“Selling… selling… sold!” On Saturday May 12, applause broke out the successful sale of the Urwerk UR-110 RG watch at the Phillips, Bacs & Russo auction. Worn by Robert Downey Jr. in Spider-Man: Homecoming, this exceptional watch brought the hammer down at 150,000 Swiss francs, way above its top estimate. The money raised by the auction will benefit the actions of Manusodany organization, which mainly promotes literacy among children in Haiti.
Some watches will forever be remembered for their cameos on the silver screen. The Rolex Submariner is unmistakably known as James Bond’s watch. The Heuer Monaco remains associated with Steve McQueen and the film Le Mans to this day. Even the unusual Seiko chronograph worn by Sigourney Weaver in Aliens will go down as a movie icon.
Last year, another extraordinary and rare watch was seen by millions of viewers for the first time following its big screen debut. The Urwerk UR-110 RG worn by Downey in Spider-Man: Homecoming wasn’t just part of the actor’s wardrobe, it was one of the many gadgets used throughout the film by its characters, Tony Stark and Iron Man. A fan of Urwerk himself, Downey personally identified the UR- 110 RG as a perfect fit for the genius billionaire-turned-superhero, but the watch almost never made it to the set.
A few months before filming Spider-Man: Homecoming, Downey asked the film’s costume department to source a UR-110 rose gold – in the colors of Iron Man. Now this was a watch Tony Stack would wear the hell out of.
A call was placed to source a rose gold version for the duration of the film shoot but Urwerk originally turned down the studio’s offer, suspecting a prank call, or perhaps even worse, a project motivated by strictly commercial considerations.
Their positions changed quickly when they heard Downey had asked for the watch personally. Weeks later, the company’s press manager flew from Geneva to Pinewood Studios in Atlanta to hand-deliver a brand new UR-110 RG.
“It’s just one of those unexpected stories that make life such a thrill,” said Urwerk CEO, Felix Baumgartner. “With my team, we often give our watches nicknames. Blade Runner and Godzilla are both names we use internally for some of our watches but nothing really stuck to the UR-110 until we received this unbelievable proposition. Our UR-110 on the wrist of Tony Stark! A character that’s eccentric and passionate about science, and totally cool. That’s exactly the kind of person we wanted for this watch, but he’s the one who founds us!”
Downey wore the watch throughout the shooting of the film before returning it to Urwerk. The watch is featured regularly on Tony Stark’s wrist, and in one particular scene, is used as a functional gadget for Iron Man. The watchmaker was so pleased by the outcome of the project that it made a second, identical model in rose gold, and presented it to Downey.
Meanwhile, the actor and the watchmaker began discussing the fate of the Iron Man watch and eventually decided to give the public an opportunity to acquire the superhero’s watch, featured in one of the most popular movies of the past decade, to help raise funds for Manusodany, a non-profit organization involved in development projects for disadvantaged children in Haiti.