As the watch world has become dominated by corporate conglomerates, a few fiercely independent mavericks have little interest in what marketers say will sell. Instead, they pursue their own creative visions of what, cultivating an ardent fan base with deep pockets who prefer to stand apart from the crowd rather than follow it.
“We are probably the only company where the owners are a watchmaker and an artist,” Urwerk co-founder Felix Baumgartner has said, noting that watch companies today are rarely owned by people who can actually make watches.
Founded in 1997, Urwerk has delivered some of the most otherworldly pieces the market has ever seen. Last fall, it unveiled the UR-220, code-named the Falcon Project. “The UR-220 is above all a natural progression from our UR-210 model,” explains Martin Frei, Urwerk’s designer and co-founder. “It meant the death of the UR-210, so that it could be resurrected in a new guise. The differences are subtle but noticeable to the practiced eye.”