This year, 2020, marks the tenth anniversary of the death of one of the greats of the modern watch industry, Peter Baumberger. Dr. Helmut Crott, his longtime friend and founder of the Dr. Crott auction house in Germany, recently sent me a tribute he had written for the occasion. But first I’d like to first take the opportunity to share an anecdote of my own regarding “Peter, the utter bastard,” as I will always (fondly) think of him.
Our panel members choose their winners in the Men’s category of the GPHG between the Czapek Genève 33 bis Quai des Bergues, Tudor’s Heritage Black Bay, the Hermès Slim d’Hermès Email, Chopard’s L.U.C XPS 1860, Urban Jürgensen’s Reference 2340, and the Grönefeld 1941 Remontoire.
Urban Jürgensen & Sønner has had quite an exciting twelve months: perhaps the most exciting of its 240-year history. In 2014 the brand’s Central Second took home the prize for Best Men’s Watch at the GPHG. Then we were astounded to already see the first results of new ownership: in just eleven weeks the new team managed to revamp the existing collection to present five “new” models at Baselworld 2015.
The modern history of Urban Jürgensen & Sønner (UJS) began with Peter Baumberger, who resuscitated the brand in 1981 along with a little help from some of his friends, such as Dr. Helmut Crott, Kari Voutilainen and Derek Pratt. The boutique brand has now returned to Danish hands.
You may be familiar with the old Christmas diddy “The Twelve Days Of Christmas.” Let me sing you the final verse of this song, including what my true love gave to me on the twelfth and final day, in horological terms…
Now we get to the real nitty-gritty at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève.: the Aiguille d’Or. There are no ifs, and or buts any more, just a decision on which of the 72 pre-selected watches is the best overall timepiece of the year. It is the most prestigious of the awards given.
Which could be our panel’s favorite to win? The Margot by Christophe Claret? Urwerk EMC? Perhaps the De Bethune DB29 Maxichrono Tourbillon? Or will it be something else entirely?
The complications are getting ever more difficult and chiming watches are really at the crossroads of art and craft. Pre-selected in the Striking category are the Hublot Classic Fusion Cathedral Tourbillon Minute Repeater, Claude Meylan La Répétition 5, Urban Jürgensen & Sønner Tourbillon Minute Repeater Regulator, Christophe Claret Soprano, Bulgari Ammiraglio Del Tempo, and Breguet Classique La Musicale.
Around 1995, the founder of the modern Urban Jürgensen & Sønner brand, Peter Baumberger (1940-2010), went into partnership with the then-independent movement manufacture Lémania to develop a minute repeater tourbillon movement. This project was finished in 2000; however, very few of these movements were ever made by Lémania, but Baumberger received three, each with different indications and finishes. One was a regulator.
Entering Mentink & Roest’s booth, one is not only immediately enchanted by the lovely chimes and ticks of timepieces that are hundreds of years old. Here at this booth planted squarely within The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF) held in Maastricht, Holland, the senses are also barraged by the conversations taking place among the various connoisseurs, collectors and dealers of these pieces, . . .
Introduced at Baselworld 2013, the stunning Urban Jürgensen ‘Montre Observatoire Enamel’ features the in-house UJS P8 caliber with pivoted detent escapement and an oven-fired enamel dial that will keep its pristine look for many generations. Creating the dial requires no less than 15 separate layers of enamel, each individually oven-fired, on a gold base dial.