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Hands on review of the Urwerk UR-220 "The Falcon Project"

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The Urwerk watch I prefer is the UR-202 which stands out for its reinterpretation of the principle of wandering hours thanks to its telescopic minute hands. The time runs continuously, with the central carousel making a constant and permanent revolution. I also really like the UR-210 even though it has a different concept: the large retrograde hand. Basically both watches share the same central carrousel that carries three satellites, each with a rotating cube. The cubes have a double move. They move around the carrousel but also rotate on themselves so that the correct face of the cube positioned at the beginning of the minute scale corresponds to the current time.

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These movements are peaceful and slow, and can only be perceived with the naked eye. To fully understand this double animation, you just have to pull the crown and accelerate the flow of time. As if by magic, the carousel and the cubes then begin a superb ballet.

On the other hand, the UR-210 no longer uses the telescopic hands of the UR-202 which were an integral part of the satellites supporting the cubes. They are replaced by a single, majestic hand that will accompany the cube all along the minute scale. At the 60th minute, the hand separates from the cube, performs an instant retrograde movement and welcomes the next cube at the beginning of the graduation. The behavior of this hand explains why I really like the UR-210. In a way, it reminds me of the famous Opus V by Harry Winston which is for me the most beautiful Opus.

Urwerk presented the UR-220 at the end of summer 2020. A quick look at the watch might suggest that it is a simple update of the UR-210. This is not totally inaccurate since both watches have exactly the same rotating cube and large retrograde hand display system. On the other hand, it's everything around it that changes. In fact the UR-220 is a more important watch than it seems because it allows Urwerk to explore two main concepts.

The power reserve display uses two indicators:

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The wearer comfort indicator to start with. This is obviously a fundamental evolution. It manifests itself through 3 components:

  • the size of the case: the latter is slightly smaller (its dimensions are 43,8mm x 52,9mm while those of the UR-210 case are 43,8mm x 53,6mm) but above all it is much thinner (14,8mm vs 17,8mm). Given the watch's size, every millimetre more or less is immediately perceptible. The UR-220 thus appears more slender, more fluid. But beware: it remains an imposing watch,
  • the main material of the case is carbon (the base of the case remains in titanium) which makes it lighter while having an aesthetic interest,
  • and a brand new rubber strap specifically developed by Urwerk. This strap is textured and molded under Vulcanization and finished by hand. Its suppleness, the feeling it gives on contact with the skin, and its aesthetic integration make it very pleasant. It is a real plus.

You will notice the display of the movement's operating time on the back of the watch:

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The other concept that is mobilized through the UR-220 is dear to Felix Baumgartner: it is the interactivity between the machine and the man, between the watch and its owner. First of all, the basic movement is hand-wound (which also explains the reduction in the thickness of the case): Urwerk has kept the Zenith Elite movement that powers the UR-210 and has removed the automatic winding mechanism. The power reserve of the movement is 48 hours in the context of the UR-220, which is less than the traditional performance of the caliber given the energy required to operate the display module. Changing the type of winding has several consequences. Displays are modified on each side. On the face side, the power reserve display and the winding efficiency display are replaced by a double power reserve display. On the back of the watch, the famous winding efficiency selector that influences the behavior of the turbines connected to the winding mass is replaced by a digital gauge. It indicates the operating time of the mechanism expressed in months thanks to two adjacent rollers. The watch should be serviced after the 39th month of operation. Once the watch has been serviced, the gauge is reset to zero. We thus find the famous Oil Change indicator of the UR-110 in a more elaborate form.

The UR-220 is, in my opinion, a great achievement from Urwerk. It meets all the criteria of quality and rigor in the execution specific to the brand. It is not revolutionary compared to the UR-210 but its evolutions are relevant and make it more pleasant to wear on a daily basis. The choice between the UR-210 and the UR-220 is mainly at this level. As for the additional complications, it is a matter of appreciation. The display of the operating time is especially interesting due to its double roller interpretation and the possibility of checking the efficiency of the winding system made sense on the UR-210. I would therefore find it difficult to say that one watch is superior to the other. On the other hand, the reduced thickness of the case and the comfort of the new rubber strap are undeniable advantages.

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The UR-220 "The Falcon Project" (which has recently been joined by an All Black version) is available at a price of 162,000 euros including VAT.

Pros:
- the magical behaviour of the main hand
- a refined case
- the strap is very comfortable and perfectly integrated from an aesthetic point of view

Cons:
- the performance of the basic movement begins to date.

Comments:
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FabR November 28th, 2020-14:59
Thanks for a nice and very informative technical review FX, lots of things to love in this beautiful machine! No message body
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foversta November 29th, 2020-07:51
Thanks Fab! 
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Hulk November 28th, 2020-15:52
Thanks for synopsis and photos. It's a winner for me and on my wish list of the funds ever reached those heights. Cheers S 
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foversta November 29th, 2020-07:52
Thanks for your words, glad you liked the review! 
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holdemchamp1225 November 29th, 2020-01:25
Another great review FX 👏 
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foversta November 29th, 2020-07:52
Thanks a lot for your nice comment! 
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Hands on review of the Girard-Perregaux Free Bridge

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Girard-Perregaux presented the Free Bridge along with its Infinity version at the end of August during the Geneva Watch Days. This watch is in line with the brand's strategic direction, which aims to strengthen the two key collections in the catalog: the Bridges and Laureato collections. I appreciate this approach. Girard-Perregaux has suffered for many years from a lack of identifiable models that could have brought a positive impact on the entire catalog.


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