UrWerk is a timepiece company owned by Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei. Felix was born into a family of watchmakers and learned about timepieces from his father who renovated some of the world’s most famous and historic clocks including the night clock made in Rome in 1682. Felix attended the respected watchmaking school in Solothurn, Switzerland and graduated in 1995.
Martin earned a degree in Graphic Design from the School of Visual Arts in Zurich, Switzerland. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts from the Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst in Luzern, Switzerland. He became a student of Roman Signer, a Swiss artist whose works comprise sculpture, art installations, photography, and video.
In 1995, Felix and his watchmaker brother Thomas met Martin Frei and they bonded over their mutual love of measuring and keeping time. These dialogues led the trio to launch UrWerk in 1997. “Ur” was the city in ancient Mesopotamia where the concept of time and the measuring of it originated 6000 years ago. The German word “werk” means, “to work, create, evolve, shape, forge, and arouse emotions.” Thomas left the company in 2004.
The first watch that UrWerk introduced featured a “wandering hours” display, in which the hour is shown pointing across an arc that shows the minutes. Their third watch, the UR-103, had the same wandering hours display but could be easily read while driving.
In their second decade of production, UrWerk’s watches became bigger and increased in intricacy by adding indicators, dial-less cases, in house movements, time displays, fine tuning adjustment screws, and a “twin turbine winding regulation.” Their electronic rate measurement display (EMC) watch won top watch prizes at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève in 2014.
UrWerk continues to add innovative and original timepieces to its range of timepieces, introducing a sleeker watch in 2014 and ladies’ watches in 2015. Their atomic clock/watch combination, the AMC, won the Audacity Prize at the Grand Prix d’Hologerie de Geneve in November 2019.
Today, UrWerk continues its mission to design and craft haute timepieces, blending tradition with futuristic vision. Its watches are available at select retailers in Europe, Canada, Asia, Australia, the Middle East and the United States.