hawk looks stealthier in black – though discretion probably won’t be your top priority when wearing this piece. The Black Hawk is powered by Caliber UR-7.10, a self-winding movement with 39-hour power reserve. The most interesting feature of this movement is the winding component, which contains a novel approach to optimizing power accrual.
On the dial, there are two retrograde indicators, one at 1 o’clock – the traditional power reserve indicator – and another at 11 o’clock. The latter indicates how much power the watch has accrued over the last two hours. If your movements have wound the movement sufficiently, the indicator’s hand will point toward the green zone. If you need to be a bit more active, it’ll point to the red zone. It’s a fully-mechanical reminder to get up and get moving.
While that’s novel enough, the interesting part lies in the way that you can actually customize the winding mechanism to suit your level of activity. By adjusting a “winding efficiency selector” on the back of the watch, a turbine connected to the rotor can be either engaged or disengaged. If you intend to be less active for a while, disengaging the turbine will allow the rotor to wind with the slightest movement. And on the other hand, if you intend to be more active than usual, the selector can be set to activate an air turbine dampening system to provide additional friction that slows down the winding process, effectively reducing wear on the components. If those high-tech adjustments don't suit your particular lifestyle, the self-winding mechanism can be disabled, converting the UR-210Y to a manual-winding watch.
The Urwerk UR-210Y Black Hawk is limited to 75 pieces. For more information, visit Urwerk online.