In the wide world of watches, there are some brands that everyone is just familiar with. Much like everyone calls a tissue a Kleenex, there are brand names that you hear, and you can all but picture one in your head. If you want to start swimming in weirder waters, you need to get past those marquee names. Though, that’s doing a disservice to URWERK, as the team just built its own interpretation of the marquee, and releases such unique pieces as the URWERK UR-100V T-Rex.
While the URWERK UR-100V T-Rex is a relatively recent design, the roots of the line actually go back to 2003, when the brand released the URWERK UR-103. There, we see the reverse retrograde time display that is a hallmark of the UR-100 line. 2014 saw the UR-105M released, which brings us closer to the look that we see in the T-Rex, albeit with a rather industrial case design. 2016 brought us the UR-105CT which went towards a more automotive inspired design; 2019 brought URWERK back to its roots with the introduction of the UR-100 line, finally resulting in the T-Rex in 2021.
As you go through URWERK’s story, you can see how the brand has adapted its designs over the years. The display of the time using the orbiting circles is a hallmark, and makes the brand quite recognizable. Just as you have to reassess your idea of how to read the time, URWERK forces you to reassess what a watch should look like.
Obviously, the way the URWERK UR-100V T-Rex tells the time is unique, but that’s not the first thing that hits you about the watch. No, that honor goes directly to its case. This is where the ‘T-Rex’ part of the name comes in. First seen on the UR-105, you could dismiss this as just an exaggerated bit of finishing that we’ve previously seen on movement parts. While that’s technically correct, it really undersells just how organic the approach is. While the watch itself is definitely “of the future”, this case finish leads the mind to see a piece of very leathery reptile skin — perhaps even something dug out of an archeological site. Done here in an antiqued bronze (which will develop even more patina over time), it looks so vastly different than anything else that could be lurking in your watch box.
What’s also unlike anything else you’ve got (one presumes) is what else the URWERK UR-100V T-Rex allows you to track. Sure, you’ve got the time display in the lower third (and it gets down to the minute, always good). At the 10 o’clock position, you’ve got the distance traveled on Earth (as if you were on the equator), and then at 2 o’clock, the distance the Earth itself has traveled around the sun. Practical in your daily routine? Likely not, but it’s a very, VERY clever use of those extra satellites on the dial (when they’re not indicating the time). Frankly, it puts me in mind of a spacefaring dino that somehow has decided to land on the wrist. One that carries lasers, of course, as the light show this watch puts on in the dark is not to be missed.
As befitting a watch as one-off in appearance as the URWERK UR-100V T-Rex, the movement inside is not something you’re going to be able to order out of a parts catalog. For those who track such things, the movement inside is the UR 12.01. It’s wound by a rotor that looks like a mandala colander was flattened, and it’s regulated by a small propeller that regulates the rotor, helping to reduce the shock of the winding. Once it’s wound up (topping out at a 48-hour power reserve), the caliber runs at 28,800 vph (aka 4Hz), giving you some of that high-frequency delight in keeping you on-time as you rocket back towards the primordial eras.
Versus The Competition
Most would admit, attempting to pin down what the competition for the URWERK UR-100V T-Rex is tricky, though not impossible. It’s such a unique look that we frankly don’t see many others attempting to approach. In my mind, the most common brands that you might compare against the URWERK would be something like the MB&F x Moser Legacy Machine LM101, or perhaps even the FP Journe Vagabondage III. Not that they are analogous in terms of how they display time, but in just how different they are from the current convention of dial layouts.
In terms of where they fall in pricing, both of those models come in a bit above the URWERK. Well, the MB&F x Moser is much closer, but the FP Journe is getting orders of magnitude higher in pricing. Perhaps you present those two first, and then the URWERK looks like a downright steal (psychology for the win!).
On the other hand, if you’re looking for something to undercut the URWERK in terms of price, and shift to a somewhat more traditional look in terms of timekeeping, Ressence is where you need to go. For instance, the Ressence 3B is a perfect example. At first it looks like a normal watch—but see it in motion, and you realize that there is something else entirely going on here. Definitely a unique look, both in terms of motion and how it fills the rounded crystal, and one that won’t hit the wallet as hard as the URWERK.
The URWERK UR-100V T-Rex is really a watch for someone who is tired of owning watches that are frequently spotted on the wrists of their friends, co-workers and other passers by. It’s more than an aesthetic choice, though. The URWERK owner is one (I’d think) that appreciates engineering ingenuity that doesn’t sacrifice the ability of the tool itself. In other words, you can read the time from it without any issues. Perhaps it’s not the watch for a black tie affair, but rather the showpiece when one looks to make a statement.
Where the URWERK UR-100V T-Rex shines is in it’s design, both of the case and its unorthodox method of time indication. The brand has always been rather polarizing in collector circles, but it’s also one that those whose followers remain incredibly faithful. With the UR-100 case profile being more wearable than some of its predecessors, this reference has rapidly become the “one to buy” for those previously hesitant to pull the trigger. And hey, if it looks like your watch can stomp on all the others, all the better.