Urban Jurgensen & Sonner is a Swiss revival (think Blancpain and J-C Biver) of a respected old Danish name that had been defunct for some time. Their contemporary annual production is quite small - well under 1000 pieces per year (I have heard variously 350-900 pieces)
They make quite a few parts in house, including their beautiful observatory hands, and the head master watchmaker is very well regarded. They use mostly F Piguet base movements, but tuned to the extreme, and in certain models, they add interesting complications.
This watch, number 1 of Ref 3, is different than the watch in the other pictures shown.
The dial is solid silver, not just silvered, and hand-guilloche'd. The "Observatory" style hands (as opposed to Breguet Pomme style) are manually worked from a solid finger of gold, not stamped, laser cut, or other mass production method. Both are produced "in house."
I normally am not a fan of romans, my favorite combination being either leaf and dot (UN; IWC Portugieser) or Pomme and Breguet arabics (the PP 3820 is my favorite implementation of this, with its tear drop lugs completing the package) Strangely, the romans on this piece seem to work. Also, tactile "balance" and "feel" is not something that can be conveyed in a photo, and I must say, this one just "feels right" to me (may not for everyone, btw)
Yes, the base movement is F Piguet, but the amount of hand tuning and finishing done truly delivers what most high mech connoisseurs are paying for, but seldom get. Derek Pratt is generally held in the highest regard as a Master Watchmaker.
He has a couple of unique pieces (PW) that incorporates a tourbillon with one second remontoir and dual mainspring barrel. This solves one of the issues with tourbillon amplitude stability problems. He also has a jumping second model, and a EOT model (though like the Breguet, not quite as sophisticated and exact as the AP EOT)
The plain back is indeed intriguing, and has drawn many, many comments.
This watch, interestingly, rivals my Panerai Ti/ss Limited Edition chrono for eliciting the most unsolicited comments from watch fans and the uninitiated alike, a surprising and interesting artifact (the Nomos Tangente comes in a distant second) With the UJ, this response reminds me of the person, not a celebrity, who enters a room, and though completely unknown, causes a momentary pause, and then an excited murmur, for un je ne sais quoi...simplement une calme presence.
The moon is very subtle - unlike the JLC's, there are not the small details like the flames of the corona or the etching of the moon surface, nor the charicatured features of the "Man in the Moon;" nor the intricate texturing and facial features of the new VC Malte Perpetual Chrono Moon. The layering of the moon is very subtle, but there is no question it is not flat, and frankly, the AP EOT moon or Lange moon are flat and dull in comparison. The base for the moon plate is a deep, lustrous blue, and provides a very romantic background for the golden moon. All of the previous are nearly impossible to capture "on camera."
There are some objections to the day/date windows "eating" the romans. One thought I had was that they should be moved inward, toward the center, to allow for complete numerals in the chapter ring. However, that would throw off other design element interactions, like the perfect alignment of the circumference of the Observatory hand "window" and tip to the corner and base line of the window "frame."
The whole somehow transcends any individual nits.
The tear drop lugs, especially the way they drop off, is unique and completely, irresistably sensuous, in my humble opinion, and one of the elements that immediately stuck in my mind since I first saw the piece a few months back. Of course, I am partial to tear drop lugs to begin with...
The case is surprisingly large for the style, though not vulgarly so, at 37mm wide (no lugs or crown) and 8 mm (!!!) thin, including slightly domed crystal. Again, a perfect size and shape for my bony, oddly-shaped 6 1/2" wrists.
A private pleasure indeed, and I am not sure how I feel about the unsolicited comments and attention, though they are admittedly of a much more respectful and civilized sort than the type of attention garnered by the Panerai.
Yes, it is a perpetual complete calendar, a specialty of UJ&S. There is no quick set (as far as I know) and I am still not sure about the leap year setting (no obvious indicator) but I am so smitten, I still don't care (yet).
Now if only I could find the time to do a REAL review...:-)
Can you tell I am quite enamoured of this watch?
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