Not surprisingly, we watch nerds are humbled and awed every time a gifted watchmaker forges a new way to express their love for horology. One can think of virtually anything Abraham-Louis Breguet has done, of Greubel Forsey’s accretion of tourbillons, Aaron Becsei’s making of his own tools and, showing a new face of the brand, Urwerk producing its first fully in-house movement with its integrated Electro Mechanical Control. I have had the chance to spend a fair bit of time with this more recent chapter in forged horological greatness, and so this is our review of the Urwerk EMC Time Hunter X-Ray in grey — and, to my eyes, tank-green.
We’ll get to the electro-mechanical nitty-gritty in a moment, but even without knowing anything about that lot and just by looking at it, one can easily appreciate that the Urwerk EMC Time Hunter X-Ray is a very different watch. The design-savvy will immediately gravitate toward the angular case and its many exceptional details — the chunky exterior is as much about Urwerk’s muscle-flexing as it is a showcase of co-founder Martin Frei’s design talent.
Every exterior component, including the screws, crown, crank, and the caps that cover the service ports have all been coated in grey ceramic that, to me, looks distinctly green. Urwerk doesn’t say much about the coating itself, just that it is normally used for military armor-plating. Because it’s ceramic, it is bound to be extremely hard and scratch-resistant, which should help preserve the beauty of the case for longer, even if no one would (or should) do extreme sports in the 30-meter water resistant EMC.
Then, a peek at the dial reveals Urwerk’s push to achieve Horological Intimidation Level 2.0, as they now have openworked the dial, stressing that this piece of ultra-high-end horology is, by all means, up there with the Richard Milles and other usual suspects — and not just in price. It was not until later that I realized this skeletonization was done to such extent that the watch, at some point around the balance wheel and escapement, is actually fully transparent.
Then, you have all the different texts and gauges and digits — all aptly separated for easy reading and, yet, neatly coordinated in their details. And if all this weren’t enough, there is a massive crown sticking out of the case at the 6 o’clock position and — watch this — an actual crank is fixed onto the right case side. The fact that all this is wrapped in a military-grade ceramic coating really is just the icing on the cake.
Last, but certainly not least, a flip of the EMC Time Hunter X-Ray reveals its incredible caseback view with bright yellow plates and metallic gray components everywhere — all beautifully finished. There is more perceivable depth to this movement than there is to the Grand Canyon. No, really: There is so much tech in so many layers that, if you take a loupe and lift the EMC to your face, you’ll feel like Luke Skywalker as he was flying directly above the surface of the Death Star.
The case of the Urwerk EMC Time Hunter X-Ray is largely crafted from titanium with some bits in steel. It measures 43mm-wide, 51mm-tall and 15.8mm- thick. Despite its largely titanium case and hollowed-out movement, the watch head is of substantial heft — I definitely wouldn’t want to wear a steel version for extended periods. As it is, daily wearability is in no way affected by the substantial weight, but it is on the far end of just right.
The leather-backed, weave-front strap is well made and a neat match to the military-grade exterior but requires a lot of wear before follows the shape of the wrist. The review unit had a black coated buckle, but I remember seeing matching green buckles from Urwerk, so this might just be a peculiarity of this particular piece. Similarly, given that this is a showpiece, the strap has suffered around the crown, as those who handled it before apparently felt inclined to force the strap back and against the crown.