MB&F and Urwerk team for experimental timepiece


Urwerk founders Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei have collaborated with MB&F partners Maximilian Busser and Serge Kriknoff and watch designer Eric Giroud to create an experimental timepiece called the ZR012, which utilizes a movement inspired by the Wankel engine.

The Urwerk founders worked with their constructor Cyrano Devanthey to develop and produce a movement based on the Wankel engine design, with Busser, Kriknoff and Giroud to design and produce the case for the watch.

Together the group – Baumgartner, Büsser, Frei and Kriknoff – have joined forces to experiment with concepts, ideas and creations, on a platform called C3H5N309, something they have dubbed “an experimental platform, not a luxury brand”.


The ZR012 features Wankel engine-inspired hour and minute indications in an asymmetrical zirconium case with articulated and compound lugs.

At first glance the time appears to be indicated by centrally rotating triangular rotors; however, the triangles are actually Releaux polygons; they rotate eccentrically rather than centrally and track complex epitrochroid curves rather than circles.

The system was inspired by the Wankel engine, which features orbital Releaux polygon rotors rather than the reciprocating pistons that power the majority of our cars and machines today.

The name C3H5N3O9 is both the molecular formula for nitroglycerine and a horological experiment.

A release from the group said: “Many of the most reactive and most exciting chemical reactions derive from combining seemingly innocuous ingredients.

“When Felix Baumgartner and Maximilian Büsser shared a pleasant lunch on a Geneva terrace in the summer of 2008, it started a horological chain reaction that four years later manifested as C3H5N3O9.”

The ZR012 has been made in a limited run of 12 pieces, crafted in zirconium. The hours and minutes are indicated by two Wankel engine-inspired Releaux polygon rotos.

The case measure 55mm by 44mm, and has 60 components including sapphire crystal glass. It is water resistant to 30m, has a brown calf skin strap and a titanium and white gold buckle.

The movement has 328 components, 42 jewels, is manual winding with a power reserve of 39 hours.



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