Haute Time talks to Martin Frei of Urwerk; Checks Out Two New De Bethune Watches; Visits with Christophe Claret in Geneva

Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues Geneva

While we were in town for SIHH, we had some meetings off-site with brands. One of them is our favorites, Urwerk. We work with them a lot with Westime in LA, and was glad to be able to see Martin while I was in Geneva, and check out his latest watch launches, that he will showcase for Basel World in April. So, I visited Four Seasons, and got to have Martin Frei, give me an inside look at both pieces.

Urwerk’s Martin Frei
UR-210, the Maltese Falcon
Detailed View of the UR-210, the Maltese Falcon
Back of the UR-210, the Maltese Falcon

The first piece was the UR-210, the Maltese Falcon. This is the new launch from Urwerk, and we love the look. Martin said the response has been overwhelming. The watch actually features the world’s first winding efficiency indicator (on the back side), with a single hand between the green and red on the watch face. The watch has a steel case made of AlTiN, an aluminum-titanium-nitride alloy. It sells for around $145,000.

Back of the UR-110PT

The next piece Martin showed me is one of my favorites, but updated. It is the UR-110 line, but this piece is called UR-110PT, which stands for “Perfection is in the detail.” This piece is updated, as it got rid of its original titanium and steel case, and upgraded to platinum. This is one of our favorite watches, as we love the color coordination and vintage look.

It is great to see innovative creators out there in the watch industry. Martin and his partner Felix Baumgartner have built a successful brand, staying within their niche. As I was leaving, I got to meet Felix, and I asked him what it was like working with MB&F’s Maximilian Büsser and Serge Kriknoff. Felix said it was a lot of fun creating such a cool project. I thought it was very impressive to see the brands collaborate with a great looking piece, but unfortunately they didn’t have it, as I wanted to see in person. Either way, look forward to seeing them at Basel World, as we predict the UR-210 will be a huge hit.



De Bethune DB16 Tourbillon Regulator

Back of the De Bethune DB16 Tourbillon Regulator

After I visited Urwerk, I went downstairs In the Four Seasons, and wanted to say hi to Pierre Jacques, CEO of De Bethune. They launched two pieces to showcase this week, and the talk was very positive. I came to see two pieces, the first being the De Bethune DB16 Tourbillon Regulator. And then the DB28 Skybridge. They got a beautiful suite overlooking the water, and there were people everywhere. I saw 2-3 different groups from Asia, and another group from Europe. Pierre was showcasing his latest two creations, and we first start with the DB16 Tourbillon Regulator. The watch is built around a 30′ tourbillon, beating at a rate of 36,000 vph, one of the fastest and lightest watches in the world. The watch only weighs .18 grams. The watch uses a jumping seconds mechanism with a twin lever, with four pallets. This movement is also equipped with a power indicator, a seconds indication, and a retrograde moon-phase indicator that facilitates setting the moon to the exact date. The back of the watch, is the calibre DB2509, with deadbeat seconds, perpetual calendar and a tourbillon with 30-second indicator. The watch retails for over $375,000, so it is a truly special watch, for the consumer demanding only the best.

Face of the DB28 Skybridge
Back of the DB28 Skybridge

Just went you think De Bethune can deliver better, they bring out the DB28 Skybridge. The watch has an amazing blue face, which has a moon-phase indicator at six-o’clock. The titanium dial is a dark beautiful blue, with little silver balks that serve as hour markets. It also has a cool 12 o’clock crown and its hunter-type back borrowed from pocket watches. The heart of this immensity is sprinkled with white gold and diamond stars. Topped with hour-markers resembling tiny suspended spheres, these sparkling splendors lend a sense of timeless depth to the celestial canopy. The back of the Skybridge has a DB2105 movement on show for your viewing pleasure through the sapphire exhibition case back. This watch retails for over $110,000, and is a great piece for the investment.


Face of the Christophe Claret Soprano tourbillon minute repeater

After De Bethune, I wanted to check out the $485,000 Christophe Claret Tourbillon Minute Repeater. This watch istruly on the next level. If money was no object, this is a watch you would want to buy. This watch is probably Christophe Claret’s most aggressive model, and it is called Soprano. The Soprano watch associates two of the finest horological complications: a 60-second tourbillon and a minute repeater with Westminster chime, four patented cathedral gongs and four hammers, highlighted by stepped bridges inspired by the Charles X style. This exceptional calibre is housed inside a round case subtly marrying precious metals and titanium. The Westminster Chimes is a four-note tune chosen for the clock tower at the Palace of Westminster in London.

Back of the Christophe Claret Soprano tourbillon minute repeater

It was great to see the Christophe Claret team, and they were so kind to invite me to their factory when I am back in Switzerland. It is great to see such creative watchmakers such as Christophe, along with De Bethune and Urwerk. All three small brands, but doing great things in the watch world.




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