Urban Jürgensen “The Alfred”
Urban Jürgensen’s noteworthy return to the forefront of the watchmaking scene looks set to last, doubtless due as much to the remarkable quality of its contemporary watches as to the relevance of the range. For this new test bench dedicated to the brand, our interest and curiosity were stirred by the truly astonishing model christened “The Alfred”.
“The Alfred” is named after Jacques Alfred Jürgensen, representing the fourth generation of the famous watchmaking dynasty. It features the restrained classicism one has come to expect from the brand that offers this special edition in one version only, attired in a 42mm-diameter steel case. So no major surprises with regard to the distinctive design of this case, although it is worth pointing out the feat involved in the “teardrop” lugs that require even greater expertise than usual in shaping and soldering them, given that they are in stainless steel. As usual, the hands immediately draw the gaze and immediately testify to the superlative craftsmanship deployed on the watch as a whole. We had already described them in detail in our previous test bench devoted to the brand, and in this instance it was the dial of “The Alfred” that particularly appealed to us. The formula remains the same : a blend of simplicity and understatement expressed through impressively impeccable execution. The taupe-colored dial features splendid grenage (a form of frosting) and is graced with elegant Arabic numerals.
Caliber P4 is a hand-wound movement powered by two barrels maintaining the oscillations of the balance wheel at a frequency of 21,600 vph and ensuring a 72-hour (three-day) power reserve. As on the exterior, understated elegance meets superlative finishing. The structure and size make this a movement that inspires legitimate confidence with regard to its reliability and its precision timekeeping, even before conducting the first measurements. The double shoulder of the balance bridges enhances the visual equilibrium of the caliber as well as its symmetry, an impression accentuated by the radiating Côtes de Genève motif directed toward the center of the balance wheel.
However, the most remarkable aspect is undoubtedly the number of interior angles gracing the contours of the various bridges. Each is perfectly polished with clean-cut edges, a level of quality that the greatest names in Fine Watchmaking generally reserved for some of their most exclusive Grand Complication models.
As shown by the table, the results were excellent, particularly the closely clustered rates measured, as well as the very small loss of energy over the hours of operation. The winding mechanism features an ideal force/winding speed ratio and its click is a real pleasure to handle. “The Alfred” proves extremely pleasant and comfortable on the wrist.
Its understated classicism means “The Alfred” could well go unnoticed, yet it is in fact a watch that in its own way represents a solution for the future of watchmaking. The last decades have seen brands as a whole moving towards an extremely (excessively ?) complications-oriented approach to watchmaking, with an upscaling that is clearly one of the causes of the systemic crisis the sector is currently experiencing. To the point where Swiss watchmakers have abandoned a number of fundamental principles and appear to have forgotten how to produce affordable good-quality watches. In this respect, with a retail price below 15,000 euros, backed by a complimentary visit to the company workshops with each order, “The Alfred” possibly charts a salutary path for an industry that is tending to neglect its foundations. Because for this price you will get an authentic haute horlogerie model that can hold its head high among a number of far more pretentious contenders.