The Jürgensen name holds a special place in the rarefied world of Haute Horlogerie. This horological dynasty has had a significant influence on watchmaking in Denmark and Switzerland over centuries. Today, the brand headquartered in Biel, Switzerland has focused exclusively on distinctive dress watches building upon its time-honoured legacy characterized by expert craftsmanship and an ethic of no-compromise. But with the Jürgensen One, this is about to change.
When we learned that Soren Petersen (the CEO of Urban Jürgensen) and his team were working on a steel luxury sports watch, our ears pricked up. The luxury sports watch category has long been dominated by two icons: the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and the Patek Philippe Nautilus. And in this instance, the word icon is not overused as there is really something religious in the way collectors feel about these two watches.
In 1972, with the Royal Oak, Gérald Genta and Audemars Piguet defined a genre that has never seemed more relevant. The archetype is straightforward: match a sporty but clearly expensively-crafted steel watch with an integrated steel bracelet and an automatic, ultra-thin movement. Last but not least, the watch must be manufactured with punctilious attention to details. If most of the major Haute Horlogerie brands have designed models in the category – Vacheron Constantin Overseas, Girard-Perregaux Laureato, IWC Ingénieur, Piaget Polo, Cartier Santos, Bvlgari Octo, to name a few – few independent watchmakers have released luxury sports watches.
Expanding in the steel luxury sports category, Urban Jürgensen aims at addressing a younger clientele with the Jürgensen One, a perfect all-rounder that you can wear all day, every day.
With nothing of the sort existing in the brand’s rich archives, the challenge was to create something new, from a blank page, while respecting its DNA. Soren Petersen explains that his objective was to create a watch that would be “extremely pure in the origin of the fundamental concept… different from all comparable products… that would be recognizable 10 metres away … and still of pure Urban Jürgensen heritage”.
The Jürgensen One collection
The Jürgensen One is a modern steel watch that feels classic and modern at the same time. With no straight edges, the coherence and balance of the design are achieved by variations of circular shapes (as shown on the renderings used as background for the picture below). Thanks to the original oval-shaped central links, the steel bracelet has a distinctive character.
From a technical perspective, the 41mm case is a 7-piece construction with individually soldered lugs. In this respect, the finishing of the case, with satin-brushed and mirror-polished surfaces, is impressive. Urban Jürgensen opted for medical implant grade 1.4441 steel, offering increased corrosion-resistance, with a low level of nickel – about half the nickel content of 904L steel. Water-resistance is of 120 metres.
The dial of the Jürgensen One is manufactured as one piece and features facetted baton-style hour markers inlaid with luminescent material. The periphery of the dial features grenage while the centre part is slightly recessed and decorated with a wave-style grain d’orge (barleycorn) guilloché pattern. The hand-finished hands retain the Urban Jürgensen design elements and ambitious manufacturing standards with hand-rivetted centre canons. These are delicately openworked, slightly bent at their extremity, polished or thermally blued. The addition of Super-LumiNova provides excellent readability in low light.
For the GMT version of the Jürgensen One, the brand developed a specific movement (not just a module, the additional function is built-in) providing simple and intuitive use. It features a 24-hour sub-dial for the home time at 6 o’clock. Two pushers allow for the independent forward/backward correction of the central hour hand (local time) in one-hour increments. So, when you arrive at your destination, a few presses to adjust the time, (forward with the upper pusher, backward with the lower pusher) are all that is required. The home time is adjusted by the crown.
The bracelet of the Jürgensen One is worth a closer look. It is seamlessly integrated into the case and stands out with its distinctive oval-shaped central links. Such a bracelet is simply something you do not expect from a niche independent watchmaker. Manufacturing fine bracelets is complex and expensive specifically when you do not deal with certain quantities. Furthermore, the Jürgensen One bracelet is tapered, meaning that each link is uniquely shaped (except the last ones meant to be removed for adjustments). Like the case, it is fashioned out of medical grade 1.4441 steel. The oval middle link construction is highly complex and provides the desired flexibility.
Additional end links of different length allow the bracelet to be adjusted perfectly to the wrist. It is secured with a butterfly safety folding clasp. To release the buckle, both pushers have to be pressed simultaneously. Last but not least, the overall finishing – including surfaces and adjustments – of the case and bracelet is flawless.
The Jürgensen One collection uses a proprietary movement, the Urban Jürgensen P5, an automatic version of the brand’s P4. It comes in two different versions, the time-and-date and the GMT. Like the P4, the P5 is a large 32mm calibre. The screw-balance, which runs at 21,600 vibrations per hour, is secured under a transversal bridge to provide optimal stability. Its two barrels can store a healthy 72-hour power reserve. The stop seconds mechanism allows for precise adjustment.
The exhibition caseback provides ample evidence of the attention dedicated to its finishing. The bridges are finely chamfered and decorated with Geneva stripes radiating from the balance wheel. The screws are blued. The rotor is openworked with an Urban Jürgensen shield and a 22k gold outer winding section.
Designing a luxury sports watch is not an easy task and Urban Jürgensen can be proud of its achievement. Its first attempt, with the Jürgensen One collection, is elegant, subdued but striking at the same time. And as you’ve come to expect with the brand, meticulous attention to detail is evident throughout. It has a unique personality making it a seriously well-made and attractive option for those looking for a distinctive and exclusive luxury sports watch.
There are three dial variants for the time-and-date Ref. 5241: soft white, charcoal grey or Jürgensen blue. The GMT model Ref. 5541 comes with a blue dial only. Price for the Jürgensen One collection is CHF 24,500 for the time-and-date and CHF 33,500 for the GMT. Ref. 5241 will be available as of April 2019 and Ref. 5541 in May 2019. For more information, please visit www.urbanjurgensen.com.