The Urwerk EMC enables its wearer to both monitor the actual amplitude of the balance of the escapement and its change in the rate as a function of time worn on the wrist. Accuracy can then be easily adjusted for each owner’s lifestyle…
Sounds like science fiction, doesn’t it?
The EMC “Time Hunter” still is a fully 100% mechanical watch but with electronically enhanced indications. The Urwerk features a time display with central hours and minutes indicated with high-contrast black hands enhanced with bright white Super-LumiNova. A rotating disk displaying seconds at 1 o’clock is visually balanced by the power reserve indicator at its antipode at 7 o’clock. The dial in the top left corner at 10 o’clock displays the two EMC electronic indications: timekeeping precision to +/- 15 seconds per day and the amplitude of the balance. Turning EMC over reveals the fully in-house movement with integrated circuit board (the EMC ‘brain’), the top of one of the two mainspring barrels near the crown, and the top of the balance wheel and optical sensor on the winding handle side.
I could continue describing you the watch at this point, but I think Cyrano Devanthey from the Urwerk´s research & development department can do this much better …
I taped a video in Geneva at the SIHH where Cyrano will explain and show you the new Urwerk EMC “Time Hunter”
Here a short summary of the video: The fold-out crank handle is first wound to generate power for the EMC indications,– there are of course no batteries – which is then stored in a super capacitor. After winding, a hand indicates either δ (processing underway) or P (not enough power). The EMC hand will then first indicate the movement’s precision to +/- 15 seconds per day for a few seconds, followed by the amplitude of the balance, the latter being a good indicator of the health of a movement and if it requires servicing. As well as these two indications, a LED on the precision display between -5 and -15 seconds will shine either green for “all okay,” or red if one or both of the EMC indications fall outside acceptable parameters. The precision of the movement can then be simply adjusted faster or slower by turning the screw on the back of the watch. This allows the user to adjust the time to suit their own lifestyle.
So what do you think?
Are you impressed?
The balance is the very “heart” of nearly every mechanical watch movement. And as with our own heart, the strength of its beat (amplitude) and the regularity of its beat (precision) are good indicators of health.
Urwerks’s co-founding master watchmaker Felix Baumgartner sums it up:
“As a watchmaker, I am quite proud of us developing, manufacturing, and regulating our own balance wheel for EMC as very few brands actually make and regulate their own balances and they really are the heart of mechanical movements, The new EMC allows you to obtain a reliable and accurate piece of data on your timepiece at the touch of a button – information that until now has been the preserve of professional watchmakers. Using this information, you can fine tune one of the most exciting, most jubilant mechanisms invented – the mechanical watch – all by yourself.”
Martin Frei, designer and co-founder of Urwerk, had the task of bringing all of EMC’s technical elements together in a visually appealing and comfortably wearing wristwatch.
“The starting point of our creations is usually a sketch of the completed watch that embodies my and Felix’s ideas before the micro-mechanics are fully developed. But with EMC, the technical features of the timepiece were already established and this made my task that little bit trickier. We miniaturized the EMC components to the extreme, and this allowed me some leeway in terms of design. My approach was one of pragmatism – from incorporating the folding crank into the case band to making the electrical energy storing capacitor part of the case. In terms of design, you can spot the influence of objects that are dear to me: the crank echoes that of old SLR cameras; and the design of the balance wheel is reminiscent of a vintage 1/4-inch tape reel.”
To monitor and evaluate the mechanical movement, an” electronic brain” was then needed. Olivier Evalet, a software developer who is passionate about software and computer engineering, was instrumental in helping this bold project succeed:
“The idea was to use precision optics, i.e. light, to measure the precision of a mechanical movement. The accuracy we managed to achieve is better than 10 microseconds. And we have created a reliable system that is designed to work over the long term. The power for EMC’s electronic ‘brain’ derives not from a simple battery but a super capacitor that even after 100,000 to 200,000 charge/discharge cycles loses very little performance. We also chose a high-frequency oscillator with an extremely long life – its instability is only 3 parts per million over a full year.”
Looking through the display back into the movement we see the cover over the balance housing the optics that measure the precise rate of oscillation of the balance, with a tiny cable leading to the electronics visible through a grill on the right. The vertically stacked double mainspring barrels are also prominently visible beside the electronic circuit board.
Grade 5 titanium/steel
or green ceramic-coated grade 5 titanium/steel
Dimensions: 43 mm width, 51 mm length, 15.8 mm height
Crystal: Sapphire crystal
Water resistance: Pressure tested to 30m / 3ATM
Finishing: Satin finish; bead-blasted
Caliber UR-EMC2 caliber conceived, developed and manufactured by Urwerk
Escapement: Swiss lever escapement
Balance wheel in ARCAP P40, linear balance coupled to the optical sensor
Frequency: 4 Hz /28,800 A/h
Balance: spring Flat
Energy source: Vertically mounted double mainspring barrels connected in series
Power reserve: 80 hours
Winding: Manual winding
Finishing: Côtes de Genève, snailing, micro-bead blasting, polished bevels on screw heads
Generator: Maxon® generator with manual winding charging super capacitor
EMC system Optical sensor controlled by an integrated circuit board; 16,000,000 Hz reference oscillator
Hours, minutes, seconds; precision delta, amplitude, power reserve. Timing adjustment screw
Grade 5 titanium/steel 110.000 CHF excluding taxes
Green ceramic-coated grade 5 titanium/steel 115.000 CHF excluding taxes