The Jurgensen family name was once so well known within the world of watches that American pocket watch makers – think Elgin and Waltham – nicknamed a case design “the Jurgensen” in the late 19th century. The story of Jurgensen actually predates Jules himself. Stated on the dials of many vintage wristwatch offerings is “Est 1740,” harkening back to Jules’s grandfather, Jurgen, who, in 1740, founded a watchmaking firm in Denmark.
The history is a bit convoluted as the Jurgensen firm went through multiple iterations, marketing to varying customers as tastes and economic conditions changed. In the late 19th and early 20th century, the brand created ultra-high-end pocket watches rivaling the likes of Vacheron and Patek. Following Jules’s death, and the onset of the great depression, the brand changed hands a few times, including being owned by Heuer, before a New York-based firm acquired the name in 1936. Following this acquisition, the brand began to distance itself from manufacturing watches in-house opting to utilize “ebauche” or generic movements as well as third party case and dial makers. It is this generation that most interests vintage wristwatch collectors.
By using third party suppliers, Jules Jurgensen became more nimble in its design. Want to use a different case? Order a new batch from the case supplier. Don’t like the dial design? Redesign it and order a new batch. This simple advantage allowed the brand to follow trends more closely. Jules Jurgensen’s chronograph case and dial designs of the 1960s and 70s are perfect examples, always changing and always very of the era.
For auction is a stellar example of Jurgensen’s cutting edge design and utilization of the best available Swiss-made parts. The Valjoux 7733 movement comes from the height of ebauche chronograph movements and also used by Heuer, Hamilton, and Yema, just to name a few. Jules Jurgensen was not trying to reinvent the wheel during this era— the Valjoux 7733 was one of the best and a ton of brands were using it so Jurgensen followed suit.
Where this example sets itself apart is the dial and case design. This case shape is seen from brands such as Eberhard, Heuer, and LeCoultre and is extremely striking on the wrist. However, other executions miss the point of the case shape, trying to blend the 70’s funk with classic 60’s dial features. This Jurgensen does not mince words in its dial design, leaning fully into the funk with maroon features and early TV set shaped subdials. Worthy of note is the lack of luminous material on both the hands and the dial. While a bit unusual, many collectors prefer this as dials are not exposed to luminous patina and the watch can be worn without worry of damaging a lume plot.
The cushion-shaped case is preserved in excellent condition, appearing to be unpolished. This is most evident by the sharp lines at 12 and 6 o’clock as well as the original brushed finish.
The crystal and caseback are in similarly excellent condition with only a few light scratches on the crystal and none seen on the caseback. The caseback is a later replacement piece and is not original to the watch.
The Dial and Hands
The dial and hands are in good to great condition while appearing to be completely original. A flaw of note is light spotting on the brushed silver portions of the dial. The maroon accents remain visually striking in the metal.
This example’s handset appears to be original to this watch with all hands being of appropriate length and style. As noted previously, neither the dial nor the hands have lume which many times lead to gorgeous condition and preservation over the years.
The renown Valjoux 7733 is in good running order, keeping accurate time and all chronograph functions work as they should. Service history is unknown.
UPDATE: Please note that the original description listed the incorrect movement for this watch. The description has been updated with the correct information. Additionally, a note has been added regarding the non-originality of the case back.
|Location||New York City|
|Case Material||Stainless Steel|
|Band Material||Leather Strap|