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  • Manufacturer: Derek Pratt for Urban Jürgensen
    Year: Circa 1982
    Case No: 19'002
    Material: 18K yellow gold
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 24"',21 jewels
    Dimensions: 62.5mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Urban Jürgensen fitted box, undated Certificate of Origin, outer packaging and a copy of "Watchmaker" by Derek Pratt and "The Urban Jürgensen Dynasty" by John M.R. Knudsen.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Derek Pratt is certainly one of the greatest watchmakers of the past 50 years, yet his name is only known to the happy few.

    A British horologist who spent the larger part of his professional career in Switzerland, Pratt was a contemporary of George Daniels with whom he had long telephone conversations each Sunday where each exchanged experiences and challenges faced in their respective pursuit of chronometry.

    Even though not officially recognized by Daniels, the latter consulted Pratt on many of his innovations and Pratt even made some components for him.

    Derek Pratt’s oeuvre however was never completed under his own name but that of the newly reborn Urban Jürgensen & Sönner brand as the latter’s technical director from 1982 to 2005.

    Urban Jürgensen was considered as one of the greatest watchmakers of the 19th century. Appointed to the court of Denmark, he established himself in Switzerland catering to monarchs, aristocrats and the greats of Europe. His name was abandoned in the early 20th century - even though workshops in Copenhagen were maintained all along- but brought back to life by watchmaker and entrepreneur Peter Baumberger, who first bought the name in 1979 and then the whole company in 1985.

    Pratt designed complications for Urban Jürgensen and even created the brand’s beautiful guilloché dials. However, his true passion laid in pocket watches and the pursuit of chronometry, a passion that materialized under the form of the sublime tourbillon pocket watches he made for the brand.

    It is believed that during his lifetime, Pratt made about a dozen tourbillon pocket watches, half of which featured a remontoire.

    The present tourbillon impresses on many different levels, not the least that it is completely handmade by Pratt himself, not only the movement but also the case and dial.

    The cream grainé silver dial features a recessed oversized seconds indication at 6 o’clock and a recessed power reserve indicator (36 hour power reserve) at 12 o’clock.

    Handmade, finely beveled, polished and blued steel hands complement the overall design.

    By pressing the button within the crown, the cuvette on the back is opened and reveals the breathtaking movement. The movement’s architecture- inspired by Abraham Louis Breguet’s marine chronometer gear trains – was conceived to showcase the large tourbillon cage on the lower part. Despite its size, Pratt achieved to make a very light and elegant cage with all surfaces finished to the highest standards. The large bimetallic balance wheel features amongst others 18 gold screws, Breguet overcoil hairspring, Geneva hairspring stud and perfectly polished pinions.

    Every component in this masterpiece, from the bridges to the tiniest of screws, involves manual labor, may it be adjusted tolerances, polishing, angling and so on. Pratt’s attention to detail is exemplified in the fact that even the underdial components that remain hidden are finished to the same standards.
    Whereas Pratt’s name was known until now only by the cognoscenti, with the increasing interest in independent watchmaking, it is time for his name to rightfully receive the high recognition it deserves as an incredibly talented watchmaker, scholar and horological historian.

    Pratt earned a number of awards throughout his lifetime including Freeman of England’s Worshipful Company of Clockmakers (1979), Liveryman of the society (1982), silver medal of British Horological Institute (1992), the MIH’s Prix Gaïa for artisanal creation (1999), and the Tompion gold medal of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers (2005).

193

A superbly crafted, rare and important yellow gold open face tourbillon pocketwatch with certificate of origin and presentation box.

Circa 1982
62.5mm Diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

Estimate
CHF100,000 - 150,000 
€93,700-141,000
$109,000-164,000

Sold for CHF176,400

Contact Specialist

Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Watches, Continental Europe and the Middle East Director
[email protected]

The Geneva Watch Auction: XIV

Geneva Auction 5 & 7 November 2021