Swiss luxury watch maker Urban Jürgensen & Sønner unveils UJS Reference 11C SC, a new timepiece collection equipped with its state of the art P8 detent escapement. Introduced in 2012, it is the first detent escapement ever created for a wristwatch.
In a new variation of the extraordinary UJS-P8 detent escapement, the first detent escapement ever created for a wristwatch, the choice was made to renew and connect with the history, tradition, experience and pursuit of accuracy at Urban Jürgensen & Sønner, which has been at the heart of the brand’s existence since the 18th century.
The middle of the 18th saw the creation of highly accurate chronometer’s, whose first application was primarily as a navigational aid for the calculation of longitude that until than had been difficult to establish in a repeatable and accurate manner. Today, this origin of the central seconds or ‘sweep seconds’ hand has been largely forgotten, and it is seen merely as a delineator between sportive and dress styled watches.
The creation of the central seconds hand is a bit more complex than using an indirect seconds subdial, since additional gears are needed to transfer power through the cannon pinion to the seconds hand from the movement. Those watch lovers familiar with the concept of the detent escapement will immediately note the motion of the seconds hand in the new UJS reference 11C SC, which in this case jumps in increments of 1/3 second due to the nature of the detent escapement’s special construction. This same effect can also be noted in ship’s chronometers from the same period as the founding of Urban Jürgensen’s workshop.
In addition to the fine grand feu enamel dials, Urban Jürgensen & Sønner produce for a number of their timepieces; they are also masters of the art of the handmade guilloché dial. These are created – one by one – on an original, hand driven machine called a guilloche lathe, capable of creating many different types of patterns. These machines are quite rare because they have not been manufactured for a very long time, and many of such existing machines were lost or thrown away when the demand and taste for such dials diminished or when dial factories closed their doors. The specifics of Urban Jürgensen & Sonner hand engine turned dial surface shimmering effects precisely result from a selection of highly complex patterns. Urban Jürgensen & Sønner work with the greatest living masters of this art, each of whom has been trained by a previous, older expert, following a path of succession from one to the next generation of centuries past.
Greatly simplified, the guilloché lathe (also referred to as a rose engine) consists of a rotating head in which the dial blank is fixed across from a cutter that can move forward, backwards and sideways in microscopic increments. These movements are controlled by a system of cams with different ridge-like or waved shapes along their circumference.
Under the watchful eye of the dial maker, and turned by hand, these shapes control the pattern of moments that mark the contact between the cutter and the blank. Each dial requires several days of intensely concentrated effort to complete; one fractional millimeter of movement of the dial maker’s hand during this process will inevitably ruin the dial and require the dial to be started anew. When completed, the dial will undergo further surface treatment and tamponage for the marking out of the numerals, minute segments and other information on the dial’s face.
The UJS Reference 11C SC (Central Seconds) is available in gold(11 C SC 5N) and platinum(11 C SC PT) versions.
Introduced in 2011, the Urban Jürgensen & Sønner Reference P8 Chronometer (the world’s first watch series with detent escapement) models are available in manual winding and automatic versions.