Hands-on Urban Jürgensen Reference 1140 Champagne Dial, with Steel Case

The much-loved 1140 now with a superb champagne guilloché dial and a steel case!
calendar | ic_dehaze_black_24px By Brice Goulard | ic_query_builder_black_24px 4 minute read |
Urban Jürgensen Reference 1140 Champagne Dial Steel Case

At this point, you’re probably familiar with independent watchmaker Urban Jürgensen and its classic, superbly executed watches. In this instance, the Reference 1140, the brand’s cornerstone and signature piece, should be nothing new to you… Well, wait until you discover the latest version, a limited edition with a spectacular golden dial. Meet the Reference 1140 Champagne Dial, and yes, it comes with a stainless steel case.

Urban Jürgensen Reference 1140 Champagne Dial Steel Case

Background

Before we move onto this new Reference 1140 Champagne Dial, a few points to keep in mind – just in case the name Urban Jürgensen doesn’t ring a bell. Founded in Copenaghen in 1773 by Jürgen Jürgensen, the company is among the foremost watchmaking dynasties in history. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the Jürgensen family worked with legends like Jacques-Frédéric Houriet, Abraham-Louis Breguet and John Arnold to set standards for fine watchmaking that still apply today. Urban Jürgensen, first son of Jürgen, continued building the family’s brand. His book, Principes Généraux de l’Exacte Mesure du temps par les Horloges, is still a relevant reference for today’s watchmakers.

urban jurgensen hand-manufactured hands

Although headquartered in Biel/Bienne, Switzerland, the company is now again under Danish ownership with Soren Petersen (formerly with Nokia) as President and CEO. While many watchmakers on the indie scene have chosen the path of boldness and avantgarde, Urban Jürgensen remains one of the few traditional watchmakers with a focus on elegance and an obsession for the smallest details. For instance, the dials and hands are certainly amongst the most impressive and the most desirable of the industry, and all are done using traditional techniques such as guillochage or grenage.

Than brand comprises several collections, such as the “entry-level” Reference Big 8, the complex 1140C with Detent Escapement, the slightly modernized Reference 2140 and, more recently, the introduction of a steel sports watch, the One. Despite having more than one watch, all of them share common traits, with superb execution, precious materials and proprietary movements finished with great care.

The new Urban Jürgensen Reference 1140 Champagne Dial

This new piece isn’t entirely novel, as it is still based on the foundations of the Reference 1140. Until now, this watch was available only in precious metals, with guilloché dials – some with baton markers, some with Breguet Arabic numerals. Yellow gold, white gold, rose gold and even platinum were possible options, but this watch never made it in steel. Only the reference 1142, with a larger 42mm case, has been made in steel, under the name “the Alfred”.

Urban Jürgensen Reference 1140 Champagne Dial Steel Case

This new version, a limited edition, presents two main specificities. The first is, of course, the use of stainless steel for its 40mm case. Other than that, we find the same elegant design, with a 3-part entirely polished case. It also features the signature individually soldered teardrop lugs, which add great charm to the watch – and are a real pain to manufacture. Altogether, great proportions on the wrist and a discreet look with a twist of elegance.

Urban Jürgensen Reference 1140 Champagne Dial Steel Case

The second new aspect of this Urban Jürgensen Reference 1140 is its dial. It is, for the first time, presented in “champagne” colour – a light gold-plated dial if you prefer. While most of the other watchmakers tend to use rose gold or “salmon” these days, Urban Jürgensen remains a bit more traditional (or less fashionable) with the use of this yellow gold dial. The rest is familiar, with a central area decorated with a hand-guilloché wave pattern, a small seconds counter also with a hand-guilloché basket weave pattern, a circular brushed chapter ring and applied domed solid white gold Breguet Arabic numerals. Not only do these multiple areas and finishes give a great sense of depth to the watch but they also allow for clear legibility.

Urban Jürgensen Reference 1140 Champagne Dial Steel Case

The hands, which are made of blued steel, still feature the click mounted diamond polished eye on the tip. If you want to see exactly how Urban Jürgensen handcrafts its hands, check this in-depth article. Needless to say, the entire dial/hand combo is superbly executed and extremely attractive.

Urban Jürgensen Reference 1140 Champagne Dial Steel Case

Powering the Urban Jürgensen Reference 1140 is the proprietary calibre P4 – a large twin-barrel movement, manufactured by Jean-Francois Mojon of Chronode, exclusively for UJ. This hand-wound movement measures 32mm x 5.20mm. Beating at 21,600 vibrations per hour, the large balance is held in place under an openwork transversal bridge. The stop-seconds mechanism allows for precise time setting. The two barrels can store up to 72 hours of power reserve. The contours of the three bridges, with Geneva stripes radiating from the balance wheel, are highlighted with superb anglage. The full balance wheel bridge is openworked and features interior and exterior angles while holding in place a large balance wheel with adjustment screws. The screws are thermally blued and the jewel sinks and recesses are finely hand-polished.

Urban Jürgensen Reference 1140 Champagne Dial Steel Case

To give this steel version of the Urban Jürgensen Reference 1140 a more casual touch, the strap is made of suede leather in brown, with a steel pin buckle. The watch will be limited to 50 pieces and priced at CHF 22,680 (excl. VAT). More details at www.urbanjurgensen.com.

23 responses

  1. As an owner of another 1140L, I still fall in love with this beauty on the first sight!

  2. It’s a lot of money but a lot of watch. I cannot fault anything on this. Even the winding crown is perfectly-sized. Those lucky enough to afford and tasteful enough to buy it have my respect. This piece begs the question, “Why don’t The Big Three come out with new classics like this?”
    I can just imagine someone’s face at seeing this on a colleague’s wrist after shelling out for a Calatrava.

  3. Even those big brands finally have this kind of design, they still won’t execute it to this level.

  4. The Big Brands are too busy “consolidating market sector awareness” and planning advertising campaigns with actors to concentrate on watchmaking. Remember when one CEO declared”quality” to be the No.1 priority just after releasing a 200 grand watch with a wonky dial?
    (apologies if double post: my connection broke)

  5. Jurgensen’s 1140 range and Journe’s Chronometre Souverain pieces stand alone on a little plateau of quality and design for me, at pretty much the same price point, where nothing from any other brand tempts me.

  6. @Gil To be honest I just ordered another watch with almost the same price as my 1140L. It only took me two to three days to pull the trigger, which really surprised me 🙂

  7. I feel a little foolish commenting in this company. These pieces are well beyond my budget!

  8. @Chia-Ming – Wow, that’s a stunner. I take it you got a good deal? I still think your Jurgensen is unbeatable though. I’m aiming to sell my Breguet at some point and get the same RG brown one you’ve got (if it’s the classic baton marker one, not the arabic).

    @JAGOTW – Don’t be daft! Most of my favourite pieces from Voutilainen, De Bethune (and the more advanced Jurgensens) will never, ever be within my grasp, but I love talking about them. And I’d be disappointed if you didn’t comment on the same kind of pieces I like.

  9. @Gil. Thanks mate 🙂
    @Chia. A man of wealth and taste indeed! Mick Jagger’s got nothing on you.
    I have my own Eichi II “Homage”…from Citizen. Cost less than The Strap from the Credor, but it does me. I’m off to eat my bread and dripping now. :-S

  10. @Gil I would agree the Eichi doesn’t beat my 1140L(yes mine has baton indices), but believe me they have quite different characters and both are in the best-tier of elegant dress watches. In the past few months, I have had many chances to handle some of the best watches in this world(Philippe Dufour, Kari Voutilainen, Gronefeld, Lang&Heyne, Beat Haldimann, FPJ), but I have only been fascinated by Eichi so deeply.

    @JAGOTW You just never know how I breath air as my dinner lol.

  11. @Chia-Ming: “…both are in the best-tier of elegant dress watches.”

    Undoubtedly, especially considering the Eichi is often compared to Dufour’s ‘Simplicity’. You’ve conquered Denmark, and now Japan. If you could choose your next dream piece now, would you go Dutch or Finnish?

  12. @Gil I would go Finnish. But to be honest my dream watch regardless of anything is from Swiss – the Andreas Strehler Papillon d’or

  13. Yeah, I would go for Kari, too. I must admit I’ve never really looked at Strehler’s pieces that much (I know he’s a technical master, and I like his unusual case shapes), but that’s a gorgeous piece.

  14. I personally consider Laurent Ferrier to be the epitome of effortless class.

  15. @Gil The reason why I choose it is AS presents his unique aesthetics by mechanical structures, which is rarely seen in traditional haute horlogerie.

    @JAGOTW You remind me that I just checked a LF minute repeater yesterday 🙂
    It chimes with lovely tones and a just-right rhyme. Their other timepieces also deserve a look, but for me they won’t be my first and 2nd priority.

  16. @JAGOTW
    I’ve come to like Ferrier more over time. Still find his school piece Annual Calendars underwhelming, but his simple Galet Micro-Rotor 40mm selection is just sublime.
    My favourite is the red gold case with arabic numerals and an opaline dial that has this subtle light green colour that’s unlike anything else out there. I wish he’d trim the price a little bit, though.

  17. That’s a stunner. The fine, elongated roman markers combined with those hands – the guy knows his design. One of the things I really like about the Bridge One (although I don’t think the watch would suit me) is that it has similar long, thin markers. So few brands have markers as refined and…architecturally-inspired as that.

  18. I agree. Too few makers stick to classical proportions.

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