Urban Jürgensen A new headquarters for the historic brand
Urban Jürgensen opens a new chapter in its 240-year history as it moves into a restored villa in Biel that is the perfect embodiment of the brand’s spirit
One of the things that sets Urban Jürgensen apart from other watch brands, in addition to its 240 years of uninterrupted watchmaking history, is that it still puts the work of the craftsman’s hand at the centre of its thinking. As the brand moves into a new headquarters on the Route de Boujean in Bienne to allow for its future growth, things should be kept in perspective. Urban Jürgensen watches have always been, and will always be, very rare. Relying on age-old techniques such as hand bluing their watch hands and traditional engine turning of their dials, human resource requirements alone place severe restrictions on the volume of timepieces that the company can produce.
“Moving into a new headquarters was more a question of necessity,” Søren Jenry Petersen, CEO of Urban Jürgensen, explains. “The previous headquarters were entirely unsuited to the growth that Urban Jürgensen is currently experiencing. Our new home will provide not only our much cherished atelier, but also the additional space we need to accommodate production of our watches – all made with a level of handcrafted details found nowhere else in a single watch today.”
Entering the new headquarters of Urban Jürgensen, which WorldTempus had the chance to visit shortly after the renovation work was finished, is a bit like walking back through time. The large meeting room next to the entrance is filled with one of the most amazing watchmakers’ workbenches I have ever seen, made out of solid wood with small individual recesses where the watchmakers would work over a century ago. The building exudes history and heritage, with solid oak floors and stucco ceilings, and has been renovated with the same level of care and attention to detail with which an Urban Jürgensen timepiece is produced. All the original wood surfaces have been washed with a solution of baking soda to bring out their original light finish. The original stone stove at the entrance, which provided heat to all four floors via fireplaces on each floor, has been restored and kept at the entrance to offer visitors a genuinely warm welcome.
The new surroundings are also a chance for the brand to remind us of its joint Danish-Swiss roots and history, from original medals and awards decorating the walls, to designer Danish furniture complementing the solid-wood environment. But the move is also a chance to bring together under the same roof the different traditional crafts used by Urban Jürgensen, which will become vitally important as the company rolls out its innovative concierge service, which we will come back to soon in a separate article.