Jürgen Jürgensen was born in Copenhagen in 1745. After serving as an apprentice to Johan Jacob Lincke, he spent six years travelling around Europe as a journeyman from 1766 to 1772. Shortly after the birth of his son Urban in 1776, he moved to Le Locle in Switzerland to work with Jacques-Frédéric Houriet, thus laying the foundations for a Danish-Swiss connection that still exists nearly 240 years later.
After Larpent & Jürgensen started producing watches in Copenhagen in 1781, Urban Jürgensen followed in his father’s footsteps in 1797, travelling to Le Locle to work with Houriet. In the following years, he also studied with Breguet in Paris and Arnold in London. In 1804, Urban Jürgensen published his book “Regler for Tidens Noiagtige Afmaaling ved Uhre” [General principles concerning timekeeping by clocks and watches”].
Urban Jürgensen’s two sons, Jules Frederik and Louis Urban upheld the family tradition, Jules Frederik moving to Le Locle and the heart of the Swiss watchmaking landscape to set up the Jules Jürgensen brand, while Louis Urban managed the Urban Jürgensen factory in Copenhagen. Still today, the Urban Jürgensen brand maintains a presence in both countries. Urban Jürgensen started producing marine chronometers in 1810, later supplying the Danish Royal Navy and being admitted to the Royal Danish Academy of Science in 1815.
The two brothers did their father proud, earning between them a number of gold medals at major industrial exhibitions such as the Great Exhibition in London (1851) and the Industrial Exhibition in Copenhagen (1873). Jacques Alfred Jürgensen, son of Jules Frederik was the last watchmaker in the family and continued the tradition with gold medals at Chicago (1893) and Paris (1900).
Since the death of Jacques Alfred Jürgensen in 1912, the two branches of the family company continued to operate without interruption for the next 70 years, producing timepieces throughout the Art Deco period and, more recently, collaborating with the British master watchmaker Derek Pratt, who passed away in 2009. Swiss watchmaker Peter Baumberger acquired the Urban Jürgensen brand in 1985 and continued its tradition in high-end watchmaking with models such as the ref. 1 calendar chronograph and the Ref. 2 perpetual calendar. In parallel, the Jules Jürgensen brand had continued production and distribution in the US, also without interruption. Peter Baumberger died a year after the company presented its prototype P8 movement at Baselworld in 2009.
The ground-breaking UJS-P8 movement, the first to use a pivoted detent chronometer escapement, has since established the connection between the watches in the current collection and the brand’s heritage as a producer of chronometers and clocks in the 18th and 19th centuries. The innovation earned Urban Jürgensen recognition at the prestigious Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix.
After the death of Mr Baumberger, the company was acquired by renowned watch expert Dr Helmut Crott, who brought UJS and Jules Jürgensen under the same roof in 2012 when he acquired the trademark and trade designs for the Jules Jürgensen brand. Two years later, the reunified brand was returned to Danish ownership after over 30 years in foreign hands when it was acquired by a private investment group led by Soren Jenry Petersen, who is today the President and CEO of Urban Jürgensen.