On the continuum of contemporary Swiss watchmaking, Laurent Ferrier and Urwerk occupy polar opposite ends. The former represents horology at its most classic, while the latter defies convention at every turn.
So it made perfect sense last year when the two independent firms teamed up on a timepiece for Only Watch, the charity auction for one-of-a-kind timepieces whose proceeds support research on Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Called Arpal 1, the piece sold for 100,000 CHF at Christie’s in November.
“The day of the sale marked the end of the story,” Ferrier says, “but we didn’t want it to end there.”
Last month, the Laurent Ferrier x Urwerk collaboration resulted in four additional wristwatches—a “lap of honor,” according to the brands—that couple Urwerk’s signature silhouette and wandering hours indication with Ferrier’s careful, elegant finishing.
“Laurent Ferrier got the mechanism, the inner workings, of our UR-105 from us in order to create his personal interpretation of its case,” says Urwerk cofounder Martin Frei. “I was very surprised by his work for two reasons: First of all, it is simply very interesting to see how another designer does things. But then I was astonished that he, by using our DNA feature, the U-shaped crystal opening, achieved such a different and striking design. It truly added a new, intriguingly beautiful aspect to the UR-105 story.”
Made of sandblasted and shot-peened titanium, the case is vintage Laurent Ferrier. Anthracite gray with a matte finish, it boasts clean lines evocative of the streamlined bodies of racing cars, a subtle nod to the watchmaker’s racing history. (In 1979, he famously drove a Porsche 935T to third place in the overall rankings of the Le Mans 24 Hours endurance race.)
Urwerk is accepting orders for the four timepieces, which each retail for 88,000 Swiss francs (about $91,400 at current exchange), until May 15. All proceeds benefit medical research for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.