TimeHunter X-Ray in the subversive Urwerk tradition

“If it’s not properly adjusted, even the most expensive movement remains a useless mechanism.” This is the premise on which the URWERK team got to work on the EMC TimeHunter.

This watch mechanism by Urwerk is equipped with an electric monitor that tells the owner how his watch is performing. With this information, he can effectively control his EMC, adjusting it to the second. The TimeHunter X-Ray confirms the advent of the mechanical watch enhanced by electronic functions that provide a diagnosis of its timekeeping performance. Such a watch gives its owner the active role of getting the best performance from his timepiece.

This unique concept combines a precision mechanical movement with an electronic module that monitors its rate. Simply by pressing a button you discover whether your watch is running fast or slow and the amplitude of its balance. Furthermore, you can adjust it accordingly for optimum timekeeping.

The EMC concept, introduced in 2013, has won watchmaking’s most prestigious awards. To showcase its inner workings or the play of wheels and pinions that ensure its chronometric performance, the Swiss watch manufacture presents the TimeHunter X-Ray, a limited edition of 15 watches that delivers a conceptual and stylistic knockout.


“We have perfected one of the most reliable way of regulating a 100% mechanical watch by making mechanics intelligent,” explains watchmaker Felix Baumgartner, co-founder of Urwerk. The intelligence comes from the interactive dialogue that links the watch to its owner. “In the EMC TimeHunter we have conceived and developed a purposefully accurate movement with an unusual balance-wheel and twin mainspring barrels for a constant power output,” he adds.

“Our EMC TimeHunter relies on the mechanical movement that we have designed and built in our workshops; the function of the electronic module is to challenge its performance in real time and provide the most accurate information possible.”

The TimeHunter X-Ray comes across as a timepiece that is easy to read with a central dial for black hours and minutes hands coated with white SuperLuminova for enhanced contrast. A rotating disc showing the seconds at 1 o’clock is balanced at 7 o’clock by a power-reserve indicator. The EMC TimeHunter’s performance indicator showing its rate (± 15 seconds a day) and balance amplitude on demand are at 10 o’clock.

On the back of the watch the movement can be seen through the sapphire crystal. Also on the back is the rate- adjustment screw, one of the nerve centres of this watch. For Martin Frei, co-founder and artistic director of Urwerk “the back of the watch reveals two opposing worlds sharing the same case: electronic circuits and the finest mechanical movement. They invite you to find out more — specifically how this unusual timepiece works. The same goes for the face of the watch, for the TimeHunter X-Ray as its name says it, hides nothing. The mechanism, wheel-train, electronic circuits, indeed all the secret operations of the watch are displayed for its owner.”


How the TimeHunter X-Ray works
The energy for the electronic rating module is generated by turning a crank. When the button is pressed, a hand points to one of two symbols: δ (the rate is being measured) or P (insufficient energy). If the measurement is possible the hand first points to the rate — ± 15 seconds a day — and then, after a short pause, the amplitude of the balance. In addition, a light emitting diode shows green if the watch is performing correctly and red if the rate is outside acceptable tolerances.