Urban Jürgensen in partnership its UK retailer A Collected Man has created the Big 8 ‘London Edition’ timepiece. Exclusively retailed through A Collected Man, this timepiece is distinguished by its custom-made, racing green dial, closed date aperture and stainless-steel case. It is limited to 10 pieces.
Its dial is executed in British racing green, which takes its name from the green international motor racing colour of the United Kingdom. The hand-finished, engine-turned guilloché dial requires up to 700 operations and two full days of hand craftsmanship to complete. Manufactured from one piece of solid silver, the racing green colour is added thanks to a 3-day colouring process through Physical Vapor Deposition (or PVD). The centre section of the dial is finished with a Clous de Paris pattern, instead of the more traditional guilloché usually found on the Big 8. This fine pattern creates a surface ‘shimmering’ effect, owing to a selection of carefully considered grain sizes and geometrical patterns.
In stark contrast to the dark green portions, the dial further features a circular brushed chapter ring, with Roman numerals and a pearled outer-minute track. The font of the Roman numerals has been updated to a curved, slightly more contemporary, design, concealing the 6’clock numeral completely. The small seconds indication is also executed in racing green, with a Guilloché Panier finishing applied. For the sake of simplicity, the date window (usually placed at within the subsidiary seconds at 6 o’clock) has been closed.
The handmade, solid white gold ‘Observatoire’ Urban Jürgensen hands are turned on a precision lathe, thermally blued (to Urban Jürgensen’s unique navy colour) and mirror-polished, with the arms of the hands carefully riveted in place, creating a unique visual effect reminiscent of early 18th and 19th century marine chronometers made by Urban Jürgensen. The “eye” of the hour hand is a solid gold insert, concentrically diamond polished and friction fit.
The Big 8 features a 40 mm stainless steel case and the brand’s distinctive teardrop lugs and convex bezel. Forged separately from the case, the classic teardrop lugs are carefully heat-treated, hand-polished and individually soldered into place using mid-century horological methods, with no visible soldering line.
The upgraded F. Piguet Caliber FP 1160 is expertly finished and elaborately hand-decorated, featuring a 21k gold Guilloché rotor, signed with the Urban Jürgensen crest. This automatically wound movement is adjusted to heat, cold, isochronism and 5 positions, with 31 working jewels.
The ‘Swiss Lever’ escapement design of the modified F. Piguet 1160 movement allows the balance wheel to be engaged with the mechanism only during the split-second it swings through its centre position, reducing overall friction and enabling far superior timekeeping ability. The FP 1160 movement is elegantly discrete, at 5.20mm x 32mm, with two barrels and a power-reserve of 48 hours.
A limited edition of 10 pieces, each of the brand new Big 8 ‘London Edition’ watches are numbered on the caseback, indicating their order in the production run. They all come as a complete set, with box and papers, and are fitted with a custom-made brown nubuck strap and an Urban Jürgensen stainless steel tang buckle.
A Collected Man will be donating all profits from the sale of these 10 pieces to Wellcome Trust, in their efforts to fund testing, treatment and vaccine development.