Established 22 years ago and run independently since Urwerk has created its own microcosm of ultra-high-end timepieces. Best known for exceptional attention to detail and unique, yet all-encompassing designs — including their extraordinary ways of displaying time through a set of wandering satellites — in recent years, Urwerk has produced around 130-150 watches annually, a limited production that has, over the last quarter of a century, accumulated into a selection of remarkable timepieces of extraordinary versatility. Urwerk has now taken on the demanding challenge few brands in the luxury watch industry have dared to introduce its program for officially certified pre-owned Urwerk watches, listed on Urwerk’s dedicated website.
Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei, founders and directors of the brand, have taken a very self-aware and honest approach to issues that they, as a highly successful independent watch manufacture, and, consequently, also their valued customers, had to face. Urwerk Pre-Owned has been developed in response to these challenges, intended to resolve the bottlenecks and watch-market anomalies often not even the greatest and most powerful luxury groups can work out.
“Since we started Urwerk over 22 years ago, we have made about 2,300 watches in total — and I, personally, feel responsible for each and every Urwerk watch ever made. Not just when it first leaves the workshop, but throughout the life of the watch. It can’t stop with the first delivery to the first client. If a client, for any reason, has to separate from a watch, we would love to be able to take care of the 2nd, 3rd or 4th owner equally. The Certified Pre-Owned Urwerk program is a very important extension of this responsibility.” — Felix Baumgartner, co-founder and master watchmaker of Urwerk.
What does the Certified Pre-Owned Urwerk program have to offer to its customers-to-be? In essence, a fully serviced, fully restored and fully tested Urwerk watch, certified and guaranteed by Urwerk itself. First of all, each and every watch that Urwerk takes in to participate in its program comes from authorized, legitimate sources. If that’s assured, then the watch advances to the watchmakers’ bench. Given Urwerk’s highly limited annual production and basically non-existent fluctuation rate among its watchmakers (a feat a lot more exotic than most would imagine of the Swiss watch industry), in almost all cases the watch will, indeed, once again be in the hands of the master watchmaker who originally created it.
Once this reunification is complete, the watch is first closely examined and then disassembled. The case and its components, including its crystals, are separated and inspected. The movement is removed from the case and is fully disassembled, including it's base calibre and satellite or EMC modules. Once again, every component undergoes microscopic scrutiny to identify parts that need fixing, lubricating, or replacing.
The case is polished to Urwerk’s exceptionally high standards, bringing it back as closely as possible to its original condition. Urwerk has created a simple and easy-to-understand condition rating system for its certified pre-owned watches. UR-0 stands for unworn or new condition, while further ratings go from the “as new or very few signs of wear” UR-1 to the “signs of heavy wear” with UR-4. Most all certified pre-owned Urwerk watches Urwerk say will be rated UR-1 or UR-2. Needless to say, every listed timepiece on urwerpreowned.com is fully documented and beautifully photographed to give one the most accurate indication about its condition.
Before a watch is to be added to the site, the now fully serviced and factory-restored timepiece undergoes the exact same 2+2 week testing procedure that it underwent when it was first produced — and that every currently produced Urwerk watch is submitted to as well. This is to say that a certified pre-owned Urwerk watch is tested to perform to the exact same standards as brand new pieces. First, the rebuilt movement is checked for a period of two weeks, then it is cased up, the completed watch is tested for another two weeks. Waterproofness is, of course, also tested as part of the process.
There is yet another benefit to the Certified Pre-Owned Urwerk program, tailored for those who have been on the hunt for a special, no-longer-produced Urwerk. It takes but a glance at Urwerk’s 22-year-long portfolio of timepieces to understand why the demand for Urwerk watches has been consistently high, with that enthusiasm shared by new customers and long-term collectors alike. Even its lineup of currently produced timepieces is remarkably diverse: between its UR-105, UR-110, UR-210 and UR-106 Satellite pieces, as well as its EMC electro-mechanical collections, there is so much to choose from. Not to mention the highly complex and equally collectable pieces from Urwerk’s history, such as the UR-CC1 King Cobra, C3H5N3O9 Experiment watch, the first Urwerk UR-101, and the list goes on.
And so, who better to assist in hunting down that coveted, desired, collectable, unicorn of a Urwerk than Urwerk itself? Felix Baumgartner takes pride in the brand’s excellent, established connection with customers, collectors and authorized retailers and know from experience how well they can facilitate making connections between each and every party when it comes to finding — or selling — a much-craved Urwerk watch.
Last but not least, there is a very important distinction to be made between Urwerk watches purchased through authorized channels and those obtained by other means. If sold, a Urwerk watch should always be accompanied by its original documentation — once lost, it cannot be replaced again. Although Urwerk says it has a good relationship with Chrono24, it has to mention that, at times, sellers are not filtered carefully enough. Sometimes watches might be listed by those who just want to make a quick buck but don’t even have the watch at the time of listing — and if there is interest, they will try to find a way to source it. This isn’t only Urwerk’s problem — far from it, as it affects every popular independent and major brand alike.
Yet, more importantly, the team at Urwerk is, time and again, requested to repair or restore watches that have very obviously been tampered with. These are most all the time utterly failed botch jobs performed by illegitimate sellers who tried to avoid an official service. The worst-case scenario is when such a watch is sent in for a service by the buyer who purchased this watch from unauthorized sources — unfortunately, this is an all too common occurrence and something that should be avoided, especially considering the availability of certified watches and the exceptionally high value that is at stake.
That said, Urwerk will happily service any Urwerk watch they have ever created as long as it was sold in legitimate ways (traded between collectors, purchased from legitimate sellers, etc.) and it was not internally or externally tampered with, modified or destroyed by third parties. As tempting as some options may appear to be to the unsuspecting buyer, it probably is self-explanatory why maintaining the structural integrity, functionality, and inherent value of an Urwerk watch, like any other valuable, complex, and limited timepiece, is only possible by leaving said task to the very team that designed, engineered, and created it in the first place.
Altogether, the Certified Pre-Owned Urwerk program is an absolute gold mine to those new and established Urwerk customers who wish to obtain their much-desired Urwerk timepiece from the source — and do so at pre-owned prices. A fully restored, rebuilt and thoroughly tested, certified pre-owned Urwerk watch, backed by a renewed 24-month official manufacturer’s warranty, shows the way to other Swiss luxury watch manufactures and provides a splendid opportunity and peace of mind to all those with their eyes set on the purchase of an Urwerk timepiece.
By A Blog To Watch