Thursday, January 17, 2008

Jules Jurgensen - A Time Piece Of History

The house of Jurgensen was established by Jorgen, a farm boy who had run away and showed great interest and talent for the intricate devices in clocks while apprenticed to a clock maker in Copenhagen. Jorgen continued his training in Locle with the famous horologist, J. F. Houriet with whom he set up a business relationship. Jorgen s son, Urban studied horology with his father and then spent time in Locle, Paris and London to perfect his skills. His company was paid by the royal Danish government to start the Danish marine chronometer industry. That involved even more trips to Switzerland, more precisely to Locle and Geneva. He married Sophie-Henriette Houriet, the daughter of J. F. Houriet, with whom he had two sons: Jules and Louis-Urban. Jules Jurgensen was born in Locle, Switzerland in 1808 while his father was studying jewelry. The family was settled in Copenhagen where Urban made timepieces and thermometers. Jules and Louis-Urban grew up in Copenhagen working at the bench as apprentices under their father s supervision. They were the third generation of this family to study horology. In 1835 Jules set himself making watches in Locle. In 1836 married Anastasie Lavalette, a young woman from a family in Geneva, also involved in watch making business. They had five children including two sons, Jules-Urban-Frederick and Jacques-Alfred who followed him in the craft and became renown in their own turn. In 1838, Jules took over his father s company and changed the name to Urban Jurgensen and Sons. He started the production of fine watches under different names: Copenhagen , Urban Jurgensen and Sonner and Jules Jurgensen, Copenhagen . The firm continued under family control until 1916 when David Golay bought the company from Jules s widow. Then, in 1925, the firm was sold out to E. Heuer in Bienne. During the depression, in 1936, demand for great watches shrunk to a mere trickle and the firm was sold to the New York house of Aisenstein-Woronock. Jules Jurgensen produced many fine, different, and fascinating watches. His most notable patent (1867) was the method of setting the hands of the watch by moving the bow forward or backward. He put guard rings on the bow so the clutch would not engage unless the front or back of the case was open. These became such a style feature that American case makers imitated them and sold Jurgensen style  cases with rings on the bows. Over the years, Jules Jurgensen watches have earned more than 32 international awards for design and quality workmanship. Any Danish watch collector should own at least one of these timepieces, because many of the watches carry the royal Danish crown. The author is a regular writer for and webmaster at Good Time Watches , a site that carry watches and ALLdigitALL Computers and Electronics , a computer and consumer electronics oriented web site.

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