A deeply respected name in watchmaking, Urban Jurgensen traces its roots back as far as 1773. While the brand is filled with historical prestige and wonder, its modern counterpart arose in the late 1970s when the legendary Peter Baumberger was permitted to sign his watches as Jurgensen & Sonner, later going on to buy the brand in 1985 and developing it as we know today.
With its classical themes, rich traditional craftsmanship, and exquisite attention to detail, Urban Jurgensen has risen to the fore of independent watchmaking and stands proud as a watchmaker with genuine heritage and a distinctive design language. Speaking to that same design language, the Urban Jurgensen Big 8 London Edition was released in 2020 in collaboration with the London-based watch dealer, A Collected Man, with all profits being donated to the Wellcome Trust.
Made of stainless steel, the Big 8 London Edition swaps Urban Jurgensen Big 8's typical precious metal case design in lieu of a modern, and frankly, more desirable stainless steel construction. Featuring soldered-on teardrop lugs and a stunning stepped bezel design, the Big 8's 40mm round case speaks to Urban Jurgensen's classically vintage-inspired design language and aesthetic.
Perhaps the most striking aspect of its design, the Big 8 London Edition features a stunning British racing green dial made of solid silver and is home to a spectacular myriad of guilloche patterns applied the old-fashioned way, by a hand-operated rose machine. Full of character and authenticity, the Big 8 London Edition's Observatory style hands are artisanally heat-blued, turned, and polished by hand. Additionally, there is a hand-pressed gold ring at the tip of the steel hour hand for added legibility. With a silver chapter ring housing its black Roman numerals, the Big 8 London Edition's dial is a fascinating blend of colors, textures, and impeccable craftsmanship – all signatures of a high-end watchmaker that cares about their watches.
Powered by the Frederic Piguet cal. 1160, the Big 8 maintains an elegant 10.5mm thick case profile and a fantastic exhibition of fine watchmaking behind its sapphire crystal caseback. Featuring a 21-carat yellow gold winding rotor and high-end finishing throughout, this movement beats away at 28,800 beats per hour and 48 hours of power reserve.
One thing to point out, which I usually wouldn’t do, is just how fantastic Urban Jurgensen's packaging is. Usually, it is all about the watches but it must be said, that the brand has hit the mark when it comes to how they present their watches. With a beautifully finished inner wooden lacquer box that is reminiscent of the independent revolution of the ’90s (Think Dubuis, Roth, Journe, etc.) and an outer cardboard box with a beautiful ink splatter pattern accented by hints of gold leaf, everything from the color profile to the box size and materials used are just spot on. Modern watch packaging can get so boring and at times tacky- it is lovely to see that Urban Jurgensen cares where most others won’t. I’ll let the photos do the talking. Bravo.
Limited to just ten examples, the Big 8 London Edition is extremely rare. It sold out almost instantly upon release and it is unlikely you will see one for sale for a long time.