2023 URWERK UR-112 Back to Black

by Matt Clymo

For those of you that like to feel the blend of old-school auto with ultra-modern horology with an edge, then the new URWERK UR-112 Aggregat Black to Black is the watch for you!

URWERK is one of those brands that are known and pride themselves on being ultra-modern, edgy and completely different from most other brands out there. If you’re after an under-the-radar watch, then maybe this article isn’t for you; stop reading right now! But if you’re wanting to explore your ‘darker’ side, then maybe it is; read on!

To understand the UR-112 Black to Black, you need to understand its origins:

The UR-112 Aggregat Back to Black belongs to the Special Project line. Martin Frei, the co-founder of URWERK, said: “The inspiration for the 112 line came straight from the USA. Felix and I were lucky enough to discover the impressive car collection of Mr Ralph Lauren. Amongst the rarest models was the Bugatti Atlantic. WOW! It was love at first sight. Its perfect lines, its spine running along its body, its Art Déco features. This Bugatti is a true wonder!  It was the muse that inspired my first drawings of the UR-112.” 

If you’re not a car fanatic, the Bugatti Atlantic Type 57 SC is indeed a work of art, and even if you’re not, one can appreciate the lines, the long bonnet and grill and the impressive stature of the Bugatti. Adding to this, the Type 57 SC is one of the rarest cars in the world, with only two examples of the original four produced remaining. Ralph Lauren has one of these; the other is in the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. It’s no surprise that URWERK has taken inspiration from this marvellous machine. Enough about cars; back to the piece in question.

The UR-112 Aggregat Back to black comes in a steel and titanium body with a complex architecture. Let’s start with the upper part. Its steel bonnet is grooved and open-worked. It gives a glimpse of the richness of this gleaming speed machine. This cover opens vertically to give access to the secondary power reserve and digital seconds indications. Its central titanium body is satin-brushed, sandblasted and bead-blasted, thereby forming a field of functional microdots. The two blackened steel wings of the UR-112 Aggregat Back to black fit into this central body. Each part has its own design language and finishing, and look, all combining to come together to create the automotive look fashioned after its inspiration.

Unlike other URWERK models, there are no cubes, no carousel with satellites, and no 120-degree sector-type indication like on so many models that have marked its history of over the last 25 years. The UR-112 Aggregat Back to Black displays jumping hours and trailing minutes on prisms. It’s a cool look for a mechanical watch that displays time in a digital format, something you don’t see very often (or at all). Shifted to the front of the watch, they’re visible in their large sapphire crystal housings. As the hours jump on one side and the minutes advance in five-minute increments on the other, an additional trailing indicator shows the accurate minutes. 

Felix Baumgartner, the co-founder of URWERK and master watchmaker, said: “Once again, we’ve let our guts speak for us in making a spaceship, a UFO that is a technical challenge. This UR-112 is pure madness in terms of the mechanics and the finishes. The energy generated by the UR-112’s central engine is being distributed in four directions along no less than 12 axes. It’s actual mechanical lace. We will only be able to make a very limited number of them, but this is sheer unadulterated watchmaking pleasure!”

Looking under the bonnet, so to speak, you’ll find the UR-13.01 calibre. A large barrel providing 48 hours of power reserve is coupled with an automatic-winding rotor. Pressing the two pushers on the sides of the watch opens the cover and reveals the power-reserve indicator and the spectacular small seconds. The latter is composed of a skeletonized silicon disk attached to a red anodized aluminium bridge, a typical URWERK design feature.

A transmission shaft stands out in the middle of this incredible mechanism. Measuring several centimetres in length, it’s possibly the longest component in contemporary watchmaking. To guarantee its lightness and rigidity, it’s made of titanium and ensures the coupling with the display module, located at the front of the shell. It establishes this link thanks to a new succession of gears that drive the hours and minutes prisms via two 90° bevel gears. The black aluminium prisms featuring grooved sides are enhanced with Super-LumiNova and secured by planetary systems that ensure they rotate both on their axis and in space. This kinematic approach calls for absolute precision and contributes to endowing the UR-112 Aggregat Back to black with a totally unique and unconventional design. 

No matter which way you look at the UR-112 Aggregat Black to Black is a very cool statement piece with design roots in some very impressive automotive history. This coupled with the jumping hour, dragging minutes and digital seconds, you also get some cool retro time-telling in a fully mechanical work of time-telling art.

The URWERK UR-112 Aggregat Black to Black is a 25-piece limited edition and priced at CHF 280,000 (excluding tax)


  • Case: 42 mm and 16 mm in thickness
  • Case Material: DLC-treated titanium and steel
  • Dial: Black
  • Crystal: Sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating 
  • Water resistance: 30 metres with screw-down crown
  • Movement: UR-13.01 automatic
  • Power reserve: 48 Hours

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