High-end watchmaker Urwerk is bringing new meaning to the term “small wind” by replacing the traditional self-winding mechanism in their UR-202 watch with miniature wind turbines. While this small scale turbine installation isn’t solving any energy crisis, it is a step towards better design, and a wind-driven move that extends the life of this distinctive timepiece. While we’ve seen wind turbine technology in many forms, from large, powerful designs can power neighborhoods, to small hand-held devices that can charge your mobile gadgets, we can’t recall any innovation that used wind power in such a small (yet significant) detail.
The UR-202 uses compressed air generated by the wind turbines to regulate the winding mechanism. With traditional self-winding watches use a slipping mainspring to prevent overwinding. The main rotor, which is constantly moving back and forth (as the user moves his arm), tends to wear as time goes on, due to the friction generated as it winds. What the turbines do is to regulate the velocity of the winding rotor to ensure that it doesn’t spin too fast, nor too slow. In principle, this will extend the life of the winding mechanism.
As we said, not exactly revolutionary in the big picture, but cool nonetheless. The watch is certainly distinctive enough, and has a number of features which make it quite interesting, and a little intimidating. We won’t lay claim to being watch experts, or even guess whether the extremely high price is justified, but we definitely like the idea of wind turbines being used in a watch. As well as the notion to get them into other gadgets.