In a wonderful twist in events in time for the 250th anniversary of Urban Jürgensen in 2023, independent watchmaker Kari Voutilainen has acquired the brand with some investors and will be CEO effective immediately.
Press Release and commentary in italics.
This is superbly exciting news for Urban Jürgensen enthusiasts, especially hard core collectors, whose interest has been waning ever since the maison was acquired by Danish entrepreneur Søren Jenry Petersen in 2014. Petersen, whose career was with Nokia and Phillips had announced plans for a new collection in 2019, but in our view lacked the vision and understanding of the high end of the haute horlogerie market to bring the nearly 250 year old maison to the next level. The long history of Urban Jürgensn have had numerous high and low points, and we believe this is now on its way to the next big high.
We have been admirers of Urban Jürgensen for decades, since I have been friends with Derek Pratt, and Kari Voutilainen for years. Kari himself has been involved in the modern Urban Jürgensen while it was under the ownership of Peter Baumberger and worked on the development of the pivoted detent escapement of the Urban Jürgensen UJS-P8 used in the 1140C in 2015. This was the world’s first wristwatch with a chronometer escapement. A version of the pivoted detent escapement was also in his own piece unique tourbillon we covered here.
Kari is an outstanding watchmaker, and manager who has the vision and capability to take this grand old maison to the next level. We are very happy that he has taken this step. And will be very excited to see the new watches that will be revealed soon.
Urban Jürgensen acquired by Kari Voutilainen
Urban Jürgensen, the independent Swiss watchmaker, has been acquired by watchmaker Kari Voutilainen and a group of investors, with Voutilainen serving as the new CEO, effective immediately. One of the world’s most respected makers and designers of watches taking this leadership position represents an exciting moment for one of the world’s oldest continuously operating watch making businesses.
Founded in Denmark in 1773 by Jørgen Jørgensen, Urban Jürgensen originally made a name for itself producing exceptional pocket watches on commission from discerning clients around the world. The company only transitioned to making wrist watches in the last four decades, led by a group of legendary watchmakers and connoisseurs, including Peter Baumberger, Derek Pratt, and Kari Voutilainen. Fewer than 1,000 wristwatches have been produce d by the brand to-date.
“I could not be more excited to be leading Urban Jürgensen, a company that is very important to me personally,” says Voutilainen. “I was very lucky to work at Urban Jürgensen early in my career and to learn from some of the great watchmakers of the 20th century. Now it’s time to take everything I’ve learned since then and to use it to reinvigorate the company. We plan – in full harmony with the brand’s core DNA – to bring Urban Jürgensen to its rightful place as one of the world’s most respected watch brands.”
To celebrate the 250th anniversary of the brand in 2023, Urban Jürgensen will relaunch with a completely new and expanded collection of watches. These watches will draw design inspiration from past generations of Urban Jürgensen watches, while also featuring new ideas from the aesthetics to the mechanics of the watches.
Urban Jürgensen is now developing and producing the forthcoming collections, and is no longer making the old models. However, the company will continues to fully support after sales service for all Urban Jürgensen clients and watches. Venla Voutilainen is serving as Head of After Sales Service, working closely with her father to steward the brand into the next era of watchmaking history.