Opinions on Urban Jurgensen
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  1. #1
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    Opinions on Urban Jurgensen

    I have been searching for a blue dial dress watch for some time and recently came across the Urban Jurgensen brand. I have searched this forum and online, but don’t find a lot of information from “real” owners about their experience with UJ. If anyone out there can share their thoughts about UJ and this piece in particular I would be thankful.

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  2. #2
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    Re: Opinions on Urban Jurgensen

    Did they copy Kari Voutilainen?


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    Re: Opinions on Urban Jurgensen

    Cayenne06...Hello!

    Here's a quick idea that may appeal to you: try to get a look at the movements of the watches you're interested in. There seem to be quite a few Brands that use mechanisms that are not all that well finished or unusual, yet are priced rather like the Major brands.

    In other words: once you spend some time looking at how various labels select their movements, you'll note that there are quite a few differences, and you may well acquire an ability to differentiate between a truly High Grade mechanism, and one that's simply Good, yet tucked beneath a Dial that's been advertised as belonging to a Company that wants to 'play in the Big Leagues', but actually may still be in the Minors...

    ...which is OK, but let's keep an eye on the costs, shall we?!
    toph likes this.

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    Re: Opinions on Urban Jurgensen

    Quote Originally Posted by murokello View Post
    Did they copy Kari Voutilainen?

    Actually Voutilainen worked for Jurgensen early in his career: https://www.hodinkee.com/articles/a-...ri-voutilainen

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    Re: Opinions on Urban Jurgensen

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Maddan View Post
    Cayenne06...Hello!

    Here's a quick idea that may appeal to you: try to get a look at the movements of the watches you're interested in. There seem to be quite a few Brands that use mechanisms that are not all that well finished or unusual, yet are priced rather like the Major brands.

    In other words: once you spend some time looking at how various labels select their movements, you'll note that there are quite a few differences, and you may well acquire an ability to differentiate between a truly High Grade mechanism, and one that's simply Good, yet tucked beneath a Dial that's been advertised as belonging to a Company that wants to 'play in the Big Leagues', but actually may still be in the Minors...

    ...which is OK, but let's keep an eye on the costs, shall we?!
    Excellent comments. I plan/hope to view this piece as well as an ALS Saxonia Automatic blue dial and a Breguet Classique 5177 blue on an up-coming trip to NYC. My budget does not allow for a Voutilainen, and I explored the Pateks and VCs but have not found a piece that stirs my emotions.

  7. #6
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    Re: Opinions on Urban Jurgensen

    I'll weigh in here as I own that same model UJS but in rose gold with a silver(ish) dial. I responded to a similar post on the Rolex Forums a few months back and what I said there still applies so I'll just copy/paste it. But first I wanted to address Michael Maddan's comments which seem to insinuate a lower level of movement quality for UJS than other brands. The movement finishing, and in some cases movement design, is NOT up to the same par as something like a Voutillainen, Akrivia, De Bethune, etc. But Michael's own post ends with the statement that we should look at the costs and the watch you are interested in is around $30k list price which is way below the cost of those other brands' offerings. If by "Major brands" we're talking about Patek and Lange, I would encourage you to check out one of their watches side by side with a UJS and be your own judge. To my eye, a $30k Patek doesn't hold a candle to a $30k UJS. UJS doesn't have the name recognition that is legitimately important to some people, but everyone needs to choose what factors matter to them. My highest factors include the finishing of the watch outside of the movement. I don't look at the movement on my wrist so I want great casework, a very well done dial, and killer hands. UJS has this in spades. Anyway, I'm happy to answer more questions or respond to PMs. Here is the response I posted on Rolex Forums earlier this year:

    I own an 1140L in rose gold so I can offer some feedback. There is a very large book (quite expensive, if you can find it) called The Jurgensen Dynasty: Four Centuries of Watchmaking in Two Countries. It was given to me as a gift when I purchased my watch. That book will give you the most comprehensive info you'll find about the history of Urban Jurgensen & Sonner. Some quick highlights... the company, although surprisingly unknown to the masses, has had some very interesting historical accomplishments and very illustrious watchmakers working there. In their current collection they offer a wristwatch with a detent escapement, something that has never been done before or since. Normally detent escapements were used in marine chronometers but never in a wristwatch due to the propensity for shocks to cause the balance to stop beating. This movement was developed when Peter Baumberger owned the company (he has since passed away). Kari Voutillainen also worked there in the 90s (maybe starting in the 80s?), as someone previously mentioned, and was involved in the development as well. I've lost count of the number of times I've seen people on the internet see a pic of a UJS and say it's a ripoff of a Voutillainen when in fact he developed his style working at UJS decades ago. The legendary watchmaker Derek Pratt also produced several designs and watches for UJS, and some of his initial designs helped plant the seed that eventually became the detent escapement movement. He and Kari also worked together to create an absolutely incredible oval pocket watch that I believe last sold for over $2m and is written about in several horological history books. I spoke to Kari briefly about his work on that watch when I met him in NYC last year. He spoke very fondly about it and said he spent over 4,000 hours working on it!

    You can find some of this info in a Quill and Pad article. I can't post a link but the article is called "Urban Jurgensen under new Danish Ownership."

    Suffice it to say, UJS is an extremely accomplished brand with an incredible pedigree. But the brand has changed hands several times over the years, including 3 times in recent years. Peter Baumberger bought the brand from a descendant, then he passed away unexpectedly in 2010 and Helmut Crott took over, then Danish investors led by current CEO Soren Jenry Petersen bought the company. That might be viewed as instability that could scare people away. But it seems to me that current CEO Petersen is interested in continuing the long tradition UJS has had in producing small quantities of exquisite timepieces with a fairly unique design aesthetic. Fit perfectly for what I was looking for and the quality of my 1140L is just phenomenal. I compared it to many other watches from other independents and large names and there was almost nothing that came close in terms of quality at the same price range. It's a total package, not just a pretty movement. Actually the movement is my least favorite part of the watch. But the casework, the lugs, the solid silver dial guilloche, the HANDS (!!!!). It's a serious watch.

    If you'd like more info, feel free to PM me. You can see some pics of mine in the high end forum on WUS with this same user name, or on my IG account (right_wrist). I've had mine for over a year and have never had a shred of regret on my purchasing decision. That said, I don't go around recommending UJS to everyone because it certainly isn't the right watch for most people. But if you know this is your style and the kind of watch you want to own, then I don't think you can go wrong from a design, quality, historical, or cost perspective. Good luck!
    Instagram: right_wrist

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    Re: Opinions on Urban Jurgensen

    Here's a pic, for good measure
    Churlish, WTSP, mlcor and 2 others like this.
    Instagram: right_wrist

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    Re: Opinions on Urban Jurgensen

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomente View Post
    Here's a pic, for good measure
    Thank you for your reply, and what a beautiful timepiece!! Your comments align with the perception I have after investigation, reading, etc. I think this will be further solidified after my visit to NY in a few weeks, where I will see both the UJS and Voutillainen in the wild and be able to compare them to ALS, VC and Patek. In all honesty I am much more comfortable spending $30k on a unique piece like the UJS, versus a VC or Patek, especially since I realize watches (for the most part) are not investments. The ROI is in the pleasure they bring the user.

  10. #9
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    Re: Opinions on Urban Jurgensen

    Quote Originally Posted by Cayenne06 View Post
    Thank you for your reply, and what a beautiful timepiece!! Your comments align with the perception I have after investigation, reading, etc. I think this will be further solidified after my visit to NY in a few weeks, where I will see both the UJS and Voutillainen in the wild and be able to compare them to ALS, VC and Patek. In all honesty I am much more comfortable spending $30k on a unique piece like the UJS, versus a VC or Patek, especially since I realize watches (for the most part) are not investments. The ROI is in the pleasure they bring the user.
    I think you've got the right attitude. If you know you're buying it for yourself, not for resale, you'll be more than happy. I bought my watch in the same store you'll be visiting, I'm guessing. It's a great place to hold up a lot of watches side by side. For me I was comparing mine to a rose gold ALS 1815 up/down. That's a killer watch, but when you consider they are practically the same price and then you hold them up side by side..... well, you'll see.
    Instagram: right_wrist

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    Re: Opinions on Urban Jurgensen

    If you are looking for an artisan piece that is special and unique then this will tick those boxes. I've had the privilege to hold some UJS pieces in the past and the movements may not be as sophisticated or technical as the likes of a Patek or AP but the case finishing quality is indistinguishingly as good as anything at any price point with something like this. The movements are hand made in small batches and you are buying a special piece with a story made by an artisan. THAT is why you buy this watch - not for a spec sheet comparison against something else on the internet.

    Resale is a whole other ballgame. If you can afford to splurge on a 30K watch because you love it and want something special to pass along to future generations then this is a fantastic choice. If you want a status symbol for the un anointed lay-person then this is not the watch. If you might need to sell quickly for cash then this is not the watch. If you are investing in personal gratification because you know it is special and you smile every time you see it or think about it then this is the watch.

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