Urban Jürgensen Jules Collection Ref 2340 WG featuring grainage dial
The Urban Jürgensen Jules Collection Ref 2340 WG features a grainage dial, gorgeous moon-phase display, power-reserve indicator, small seconds and date. In this instance, this new timepiece, launched earlier this year at Baselworld 2016, eschews the brand’s iconic teardrop lugs in favour of a ‘contemporary’ lug design.
Lachrymose case lugs have always been part of the design language of Urban Jürgensen. The teardrop lugs affixed to the three-part case of an Urban Jürgensen confer a very traditional aesthetic.
Earlier this year at Baselworld 2016, this usually conservative maison, renowned for crafting very traditional exemplars of haute horlogerie, took a bold step. It released its new Jules Collection, featuring two new references, the Ref 2240 RG and the Ref 2340 WG. Both these models exhibit a comparatively modern mien, although neither could be described as avant-garde.
A few weeks ago I wrote about the glorious Ref 2240 RG and waxed lyrical about its seemly form and subtly textured grainage dial. The case of the Ref 2340 WG shares the same 40mm diameter, three-part construction and contemporary lugs as its aforementioned sibling, the Ref 2240 RG. However, it features additional functions and is delivered in a tastefully restrained 18-carat white gold case.
The dial of the Ref 2340 WG has a softly spoken, grained surface, appearing slightly stippled in appearance. Its prepossessing appearance is muted in character and belies its protracted creation. The dial is solid silver and the numerals are Breguet style. At first glance it may appear that the numerals are painted onto the epidermis of the dial, but this is not the case. Each numeral is engraved and then inlaid with lacquer and allowed to dry. Thereafter, the excess lacquer is ground away with diamond-paper to leave a residue of black lacquer in the aforementioned engraved recesses.
‘Grainage’ seems like the horological equivalent of alchemy with some elements of the process shrouded in secrecy. A wet paste of silver, salt and other undisclosed ingredients are applied to the dial surface to form layers. Subsequently, an electrochemical process takes place resulting in a textured, pearl-effect appearance. The process of crafting an Urban Jürgensen dial is incredibly time-consuming, but the comely outcome justifies the immense effort expended.
The slender hands communicate time with precise diction. They are crafted by hand and, courtesy of their thermally blued creation, bestow a becoming appearance. The hour hand features a diamond polished gold eye which is held in position merely by the friction conferred with its exacting fit.
While this timepiece evinces a greater degree of modernity than Urban Jürgensen’s classically styled models, such as the acclaimed Ref 1142 C CS RG, it embraces one of the traditional functions synonymous with the maison, the moon phase. Urban Jürgensen create moon phase indications like no other brand. Indeed, no watch company can usurp the majesty of an Urban Jürgensen moon phase.
The moon phase, positioned at noon, consists of a mirror polished thermally blued steel disc. This hand made disc is inlaid with gold stars and features two solid gold, mirror polished moons which are ‘press-fitted’ into position. The beguiling result of this involved production process is a masterful play with depths, resulting in a sublime three-dimensional allure.
One overriding trait of the dial is that it is imbued with a seemly symmetry. The moon phase indication straddles a centre line which runs from noon to 6 o’clock. Beneath the moon phase, a power reserve indicator is presented. Its gait follows a semi-circular arc beneath the moon phase and reinforces the sense of symmetry.
Above 6 o’clock, a small seconds display follows the centre line and is an object lesson in lucid dialogue. The chapter ring encircling its form, marked with Arabic numerals each 10-second interval, together with the svelte small seconds hand, consummately articulate information. An aperture, positioned at 3 o’clock, reveals the date.
The 40mm case of the Ref 2340 WG, as the nomenclature implies, is formed of 18-carat white gold. While I adore the warm rose gold hue of the Ref 2240 RG, I particularly like the neutral, pure appearance of white gold. Indeed, the case of the Ref 2340 WG exhibits a discreet demeanour, gently interacting with the world with an endearing hushed tone.
Similar to the classically styled Urban Jürgensen models, the case of the Ref 2340 WG is constructed in three parts and includes a convex bezel. However, this is where the similarities end. Allowing one’s eyes to follow the curving line of the caseband, the continuous arc is interrupted by the lugs, projecting outwards at a perpendicular angle. Thereafter, the lugs adopt a swooping trajectory towards the strap. When contrasted with the Urban Jürgensen tear drop lugs, the design of the ‘contemporary lugs’ seem aptly named.
The contemporary lugs are faceted, causing the various surfaces to dance seductively with light. The measured quotient of modernity evinced with the lugs is repeated with the pin buckle which is delivered in a new contemporary design.
The hand-wound movement within the Ref 2340 WG shares much in common with the calibre within the Ref 2240 RG, save for the addition of the moon-phase indication, power-reserve indicator and small seconds display. The Urban Jürgensen P4 base movement is beautifully formed. The bridges are adorned with Côtes de Genève rayonnantes and are magnificently realised with each stripe superbly defined. The anglage is sublime with gleaming angles ubiquitously manifest.
Thermally blued screws are encircled with polished sinks and gold engraved text reaffirms that this is a movement constructed to the highest standards. The balance bridge is open-worked, allowing sight of much of the balance. The balance has a frequency of 21,600 vph (3Hz), the movement contains 31 jewels and the twin barrels collaborate to deliver 60 hours of autonomy.
When Urban Jürgensen use the term ‘contemporary’, it should be viewed in context. The Ref 2340 WG is not a neoteric, electronic gadget, but a fine example of mechanical horology which upholds centuries-old watchmaking methods and traditions. The dial is a paragon of legibility, practicality and, most notably, beauty. The surface of the grainage dial is fascinating to behold. The high quotient of hand craftsmanship employed in making each grainage dial results in no two dials looking the same, conferring the same individuality familiar to wearers of bespoke Savile Row suits.
The “Contemporary lugs” brim with style and grace. The profile of the case and its restrained scale delivers impressive levels of wearer comfort. The Urban Jürgensen P4 base movement features matchless finissage and the most beautiful layout. Personally, I am smitten with the design of the balance bridge, the near-unrestricted views of the balance wheel and the sight of large expanses of mainplate. This is a very handsome movement, guaranteed to please the most discerning purist.
I cannot hide my adoration for the Ref 2340 WG, it is incredible. By releasing this watch, Urban Jürgensen has enlarged its portfolio of models without losing the essence of what makes its timepieces magical. Moreover, I cannot help wondering what other new styles this maison will ultimately create. Based on the evidence of the Ref 2340 WG I suspect it will, once again, be a masterpiece par excellence.
By releasing the Jules Collection, Urban Jürgensen has provided would-be purchasers with greater choice. Whether you choose to select a timepiece equipped with teardrop lugs or prefer to shed tears and pick ‘Contemporary lugs’ you can be rest assured your Urban Jürgensen will be imbued with an array of exquisite details and crafted using age-old watchmaking techniques.
- Model: Urban Jürgensen Jules Collection Ref 2340 WG
- Case: 18-carat white gold; diameter 40.00 mm; water resistant to 3 bar (30 metres); sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
- Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; date; moon-phase indication; power-reserve indicator.
- Movement: Urban Jürgensen P4 base movement, hand-wound movement; frequency 21,600 vph (3 Hz); 31 jewels; power reserve 60 hours.
- Strap: Black leather strap, presented on an 18-carat white gold pin buckle.
- Price: CHF 43,100 excluding taxes (RRP as at 1.11.2016)