A Watch Inspired by Isaac Asimov

3 July 2021
A Watch Inspired by Isaac Asimov

The Urwerk UR-220 SL Asimov light up the night like a torch thanks to the pigment-based luminophor, just like “Nightfall” story written by Isaac Asimov.

When it comes to Asimov, a fire burning in some readers’ heart. I am also one of those veteran Asimov readers, the first book that I read was Caves of Steel a sci-fi-detective novel tells the story of a robotic, published by Okat Publishing House in 1971. Later on, this book was published by Baskan Publishing with the same title. I have loved science-fiction so much that I had tried hard to complete the 25-book series of Baskan Publishing and even I was short of a couple of books in the beginning of 1990s.

Sci-fi novels reveal strange emotions which arouse with the unlimited greatness of the creative human mind and galaxies. Almost six years ago, I experienced similar feelings and admiration when I saw the Urwerk UR-210S Full Metal Jacket. And today, Urwerk seems to go beyond itself with the UR-220 SL Asimov.

So, why did the brand choose Asimov? The answer is about an approach to the basic structure of Urwerk timepieces. The brand had ended the UR-210 series last year; however, this time it comes with the UR-220, which is a more advanced version. The first two watches of this series were announced earlier.

In 1941, Isaac Asimov wrote Nightfall, one of the most popular stories in science fiction literature, when he was only 21-year-old. The story, which takes place on a planet called Lagash, which is surrounded by a total of six stars and is always bright, inspired a watch named Asimov 80 years later. The book tells the story of a planet called as Lagash, which is surrounded by a total of six and is always bright. After 80 years, this story inspires a timepiece which takes its name from Asimov.

The story tells about a solar eclipse that occurs once every 2049 years. When the planets and stars align, the planet is plunged into darkness for more than half a day. However, in this planet, “night” does not exist, therefore, humans of the planet are terrified with the darkness of night. Even the terrifying idea of ​​the dark night becomes unbearable. With involvement of religionists, a conflict begins between religion and science.

Games and movies based on science fiction literature have a magical side that provokes thoughts of the reader. A path to the future can be drawn immediately in the fields of design, philosophy, science and art. Many ideas that once seemed like dreams or were never even thought of first found their way into the universe of science fiction, and then mixed into our lives in time.

Urwerk is a company that produces watches with a radical design and a futuristic approach. However, as with almost every mechanical design, it also has a historical background. Urkwerk’s original design is based on a watch from 17-century. Urwerk watches was founded by brothers Felix and Thomas Baumgartner who are coming from a watchmaker family, and designer Martin Frei in 1995. Urwerk watches show the time on a curve with the retrograde style indicator designed on the dial of the watch, modeled after the line that the Sun follows in the sky.

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The Urwerk UR-220 SL Asimov still has the hour and minute hands, but the timepiece features three hour hands that display the hours and rotate themselves, with them there is a three-dimensional minute hand that takes one of the hour hands with it at every hour change and they move together for 60 minute.

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Where thing get different from its siblings is at night. Satellite hands made from luminescent material, Super-LumiNova. Distinguishing from past editions, the rotating cubes made from luminescent material in order to precise at the Super-LumiNova Grade X1 BL level. The stages requiring technical expertise were developed by Swiss company RC Tritec, a specialist in phosphorescent pigments. Instead of applying Super-LumiNova to the surface, RC Tritec has developed a method to create precise luminous 3D casting in any desired shape. With a much higher luminescence concentration, the parts store light during daylight and emit a more intense and longer-lasting glow at night.

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The case is made from 81 times compressed carbon fiber. Urwerk team has designed a winding calibre to both reduce the height of case and increase the efficiency of the mainspring. Thanks to new manual-winding calibre UR7.20, the case height of UR-220 is reduced. The conclusion is a case in 14.8 mm thickness. Developed by Urwerk, the movement has a 4Hz frequency and can store up to 48 hours of power reserve.

Another feature of the watch is that it includes the oil change gauge originally found on UR-110 and UR-203. The oil change is on the caseback. The wearer should remove protective pin to trigger device. Then, a pusher that displays the active running time in months is activated. After 39 months (3 years 3 months) when the watch is ready for service, and Urwerk will perform the oil change, reset the counter and replace the pin.

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The UR-220 watches have “separate” power reserve in common. The top corners of the dial feature two indicators that represent 24-hour power. The right indicator is filled first during manual arming. When it reaches the maximum level, the indicator on the left takes over.  The structure of the power reserve, which is distributed over two indicators, is more complicated than it seems, because requiring 83 parts.