ust over six months ago at the Baselworld fair, Urban Jürgensen launched the One Collection, four new timepieces with a refreshing take on luxury stainless steel watch design. It’s a category that has seen very little real news since the defining design era of the 1970s, and that presented both an opportunity and a challenge for CEO Søren Jenry Petersen and his team: creating a collection that had something new to say while at the same time reflecting 245 years of legacy excellence, with the added pressure of designing the brand’s first GMT complication.
So how was the collection received by those three juries of the media, the retailers and the collectors? In the words of Petersen: “A success with all three audiences. We had good confidence that the collection would benefit from a strong positive response. I had worn one consistently during our testing and QA phase, and it never failed to generate powerful praise, be it from someone who knows Urban Jürgensen well or people new to the brand.” Clearly, launching a collection that meets with the approval of loyal brand partners and customers is key; however, in a competitive environment, having crossover appeal to new customers is vital, and here the One has triumphed.
Starting at Baselworld, the response from existing and prospective trade partners was high. As one new partner retailer in the USA for Urban Jürgensen put it: “The launch of the One Collection was just an added bonus for a brand with such unbelievable legacy, craftsmanship and quality of the product.” In other words, admirers of Urban Jürgensen have now become active partners thanks to the broadening of the collections from 1745, Jules and last year’s success, The Alfred.
That interest has translated into strong demand, and the atelier confirmed it had sold the entire 2019 allocation, with 2020 orders already beyond projections. But what of the media? Across the professional and high-quality watch industry magazines and websites, the feedback and analysis have been extremely favourable: “Welcome to the Hall of Fame”, “Urban Jürgensen has nailed it”, and “Truly iconic watch design” to list a few. Petersen travelled to London in October where he collected the Editors’ Choice award from the ‘Square Mile Watch Awards’.
In the citation, the editor Mark Hedly reflected the ambition to create something different:
“Rewriting the blueprint of how a sports watch looks and feel isn’t easy… but Urban Jürgensen has resisted (the) magnetic pull to create something altogether different in 2019. The sports watch is a timeless timepiece, but in the new Jurgensen One it has a fresh face that stands proudly apart from its forebears.”
Finally, how does Petersen feel about the last couple of years of design, perfection and now commercial success?
“We take nothing for granted. We knew that if we were going to enter a new category, we had to get it the right first time. It had to be done on our terms and based on our values and creative vision – as a team we could not be happier, and we are pleased the One Collection is being embraced so passionately by our clients and partners.”