Urban Jürgensen One GMT: A Reason to Travel...
In its first foray into the sport-watch category, Denmark's Urban Jürgensen has designed a new icon, says L.A. artist Wes Lang.
BY WES LANG PHOTOGRAPHY
BY JOYCE LEE October 17, 2019
This image may contain Wristwatch Photograph by Joyce Lee; Illustrations by Wes Lang I remember exactly where I was when I first saw this watch: jet-lagged out in a hotel in Berlin, scrolling through watch blogs. It was the opening hours of Baselworld, the annual fair in Basel, Switzerland, where many watch brands announce new releases, and so far the news had been lackluster. Then the Urban Jürgensen One GMT popped up on a few sites. I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since.
Urban Jürgensen is the last brand from which you'd expect to see a steel sport watch. Urban Jürgensen traces its origins to 1773, when the company was established in Denmark. It's been making dressy, ultra-high-end timepieces for longer than America has been a country. Then, in recent years, clients started asking for a steel sport watch. The result isn't a piece that will simply satisfy existing customers. The One GMT can actually go up against the Nautiluses and Royal Oaks of the world.
The One GMT was actually born outside the watch industry. A friend of the Urban Jürgensen CEO who specializes in UI design came up with the circular concept. It’s that smooth circular case that initially grabbed me—it's completely timeless and a nice change from the angular '70s designs that everybody wants in a sport watch right now. Even the lugs, which connect to the beautiful oval-link bracelet, have an elegant swoop to them.
I love everything about the face, too, from the deep blue dial—the wavy guilloche is a nod to Jürgensen’s history of making nautical timepieces for the Royal Danish Navy—to the classic Jürgensen round hour hand. (It is, I think, the coolest hour hand I've ever seen. It looks like you could skateboard inside it.) And the GMT function, the brand's first, is incredibly intuitive—just tap the pusher buttons to adjust the main dial. It's almost too easy to use, actually. I missed a meeting when I had one in front of me because I couldn't stop playing with it.
At close to $40,000, the One GMT will take a while to become a thing. Jürgensen is a small company, and the One GMT's run is tiny—so it won't immediately create a worldwide frenzy that could make it a status symbol on par with the Nautilus. But if you're only into watches that'll make people envious, this column might not be for you. I truly believe that the One GMT is a new classic and that it deserves its eventual place in the pantheon of great sport watches.
A version of this story originally appeared in the October 2019 issue with the title "A Reason to Travel...."