1 of 10 London Edition Urban Jürgensen Big 8
The subtlety of one color can make a watch. I feel, perhaps too strongly, that British racing green may in fact be the classiest hue to ever exist, full stop. This isn’t some childish James Bond Aston fascination or anglophilic pandering, no. On its own merits, the precise deep green with just a hint of teal which has become the racing color of her majesty’s motorsport is, to put it bluntly, perfection. But when that tone was paired with one of independent watchmakings most classically cutting-edge marques, magical things were bound to result.
Jürgensen’s Big 8, the watch which underpins this LE effort, is all about substance over style, sales, and just about everything else. Its philosophy is old-school Swiss, rather than ground-up indie; take a very competent off-the-shelf calibre in the form of a F. Piguet 1160, dress it to the nines, then focus an ungodly amount of effort on the minutia of all exterior components until the whole aesthetic sings. That 1160 is wrapped in a 40mm steel case. Its immensely beautiful teardrop lugs are each forged and hand polished before being carefully soldered to the stepped case. Then there are the observatoire-style hands (think Breguet handset without the ‘eye’ on the minute hand), which are a nod to past chronometer competitions. Moreover, the center of each hand is lathe-turned gold, as is the ‘eye’ of the hour hand. A traditional style of construction with modern proportions and design.
But this Big 8 is all about the dial, where that philosophy is even more defined. First, a solid silver blank was given a three-day PVD to create this tone. Then, days of hand applied guilloché work yielded the contrasting styles we see here: clous de Paris for the center, panier for the petite seconds. In addition, the name plaque and chapter rings are brushed silver. The Roman numerals on this LE have a slightly more rounded font than the regular production model, a more modern touch for modern London. Just 10 of these watches were created by UJ in collaboration with A Collected Man in 2020, where all proceeds went to Wellcome Trust’s COVID-Zero fund. This is the first I’ve seen to surface in the secondary market. While its aspirations are no longer charitable, it is a damn attractive bit of independent watchmaking whose initial motivation was undoubtedly pure of heart.
This example is exhibiting only light wear. Just hairlines on the steel extremities and that’s about it. Engravings are crispy like KFC. It comes with a full set from a well-regarded Singaporean retailer.
Find this ‘London Edition’ Big 8 here from D-Timepieces for 43000 USD.