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Exceptionally rare steel Urwerk prototype of the watch that launched the company. Created as one of only 2 prototypes this watch is numbered #1 (the only other known similarly numbered #2) to the reverse and was used for promotional sales of their white gold version. Produced with no serial number this watch was never intended for public sale. It is offered now, for the first time, as a unique opportunity for a collector to acquire a piece of Urwerk's history.
Case size 36 x 50 mm.
The watch has remained unworn since being used as a promotion prototype, as such it does have various minor scratches and has been intentionally left unpolished.
Independent watchmakers, certainly in the initial years, often work on a shoe-string budget when securing orders, and in 2003 Urwerk were no different. They had launched the new, somewhat revolutionary and highly popular 103 reference at Basel with great reviews and it was the model that really got people talking about the company. Intended for production in either white gold as the 103 e/w (engraved case white gold) or 103 e/r (engraved case rose gold) the model was only in production within this configuration from 2003 until 2005. The very last 103 was made as a unique piece and sold at Only Watch charity auction in 2011. Versions in steel were manufactured by Urwerk as prototypes numbered #1 and# 2 to show prospective retailers looking to represent Urwerk and the 103 reference what the white gold version would look like. Once the orders were placed these prototypes are usually returned to the company (as number 2 was) and either kept for historical purposes or re-cased and sold. Apparently in 2003 a retailer placed a significant order for the gold 103 version and Uwerk, at the time still an up and coming manufacturer, didn’t have the funds to purchase the gold required to fulfill the order, so the retailer agreed to loan the company the money. As a sign of appreciation from Urwerk, since the retailer had expressed a desire to purchase the steel prototype number one, Urwerk permitted the retailer to acquire it. This is exceptionally rare as manufactures, certainly in 2003, do not release prototypes, especially such a historically important prototype as the 103 #1; the 103 being the watch that really launched Urwerk as an independent manufacturer of creatively engineered luxury watches.