Urban Jürgensen: A flair for details

Urban-Jürgensen

1140 PT Blue
Case : 950 platinum, transparent sapphire crystal and caseback, water-resistant to 30m
Diameter : 40mm
Movement : mechanical manual-winding, Caliber P4, twin barrels, 72h power reserve ; hours, minutes, small seconds
Dial : blue-treated silver, hand-guilloché with barleycorn and checkered motif, white gold hands
Strap : blue alligator leather, platinum folding clasp

1140 RG Brown
Case : 18K rose gold, transparent sapphire crystal and caseback, water-resistant to 30m
Diameter : 40mm
Movement : mechanical manual-winding, Caliber P4, twin barrels, 72h power reserve ; hours, minutes, small seconds
Dial : chestnut browntreated silver, handguilloché with barleycorn and checkered motif, blued red gold hands
Strap : chestnut brown alligator leather, red gold folding clasp

Since 1773, time has ticked by at Urban Jürgensen in step with handcrafted artisanship dedicated to creating exceptional timepieces. The aesthetic maintained by this centuries-old brand is resolutely classic and applies to the making of its exclusive dials and the finishing of its movements. The latter are indeed all exclusive and display sophisticated mechanical properties on a par with the meticulous appearance of its timepieces.

Extreme care

Issued in a 30-piece limited edition, the new Reference 1140 PT Blue is entirely in tune with these guiding principles. Beneath its apparent simplicity lies a wealth of expertise. All the components of this watch are crafted in keeping with the noblest traditions, which implies taking time for time… The dial alone requires over 1,700 operations and no less than two full days of meticulous hand work on a guilloché lathe to create the barleycorn pattern, along with the checkered motif adorning the small seconds subdial. Urban Jürgensen 1140 PT blueThe dial is in one-piece solid fine silver that is treated to a velvet blue color that imbues it with a distinctive personality. The hands are also entirely handmade in white gold, and require infinite accuracy right the way through to the final polish. Inspired by the historical pocket-watches produced by the Maison, the large Arabic numerals call upon skills mastered by very few contemporary artisans. They are sculpted from white gold and expertly polished so as to give them a subtle yet perceptible sense of depth and impressive radiance. These elements are framed by a platinum case, to which Urban Jürgensen has applied its hallmark teardropshaped lugs that soften the curves of the 40mm case. The alligator strap is secured by a platinum folding clasp matching the case material.

Urban Jürgensen 1140 PT blueMechanical excellence

Beating inside the 110 PT Blue is UJ Caliber P4, a mechanical hand-wound movement based on a Swiss lever escapement and operating at the frequency of 21,600 vph. It is powered by twin barrels ensuring a 72-hour power reserve. The superlative level of decoration and finishing on this movement includes sunburst Geneva stripes radiating from the heart of the balance, while the bridge holding the balance is openworked to highlight this motif. The outlines of the other bridges feature hand-beveled and polished contours, while likewise beveled and polished blued screws coexist with jewels driven into countersunk mirror-polished holes.Urban Jürgensen 1140 RG Brown

Hot and cold

Reference 1140 also appears in an entirely different chromatic interpretation, with the cool gray and blue gleam of platinum replaced by the warmth of rose gold in the 1140 RG Brown. Also driven by the UJ Caliber P4, this model is distinguished by a dial on which the guilloché silver base plate has been treated so as to achieve a soft velvety shade of chestnut brown, teamed with an alligator leather strap in the same hue. The choice of retaining the original thermally blued hands creates an irresistibly refined contrast. The hand-fitted diamond-polished rose gold eye in the cut-out tip of the hours hand has earned it the French nickname “à pomme” (apple). Together with the rose gold center bushings, it perfectly matches and echoes that of the case.

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 best talent artisan-type status. 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 panelling 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 o Urban Jürgensenut 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 centuries of horological creations, but also an astonishing vintage iconography testifying to various working methods. A 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, Danish-designed 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.

More on Urban Jürgensen watch brand

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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