Monochrome Watches
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Hands-On – The new Urban Jürgensen Jules Collection (and an introduction to the brand’s rich history)

calendar | ic_dehaze_black_24px By Xavier Markl | ic_query_builder_black_24px 7 min read |
Urban Jürgensen Jules Collection

If you’re not familiar with the brand Urban Jürgensen yet and if haute horlogerie is one of your main interests, you clearly need to read what we’ll expose to you. While having a huge respect to traditional watchmaking, with a proper elegant design, these watches boast a definitely fascinating mechanical content. With a delicate touch of modernity, Urban Jürgensen renew their concept and introduce to us their latest creation, the Jules collection. But first, an introduction to the brand and its rich past is required.

Background

The 18th century laid the groundwork for modern horology. A major scientific endeavor, chronometry (the quest for precision) became of utmost importance and was stimulated by academies and royal courts. Mudge, Graham, Harrison, Earnshaw, Emery or Arnold in England; Jaquet-Droz, Pouzait, Houriet or Berthoud in Switzerland. Breguet, Lepine, Moinet or Leroy in France – among others. This was an active period for great names of precision timekeeping.

It was at his time that in Copenhangen, Jürgen Jürgensen founded a horological dynasty that would have a significant influence on watchmaking in Denmark and Switzerland over decades. After learning the trade with Johan Jacob and Ephraim Lincke, Jürgen Jürgensen travelled to France, Germany and Switzerland to hone his skills. He worked with Houriet in Le Locle with whom he maintained lifelong friendship. Back in Copenhagen, he went into business with Isaac Larpent and was appointed watchmaker to the Danish court. His son Urban Jürgensen followed his footstep. Urban was sent abroad to discover the latest horological developments. He worked with Houriet, Breguet or Arnold and steered the Jürgensen name to new heights. Urban Jürgensen married one of the daughters of Houriet and brought several Swiss craftsmen to Copenhagen. King Frederick VI granted him Royal Appointment to supply the Danish court with watches and the Admiralty with chronometers.

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The Krusenstern pocket chronometer. This 1820 Urban Jürgensen gold pocket chronometer with Arnold spring detent escapement and fusée and chain was commissioned by the Danish King and offered to the Russian Baron Krusenstern. This watch was auctioned at the 2016 Antiquorum Geneva sale for an astonishing CHF 747’000. 

His two sons, Jules-Frederik and Louis Urban, continued the family horological tradition. While Louis remained in Copenhagen, Jules established in Le Locle, giving the family a base in Switzerland, where members of the Jürgensen family continued to be involved in the business until the death of Jacques Alfred Jürgensen in 1912 and then changed hands several times. Fast forward to 1979, a passionate watchmaker Peter Baumberger was granted the permission to sign watches Urban Jürgensen and Sonner (UJ&S) and later acquired the company in 1985. Together with Derek Pratt, he renewed the great horological tradition of the Swiss-Danish Maison. The duo presented watches notable for their simple, restrained elegance, crafted to perfection and immaculately finished. The development of the first wristwatch to be fit with a detent escapement was undertaken with the cooperation of Jean-François Mojon (Chronode) and was awarded 2014 Men watch of the year at the Grand Prix de l’Horlogerie de Genève. Sadly, Pratt and Baumberger passed away in 2009 and 2010. Dr. Helmut Crott, a long time friend of Baumberger (and founder of the eponymous auction house) took over the company.

During the 1990s, Soren J. Petersen, a Danish watch collector, got to learn more about the UJ&S as he bought one of their watches. When the opportunity to acquire the company arose a few years later, the challenge was too irresistible to pass. In 2014, he took control of the brand with the support of a group of investors and the ownership of UJ&S returned to Danish hands. Soren J. Petersen was appointed CEO with plans to build upon the brand’s time-honored legacy and the foundation laid by Peter Baumberger, Derek Pratt and Helmut Crott: expert craftsmanship fueled by an ethic of no-compromise.

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The new Urban Jürgensen Jules Collection

Named in tribute to the brand’s founder grandson Jules Jürgensen, the Jules collection adds a touch of modernity to the UJ&S offer, while remaining true to the pure, distinctive style of the brand. Two models were introduced at Baselworld 2016, the reference 2340 in white gold with moon phases, power reserve and date indication, and the reference 2240 in pink gold showing hours, minutes, seconds and the date.

The more contemporary flair of the Jules collection is brought by its case, extended with new winglet-style lugs replacing the tear-drop lugs of the 1745 collection. Well-thought-out, with slender lines, the 40mm Jules case features a thin convex bezel. It is a 3-piece construction with tapered lugs. The middle piece is stepped at the top and bottom creating rich play of lights; the fluted crown is well-proportioned and engraved with the Urban Jürgensen hallmark. The sapphire crystal is slightly domed and the case back is opened.

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Among the distinctive characteristics of the Jules collection, the dials are particularly striking with their beautiful “grené” finish and elegant hand-engraved lacquered Breguet numerals. ”Grenage” is a traditional, time-consuming finish that aims at obtaining a silvery, frosted surface with magnificent depth, shine and granularity. It is performed by hand from a single piece of solid silver. After engraving the numerals and other elements on the dial, the recesses are filled with lacquer. It is then painstakingly brushed to remove the excess of material and to finish its surface using powders, salts and oil, which makes each dial unique.

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Displaying elegance and simplicity, the dial of the reference 2240 is subtly patterned and its timeless character is underlined by Breguet numerals punctuating the course of time. The reference 2340 boasts a more original dial lay-out with the indication of the moonphase and power reserve at 12. The moonphase indicator is handcrafted from a thermally blued steel disc with mirror polish, solid gold stars and moons inlays. The large, well-proportioned small seconds at 6 gives perfect balance.

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The blued steel hands are manufactured in-house and designed in the characteristic Urban Jürgensen style, including a click-mounted diamond polished eye in rose or yellow gold for the hour hand. The arms of the hands are cut from selected steel and hand finished to perfect shape. Heating steel hands until a blue oxyde film appears is a rarified craft that requires expert hands. But their splendid blue hues and the contrast with the gold eye is indeed appealing.

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The reference 2240 and 2340 are powered by splendid hand-wound movements based on the UJ&S P4 proprietary movement. Developed with Chronode, the P4 movement shares the same architecture as the P8 movement but it features a conventional Swiss lever escapement instead of a pivoted detent escapement. This large movement (32.00mm) is a twin-barrel construction offering a 60-hour power reserve and running at 21’600 vibrations per hour. It features a stop seconds mechanism for precise adjustment. It is beautifully finished with Geneva stripes radiating from the balance wheel. The shape of the bridges is highlighted with meticulous anglage, specifically eye-catching on the magnificent open-worked cross-wide balance bridge. Jewels sinks and recesses are finely polished. Screws are thermally blued. During the delicate process performed with a flame, screws must be heated at a very precise temperature to obtain the right identical color. The click and its visible click spring is another notable eye-catching detail.urban-jurgensen-jules-collection-6

Both watches are worn on a hand-sewn alligator strap with pin buckle and an overall superb quality and smoothness.

Conclusion

Fine workmanship, meticulous attention to detail and the mastery of traditional crafts are evident with the new UJ&S Jules collection, a further demonstration of the brand’s ethic of no-compromise. It is sophisticated yet understated and elegant. If you are looking for an exclusive, refined, high-end dress watch, the reference 2240 is definitely an option worthy of your consideration, for a price of 23,100 Swiss Francs (not cheap, but justified). The magnificent reference 2340 displays a more assertive personality with remarkable technical refinement. At 43,100 Swiss Francs, this complication watch is not for every pocket but can be worn in confidence in front of the most rarefied gatherings of watch snobs. More details on www.urbanjurgensen.com.


Technical specifications of the Urban Jürgensen Jules Collection 

Jules collection 2340 WG

  • Case: 40mm diameter – 18k white gold – sapphire crystal on the front and on the back – 30m water resistant
  • Movement: Urban Jürgensen P4 base movement – manual winding – 60h power reserve – 21,600 vibrations/h – hours, minutes, date, moonphase and power reserve indications.
  • Strap: alligator leather strap on gold pin buckle
  • Price: 43,100 Swiss Francs

Jules collection 2240 RG

  • Case: 40mm diameter – 18k pink gold – sapphire crystal on the front and on the back – 30m water resistant
  • Movement: Urban Jürgensen P4 movement – manual winding – 60h power reserve – 21,600 vibrations/h – hours, minutes and seconds.
  • Strap: alligator leather strap on gold pin buckle
  • Price: 23,100 Swiss Francs

https://monochrome-watches.com/urban-jurgensen-jules-collection-review-price/

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