Urban Jürgensen: far more than just new workshops

Acquired in the spring of 2016 to accommodate the Urban Jürgensen headquarters and workshops, the mansion-style villa in the center of Biel/Bienne perfectly reflects the soul of the Danish-born brand. Neither too large nor too small, extremely elegant with its magical harmony between respect for ancestral traditions and contemporary comfort, this magnificent listed building embedded in the town’s historical heritage has been given a thorough facelift by an architect specializing in the renovation of listed monuments. Built in the 1920s and thus before the great depression of 1929, it radiates a sense of grandeur devoid of any excess. It stands on a plot of land dotted with trees and just large enough to plan an ornamental garden and parking spaces, set back from the road that crosses through Biel/Bienne. Its stone staircase leading to the stylish porch and reception area symbolizes the entry into a new dimension – that of Fine Watchmaking that has remained faithful to its artisan-type status.

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Inside this villa with its perfectly renovated woodwork giving it the delightful air of a five-star Swiss chalet, 600 square meters are spread across four levels. The finely sculpted inside glazed doors are matched with oak-inlayed floors, stucco ceilings and paneling craft work. The woodwork has been given renewed clarity and elegant texture by sanding it with baking soda, doubtless a nod to the famous grenage work on the dials. The various skillsets and departments have been logically spread out between the various floors, for example by locating the machinery generating the most noise and dirt on the basement level, with its excellent, dry conditions that are also suited to goods storage. Dial and hand production areas enjoy the natural light of the first two floors, along with watchmakers, assembly, logistics, component stocks, quality control and administration. The history of horology with a capital H and the Swiss-Danish signature touch are graphically illustrated in the ground floor museum room. Søren Petersen not only has various instruments and awards testifying to decades of horological creations, but also an astonishing vintage iconography testifying to various working methods.

urban jurgensenurban jurgensenA dozen or so staff members are currently at work on the premises, which can accommodate up to twice that many when production capacity so requires. The top floor is for example currently occupied only by the photo lab. Symbolically, Danishdesigned custom-made lamp hangs from top to bottom of the staircase connecting the three floors. This is a new address that matters in Biel/Bienne.

Read the entire article on worldtempus.com, as well as our interview with Søren Petersen.

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Brice Lechevalier is editor-in-chief of GMT and Skippers, which he co-founded in 2000 and 2001 respectively. He has also been CEO of WorldTempus since it joined the GMT Publishing stable, of which he is director and joint shareholder. In 2012 he created the Geneva Watch Tour, and he has been an advisor to the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève since 2011. Also closely involved in sailing, he has published the magazine of the Société Nautique de Genève since 2003, and was one of the founders of the SUI Sailing Awards in 2009 and the Concours d’Elégance for motor boats at the Cannes Yachting Festival in 2015.

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