"We have the faith and love in our art"
Jacques Alfred Jürgensen
Jacques Alfred Jürgensen
The Urban Jürgensen tradition goes as far back as 1745 when Jürgen Jürgensen was born in Copenhagen. The Jürgensen dynasty had a major influence on watchmaking in Denmark and Switzerland over centuries.
Jacques Alfred Jürgensen (1842-1912) was the second member of the fourth generation of the Jürgensen watchmakers and the second generation born in Switzerland. Born in Le Locle in 1842, he began to work in the family company at the age of 19, after being trained as a watchmaker.
Known for the quality of his work, he later set up his own company that was located under the same roof as the Jules Jürgensen Copenhagen company in Le Locle, producing watches under his own name or unsigned to third parties including to Tiffany & Co New York. He was the last watchmaker of the Jürgensen family to run the eponymous company.
Launched in 2017, the Alfred is the timepiece that Urban Jürgensen dedicated to this passionate watchmaker.
We had the pleasure to spend several days with this model and we are now glad to share with our readers our impressions.
The Alfred is an intriguing timepiece because it combines the excellence of centuries-old traditional watchmaking craftsmanship with a distinctive contemporary touch. The result is a wristwatch that will be at ease with an elegant suit just like with a causal fit.
When you first handle the Alfred, it is easy to be particularly attracted to the sculpted case where convex and concave surfaces alternate. Crafted from stainless steel, it is finely polished, thus creating a fascinating play of light and reflections.
The profile of the watch is simply beautiful and underlined by the slightly dome sapphire crystal. The recessed, fluted crown is engraved with the Urban Jürgensen & Sonner (UJS) logo.
The choice of the case material, stainless steel instead of a precious metal, and a larger diameter of 42 mm contribute to the modern touch that we were mentioning above and that makes the Alfred a truly versatile timepiece.
The thin concave bezel frames a precious “grenage” dial. This is a traditional technique that, starting from a single piece of solid silver and through a time-consuming process honed by hand, obtains a silvery, frosted surface with a granular finish.
The distinctive numerals and other inscriptions on the dial are engraved and the recesses are filled with lacquer. The dial is then brushed to remove the excess of material and to smooth its surface using powders, salts, and oil for a truly unique look.
The elegance of the dial, with small seconds at 6 o’clock, is enhanced by the beautiful hands, entirely handcrafted and finished with thermally blued steel arms and that mirror-polished, and slightly asymmetrical, eye of the hour hand, which gives the final touch. Consider that producing a single set of these hands requires at least 50 manufacturing steps and over a day of work!
We liked how the blue of the steel arms changes hue depending on the light of the environment. It is important to remark that the typical navy blue characterizing these hands is not obtained using a chemical treatment as many other brands do. Instead Urban Jürgensen achieves this result through thermal bluing, a delicate process which requires great experience. The arms are first polished until glossy, then heated to approximately 290°C making them change colour from grey to blue. Timing is of the essence to achieve the same uniform hue. The hands are thermally blued not only for their elegance but also because this way they guarantee much higher corrosion resistance.
The legibility of the dial is excellent so the current time can be read at first sight and with precision thanks to the outer "railtrack" minute circle.
Turning the watch unveils the beauty of the Urban Jürgensen Caliber P4 and its excellent finishes, in line with the highest haute horlogerie standards. Decorations include Geneva stripes radiating from the balance wheel and perlage. The full balance bridge is openwork and the contours of the bridges are underscored by hand-made chamfering. Jewel sinks and recesses are finely polished and the screws are thermally blued.
This hand-wound movement beats at a frequency of 3 Hz (21,600 vibrations per hour) and, thanks to its twin barrel, offers a comfortable power reserve of 72 hours. For improved reliability and resistance to shocks, the balance is firmly hold by a bridge with twin supports. The ‘Swiss Lever’ escapement is designed to reduce overall friction so enabling superior timekeeping ability.
The Caliber P4 also features a stop-seconds function which allows the movement to be stopped and synchronized to a time signal with absolute precision.
Another element that adds character to this timepiece is the brown calf leather strap with contrasting white stitches sewn by hand, in place of the more traditional alligator leather. The strap is secured to the wrist by a stainless steel pin buckle engraved with the brand name, making it easier to admire the back side of the watch and its beautiful movement.
The Alfred̓ is available for sale directly from Urban Jürgensen at a price of Euro 14,300 plus local taxes that we consider very appealing if you consider the outstanding level of quality, finishes and craftmanship involved in its production. With the Alfred, Urban Jürgensen made it easier to access the world of Haute Horlogerie. urbanjurgensen.com