Apart from the Cobra, the star at URWERK this year was the very anticipated "Tarantula". It was worth the wait. I don't cease to be amazed at the versatility of the 103. The options seem to be endless. The 103 is an incombustible machine. The Tarantula is stainless steel treated with AlTiN (Aluminium, Titanium, Nitride). This renders the Tarantula only second hardest after a diamond. The AlTiN finish gives it a mat shine that is different from their previous "BlackBird" versions that where blackened platinum. Both are unique and very different in feel and touch. The Tarantula is also considerably lighter than gold and platinum (obviously...) making it very comfortable to wear. The black effect makes it also look smaller, dramatically smaller than the precious metal versions. It feels like a sports watch despite it being initially a dress piece. In truth, it is so radically different from the classic 103s that getting a Tarantula, even if you already own a rose or white gold 103, does not pose any conflicts. Despite them being the same watch I would not be surprised if most buyers for this piece are already URWERK owners and have no plans to sell their current URWERKs (if they can afford to keep both that is...).
The new open top displays the function of the hour satellites to a maximum. Unlike the previous models the disks rotate several times before reaching the desired time. The classic 103s rotated the disks outside the field of view. The new frame on top of the satellites helps the owner to concentrate on the actual time. Understandable since with all in the top open it would be spectacular (especially at night) yet very confusing for a quick read. I initially feared that "because" of that frame the Luminova would not charge, yet this is unfounded. The Luminova charges to its fullest amount in 30 minutes with a normal light source and should last for over 48 hours. After one hour the intensity will have settled evenly amongst all Luminova indices. This means that after several hours into the night it will be of no consequence that all Luminova is charged or not at the same time. There is actually an upside to this new design. Luminova is perishable and the more you charge it the sooner it will loose performance and start to age. With this new frame you prevent unnecessary and prolonged exposure to direct sunlight.
Despite the Tarantula being one of my favorites this year I can't help but feel that it is time for the 103 to move on. It might be time to start setting the plans for a 104. Sometimes the best way to preserve the past is to look into the future. If there is interest to maintain the unique character on the 103 at a suitable heir would be needed. Too many versions end up confusing customers and stretching the possibilities of collectors. The Tarantula would be the perfect occasion for a transition to a new 100 series URWERK. There is no telling when and what is in URWERK's pipeline. What ever it is I have the feeling it will be more than just notable.