Urwerk UR-203 Watch Hands-On
Reading the time is easier that you might expect - a reasonably alternative to hands. If you notice the little needle coming out of the hour indicator like a precision hand, you'll be impressed that the hand retracts back into the unit when it is time for the satellite to spin back around the case. One of the coolest things about the 203 is the view from the back. The automatic winding movement spins a duo of turbines on the rear of the watch. These spin as you move around the timepiece - showing that the automatic winding is functioning. A very nicely stylized part of the watch. There is a level on the rear of the watch (simply to use and refined to the touch) that will lock the automatic rotor in place. Two red bars appear in a window on the rear when winding is locked. Why would you want to lock the winding? So that the watch can put up with more shock resistance during strenuous activity. You can then unlock the rotor when you are done with your golf swing for example.
Gallery: Urwerk UR-203 Watch
As a small watch maker, Urwerk has an incredible level of polish in its watches. You'd think that dozens of people spent time on the design and manufacture of the watches - this isn't true. Urwerk, with all its modern allure and appearance, is a boutique Swiss brand. There are two other interesting complications on the dial. These are different than the ones on the 202, and are more for fun that usefulness. There you will an "oil change" indicator and an "horological odometer." Basically, the oil change indicator lets you know what Urwerk suggests the watch needs to be services, which is about once each 3 years. The odometer is a sort of lifespan indicator, that runs while the watch is running. It will indicate up to 150 years, before it presumably resets itself. Just like when the odometer in a can goes back to zero.
While the watch is totally wearable, the most awkward part of the 203 is having it on your wrist. It doesn't quite feel like a normal watch would. It probably takes some time to get used to. At the very least, people around you who notice watches will be quick to question the device strapped to your forearm.
Urwerk certainly doesn't make watches that are for everyone. We aren't talking Rolex here. At the same time, Urwerk watches are made by hand in very limited productions. This UR-203 watch will only have a total of 20 pieces made - ever. That is really quite limited and I felt fortunate to even wear one. For me, the UR-203 a favorite in the brand's collection. Given the functionality, level of refinement, user friendliness, and exclusivity, I think enough "different types" will find the piece irresistible - totally worth the few hundred thousand they go for. You can learn more about the Urwerk 203 watch including more specific technical details at their site here.
Ariel Adams publishes the luxury watch review site aBlogtoRead.com.