EMC – for Electro Mechanical Control – is the world's first 100% mechanical, high precision watch enabling its owner to monitor the movement's timing rate. It also enables simple adjustment of the timing to suit the daily rhythm and lifestyle of its owner.
EMC's deconstructed ‘instrument panel’ dial consists of discrete, circular and crescent-shaped subdials contrasting against the sleek, black DLC-treated titanium and steel case.
The indication in the top left corner is a patented, precision performance indicator measuring instantaneous rate (delta or d) that displays if the movement is running fast or slow.
While EMC’s movement is 100% mechanical – designed, developed and crafted by URWERK – the brand has integrated into the movement a timing rate monitoring unit powered by a manual winding generator and super capacitor.
The monitoring unit comprises an optical sensor that captures the timing rate of a specially designed balance wheel; a micro-computer then compares that rate against an ultra-fast (16,000,000 Hz) reference oscillator to calculate the isochronism of the movement i.e. how regular its timing is.
Each microsecond difference is expressed as a gain or loss of a second per day of the timing rate, displayed on the precision indicator by pressing a caseband button. Fine-tuning of the rate can then be made using the adjustment screw on the caseback, which changes the active length of the balance spring.
“EMC is an ode to the mechanical watch and craft of the watchmaker,” explains Felix Baumgartner, master watchmaker and co-founder of URWERK. “The mechanical watch is a sensitive organism and the timing rate of its movement can fluctuate due to several factors. These changes of pace and performance can easily be detected by a watchmaker, a professional who is armed with the equipment necessary for testing the accuracy of the movement.
“However, it is rare for an amateur to have these tools. But with the EMC, an amateur can have them and is able to dive into the heart of their watch, to see it live and evolve. And we even give the owner a chance to interact with it by allowing them to adjust its timing rate to better suit their daily rhythm and pace of life.”
“A mechanical watch can reach stunning levels of chronometric performance in a perfect environment,” explains Martin Frei, URWERK co-founder and artistic director. “But only if it exists in its own little bubble, protected from external knocks, at a constant temperature.
“However, that is simply not practical. After all, a watch’s raison d’être is being on its owner’s wrist, about how its wearer interacts with it. So we looked at the problem counter-intuitively and gave the wearer – the very person responsible for disrupting its movement’s timing rate – the key to correcting it. It is man’s hand that perfects the mechanics and opens the doors to an infinite power of adaptation.”
EMC features a deconstructed dial with four separate indications. A clockwise tour of the displays, from top left, presents: on demand, precision indicator (instantaneous rate delta "d") ranging from -20 to + 20 seconds per day; seconds dial with counter-balanced seconds hand; hours and minutes; and 80-hour power reserve indicator. Turning EMC over reveals the fully in-house movement with the integrated circuit board – the EMC 'brain' – the top of one of the two mainspring barrels near the crown and the top of the balance wheel and optical sensor on the winding handle side.
EMC is inherently a precision mechanical watch with an in-house movement conceived, developed and crafted in the URWERK ateliers in Zurich and calibrated by URWERK in Geneva.
EMC’s movement is equipped with the following features: a bespoke balance wheel made of ARCAP, an alloy long admired by URWERK for its non-magnetic and anti-corrosion properties; two large mainspring barrels in series, mounted vertically on a single shaft; the timing adjustment screw, accessible on the back of the watch and allows the owner to make very fine adjustments to the balance rate regulator by changing the active length of the balance spring by turning a simple screw.
To monitor and evaluate the mechanical movement, an ‘electronic brain’ was then needed. The innovative EMC timing rate monitoring includes an optical sensor on the balance wheel; a 16,000,000-hertz electronic oscillator; an integrated circuit and a manual-winding generator.