Soren Petersen took over as CEO of Urban Jürgensen in 2014, bringing the company back under Danish ownership for the first time in 30 years. Since taking the helm he has set about carefully modernising the company, while ensuring it stays true to its classical heritage.
What have been your priorities since you took over at Urban Jürgensen?
Soren Petersen: Urban Jürgensen has been making watches for 245 years. But for the last 30 years, before we took over, it had been run by Peter Baumberger and extraordinary watchmaker who had been creating handmade timepieces of the highest quality. While we will continue in the traditional vein, it is fair to say that we have set about recalibrating the company for the decades to come. This includes: streamlining the distribution and sales process, communicating the brand legacy story and promise, creating a sustainable product roadmap, and bringing on board an experienced management team, as well as hiring watchmakers. To coincide with our growth plans, finding a new Atelier that can house all activities has also been important.
What is the strategy for the next five years?
SP: Urban Jürgensen timepieces will remain at the absolute top end of the market. They are Atelier made, utilising the most traditional watchmaking techniques on key parts, such as hands, dials, moon disks, hand-finished bridges and cases. Trying to do everything on your own can compromise standards, so we have chosen an elite group of partners to secure only the very best individual components. In this way, we honour the timeless traditions of the watchmaking crafts that underpin the brand’s positioning at the top of the game.
In terms of product strategy, we are engaged in an ongoing process of expanding our collection, so we can cater to a slightly more diverse range of tastes than is currently the case. This is a very delicate balance, but as can be seen from our, 2015, 2016, and 2017 Baselworld launches, it is an exercise done with care and quality in the choices we make.
Our distribution strategy aims at building genuine partnerships with high-end retailers, that in many cases, are also several generations old. Timepieces like Urban Jürgensen require very skilled and knowledgeable retailers, which means we are looking for the right partners to share our commitment and passion for quality and handcraft, but can also see the opportunity in investing with us at the top end of the market. We have a brand history that speaks for itself – all the qualities of our products are there to be seen.
How has the company evolved since it has returned to Danish ownership?
SP: We acquired this venerable old company in November 2014, and since then we have been carefully evolving the collection of timepieces, developing new movements, and investing in a strategy to help the brand become more widely known. Urban Jürgensen is renowned for manufacturing Atelier made timepieces for collectors and connoisseurs. We will never be driven by marketing, but stay true to the core of creating handmade collector-grade timepieces for the discerning client.