The Urwerk EMC – for when you really, really want to be on time
Luxury watchmaker Urwerk has revealed the latest project in development at its U-Research Division. Like the company's past haute horlogerie creations, the EMC will offer exceptional accuracy and style, but with an unconventional twist. Calling it a "mechanical smart watch," Urwerk says the EMC will include an electronic mechanism that verifies its own precision and tells the wearer whether the timing needs to be adjusted.
The designers at Urwerk have a reputation for creating stunning examples of wrist-worn precision engineering, such as a watch that runs on compressed air and a timepiece modeled after a tarantula. With the EMC, the company is hoping to give watch connoisseurs a device that they can easily maintain themselves, without the assistance of a specialist.
Pressing a button on the watch will trigger an optical sensor on the balance wheel to time its oscillations for about three seconds. After obtaining an average rate, an integrated calculator compares the reading to a highly precise 16,000,000 Hz electronic reference oscillator to determine any difference to within 10 microseconds. It then works out how many seconds are lost or gained each day and displays the number on a timing indicator. The wearer can then use the timing adjustment screw on the back of the watch to make any corrections.
Once it's set to the correct time though, the EMC uses a number of features to maintain its accuracy. Urwerk designed a special 4 Hz balance wheel made of ARCAP, a non-magnetic alloy of copper and nickel that resists corrosion, to ensure almost no loss in precision over time. Instead of a battery, the watch uses a hand-turned Maxon generator for the electronics along with large double mainspring barrels arranged vertically to provide up to 80 hours of reserve power.
The EMC prototype is reported to be fully functional in the lab. The next step for Urwerk's engineers is to shrink all its elements down to fit inside a wristwatch-sized housing.
The company hasn't revealed any details about pricing or a release date just yet. Judging by its previous products however, you can be sure that when the EMC watch does hit the market it will be a very limited edition, with a price tag that could probably buy you a family car.