Standing Out from the Crowd
Urban Jürgensen makes an impressive entrance into the steel sports watch category with the Jürgensen One.
Best known for making classic dress watches in precious metals, Urban Jürgensen brought its formidable horological know-how to bear on the modern sports watch last year to create the Jürgensen One collection.
In the short time since then, the Jürgensen One has become a breakout hit as it continues to win over watch aficionados around the world with its refreshing take on the steel sports watch. Søren Petersen, the President and CEO of Urban Jürgensen since 2014, says the impetus for the collection came from collectors.
“I can honestly say that the most-asked question of me since I started has been: ‘Do you have anything in steel?’ I would remind people that our Big 8 and Alfred both have steel cases, but it was clear that what they really wanted was a steel watch with a steel bracelet.”
Petersen says the repeated requests were a clarion call that he could not ignore. A few years ago, he began thinking about how Urban Jürgensen could find a way to stand out in the crowded and competitive world of luxury sports watches. “I’m a collector myself, and I have immense respect for the designs of Gerald Genta, who pioneered this category back in the 1970s. But I think it’s fair to say that nothing much has happened in the category since then,” he explained.
COMING FULL CIRCLE
With his sights set on disrupting that stasis, Petersen wrote a 10-page design brief to help shape the look and feel of the watch that would become the Jürgensen One. His concept included a list of must-haves that encompassed everything from form (recognizability) to function (water-resistance over 100 meters).
When he finished, he sent the brief to several colleagues for their feedback. Soon after, a designer replied with a drawing of overlapping ellipses and circles. Petersen said the sketch struck a chord with him and was the key that helped unlock the look of the Jürgensen One. “The idea was so pure that it gave us a solid DNA to build everything around,” he said.
The curvilinear form also ensured that the Jürgensen One would easily distinguish itself among its rivals. “The great cases from the 1970s all tend to be square or straight-lined in their approach. Our design, in contrast, is curves and circles,” he said.
Bringing that rounded shape to life, Petersen noted, was not a straightforward task. “You’ll notice that the lugs are not parallel; they taper to adapt to the shape of the integrated bracelet. This makes it more difficult to bring the case and bracelet together seamlessly. It also underlines the nature of the circular design and imbues the whole design with a certain fluidity that gives it an overall balance.”
DRESSED TO THRILL
The Jürgensen One’s semi-flexible bracelet and its 41mm case are both crafted from surgical-grade stainless steel, which is slightly harder and more corrosion-resistant than the steel used in many other sports watches. Special attention was given to the matte and shiny textures to underscore the case and bracelet’s cohesive look. That contrast is especially pronounced with the bracelet, where satin-brushed links provide a visual counterpoint to the mirror-polished, oval interlinks.
Petersen is quick to point out that those interlinks are actually double-shaped. “They’re oval on the front and square on the back. It’s an extremely complex shape that’s very hard to manufacture, but well worth the extra effort. These interlinks really signify something unique. It’s one of the things I’m most proud of with this collection,” he said.
The dial is another place where Urban Jürgensen harnesses the power of texture to give the watch its distinctive personality. Available in three colors — soft white, urban blue, and charcoal grey — each solid-silver dial is decorated with a grains d’orge guilloché pattern in the center. That section is surrounded by a chapter ring that features a frosty grenage-type finish and faceted hour markers inlaid with Super-LumiNova. Together, these elements give the dial a sporty edge without straying too far from Urban Jürgensen’s classical roots.
AN EYE FOR DETAIL
There are currently two models offered in the Jürgensen One collection. The first is Reference 5241, a three-hand version with a date window at 3 o’clock. The other is Reference 5541 GMT, which includes a 24-hour ring at 6 o’clock to display the home time zone. The pushers on the left side of the case move the central hour hand either forward or backward, making it a breeze to adjust your watch to the local time when traveling, included here is the exclusive date switch back and forth at midnight.
Both versions are presented in a case with a screw-down crown and are water-resistant to 120 meters. Inside, both models are powered by the Urban Jürgensen´s own automatic P5 movement. When fully wound, the double barrel caliber offers a 72-hour power reserve. A sapphire crystal caseback gives you a clear view of the hand-finished movement and its openworked winding rotor, which is adorned with the Urban Jürgensen logo.
When you consider how effortlessly the aesthetics and mechanics come together in the Jürgensen One, you can see how it differentiates itself from the crowded field of luxury sport watches. “I think it begins with the overall design,” Petersen said. “It’s a calm design, yet it has an edge. It’s classic, yet fairly modern. It’s elegant, but with a rather robust construction. Add to that the usual Urban Jürgensen details — surgical-grade stainless steel, riveted center canons for the hands and the movement’s hand-grade finishing — and you have quite a unique watch.”
To view our Urban Jürgensen collection online, click here.