highlights


Urwerk Atomic Mechanical Control

GRAND PRIX D’HORLOGERIE LAUREATE (PART 3/3)

December 2019


Urwerk Atomic Mechanical Control

In this final episode about the AMC, we give more details about the watch itself. The innovative and bold project has just been awarded with the “Prix de l’Audace” at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. The year 2019 couldn’t end on a better note for Urwerk!

I

n this final episode about the AMC, we give more details about the watch itself. The innovative and bold project has just been awarded with the “Prix de l’Audace” at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. The year 2019 couldn’t end on a better note for Urwerk!

“Thank you, members of the jury, thank you all. Most of all, thank you for recognising and rewarding the sheer amount of effort put in by the whole Urwerk team. Our engineers and watchmakers, every “Urwerkian”, and our atomic partners at SpectraTime, together made his possible. When you embark on a horological enterprise on the scale of the AMC project, it’s better not to know how difficult it will be. We now know that it’s hours beyond counting and labour beyond reckoning. And that’s what makes us proud to be standing here tonight”.

Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei, co-founders of Urwerk
Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei, co-founders of Urwerk

These are the words of Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei, co-founders of Urwerk, after winning the 2019 “Prix de l’Audace”, a new award of Geneva’s Grand Prix d’Horlogerie. They added: “This prize for the most intrepid horological venture really sums up who we are.” With the AMC clock and watch, Urwerk has created a physical marriage between two approaches to chronometry. AMC is not just a fascinating combination of atomic and mechanical systems; it brings together the two branches of watchmaking in one hybrid device, successfully bridging an existential chasm that has divided horology since the creation of the first piezoelectric oscillator.

The AMC clock and watch are unique in the history of horology. Each represents in its own way, the peak of evolution of a particular approach to keeping time. And when paired, this duo turns out to be indomitable. The mechanical watch comprising balance, balance spring and lever escapement merges with the atomic clock representing the cutting edge of modern timekeeping technology. An ex-machina dialogue starts and the rest is pure magic…

The watch, like the atomic clock, is a novel construction and is designed specifically for the AMC project. It includes typical Urwerk features such as the power reserve indicator and two stacked barrels supplying a power reserve of four days. The watch also has Urwerk’s Oil Change Indicator, which shows when the movement should be serviced. One full rotation of the oil change indicator will take more than four years, with a recommended service after three and a half years of operation.

However its most ingenious features, though invisible to the naked eye, are revealed upon close examination of the movement. The watch was designed to fit on and work with its base unit — an atomic clock also conceived and developed in Urwerk’s workshops. This base station will rewind the Urwerk wristwatch, set it to the correct time and if necessary adjust its rate.

With the award at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, the AMC is recognised for what it really is: a bold step towards the future of watchmaking!

Click on the image to enlarge / PDF
Click on the image to enlarge / PDF

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