The Urwerk EMC – for when you really, really want to be on time


May 31, 2013

Urwerk is calling its latest project in development, the EMC, the first mechanical timepiece with integrated intelligence

Urwerk is calling its latest project in development, the EMC, the first mechanical timepiece with integrated intelligence

Image Gallery (9 images)

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.

Source: Urwerk

About the Author
Jonathan Fincher Jonathan grew up in Norway, China, and Trinidad before graduating film school and becoming an online writer covering green technology, history and design, as well as contributing to video game news sites like Filefront and 1Up. He currently resides in Texas, where his passions include video games, comics, and boring people who don't want to talk about either of those things. All articles by Jonathan Fincher

What is the point of getting a mechanical watch if you are going to add electronics.


This is not yet a watch! Size does not appear to be shown, so it could be called a clock, but more realistically it could be called a laboratory model of a timepiece. It will not be a watch, until as they admit, it is scaled down to fit in an average (wrist) watch case.

The Skud

After looking again at the photo gallery, I wonder just how small could you make that hand crank without looking a little (no pun intended) weird against the watch case, or being too flimsy and hard to use if in scale? either way, cannot see it being used without holding the watch in your other hand to get rotation space. Would you wind it up each day or two to make sure, or not bother til that 80 hours runs out and have to reset? Isn't that why people invented battery watches?

The Skud

You can get pretty cheaply a watch that will sync to some atomic time standard if you want that kind of precision without the Rube Goldberg complexity. Then again, the clientele probably isn't going to buy this for logical or practical reasons.


The point is that if for some reason battery dies (EMP, solar flairs, neglecting to replace battery), the now tuned precise mechanical engine might still work precisely for a long time after. I like the idea.

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