Ultimate Cars, Watches & Hi Fi S03 ep10 : Helmut Crott, Urban Jurgensen Watches, [?????]
Interview with Helmut Crott
Urban Jürgensen & Sønner Copenhagen continues to produce complicated watches in classical styles as individual examples or in very small series. A group of eight highly qualified watchmakers, working in four different workshops, produce exclusively mechanical timekeepers.
Urban: I’m 40 years in the business for antique watches, collector’s watches and I run an auction
house in Germany for 20 years so today I am responsible for Urban Yurgensen which is for me one
of the great names in history of horology beside Breguet, beside Patek Phillipe, beside Vacheron,
Urban: Urban Jurgensen is in 18, about 1800, one of the leading watchmakers in the world
scientists who work together with Aurieu one of the fathers of Swiss horology, he worked with
Breguet and then he went to London to see Arnold and then he went to see Bertu and he was
always cooperating with the best in horology at his time, and then he was watchmaker of the King
of Denmark and of Danish admiralty and he was not only a watchmaker, he was a scientist. Alfred
Chapouille one of the big authors in horology, he said for him Urban Jurgensen is since Galileo
Galileo one of the great names of scientific horology.
Urban: I was a medical surgeon on orthopaedics and when I was 25 years old I bought a watch on a
trip to Edinburgh and I didn’t know what I was buying, I liked it, and I got very nervous because I
said maybe I bought something bullshit you know I don’t know what to do so I went all around and
I found out and bought a nice watch.
Urban: And then I bought a second one you know and then I opened up an auction house in
Germany for antiques, then after two or three years my antique business became bigger and bigger
and bigger and I decided to make an auction house in 1975, so an auction house and we sell
furniture everything but at that time I saw that with the general antiques there is a limit for me so I
have to specialise, I said I have to specialise and I said what do I specialise, I said oh I have this
nice watch, I like watches, I think that’s the thing.
Urban: Oswaldo, Sotheby’s, Christies and me, the first time I went on a show in America and I saw
Oswaldo, he already was in the business he was all a big shot and then there was a guy with a big,
big purse you know and I was a small young dealer and he said man you can’t keep a good man
Urban: Urban Jurgensen is one of the last names who existed since 1773 without interruption as a
watchmaker and as a watch company. Urban Jurgensen is based always in two places, in Le Locle
in Switzerland and in Denmark in Copenhagen. So they are Swiss made with Danish origin.
Urban: My friend Peter Baumberger he was a big collector of wonderful watches, the most
beautiful watches I got through him and we bought together in ’75.
Urban: They had a store in Copenhagen and a living museum ’79 and he bought the stock with the
museum and the tools and the rest of their production and then he, the trend, the company’s main
place is now Bienne
Urban: Peter Baumberger used to make beautiful watches but with Frederick Piguet movements in
the time, this was in 1979 absolutely wonderful and also Peter Baumberger wanted a movement
which is very strong, very robust, with a high precision, high finishing and everything so in 2003
he came to me and said Helmut I am making my own movement and I was very afraid because I
thought this cost a lot of money.
Urban: 2005, 2006 I came into the game and you know it’s like mush, like a fly, you know you got
the first step on the glue then you with the second and then you are lost.
Urban: We had this wonderful watchmaker, Mr Derek Pratt, which is a famous name in the watch
business, Peter Baumberger met Mr Mojon who is an engineer in IWC before and Mr Mojon was
responsible for the production of new models and new creations in IWC for seven years and 2005
Mr Mojon created his own company and Mr Baumberger and Urban Jurgensen were the first
clients, he made for example the Opus 10 and so this team, Derek Pratt, Peter Baumberger and Mr
Mojon they were the right people, they had the time, they had the knowledge, they had the passion
it was every day searching, calculating, simulating and then over seven years we arrived to the cost
at the Conovia testing the Brevet, it’s a worldwide patent.
Urban: You can imagine that the shock problem is the main problem for the detained escapement
and this was a challenge how to solve the problem of the shock and we got a patent mainly on the
shock palate we designed a supplementary palate on the balance staff who keeps the escapement
like in a bell so this was the solution.
Urban: Mr Baumberger was famous for his beautiful antique watches and Mr Baumberger he was
always a cryptic or mystery man, he gave me two tourbillons from Vacheron Constantine in one
day, wonderful pieces. And I was so happy because I reached the reserve price and I knew it was
sold. And I want to knock it down and then a little young lady, beautiful looking, she is sniffing up
the scent for $250,000 or something, I said my I never saw her, what should I do you know, I
cannot say no, so I knocked it down to her and then I went to Mr Baumberger after the sale I said
you see, I sold your watch and he was smiling and he said, no, no this was my girlfriend so he put
someone to buy it back you know.
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Helmut Crott, Urban Jurgensen Watches, ???