Derek Pratt for Urban Jürgensen - The Geneva Watch Auction: XVIII Geneva Friday, November 3, 2023 | Phillips
  • Manufacturer: Derek Pratt for Urban Jürgensen
    Year: Circa 1985
    Case No: 3059
    Model Name: "Tourbillon Remontoire"
    Material: 18K yellow gold
    Calibre: Manual
    Dimensions: 62mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    The present tourbillon remontoir made by Pratt for Urban Jürgensen is most probably the epitome of his work: discreet, technically impressive and made with the highest degree of hand finish. It is made even more intriguing and rare by the fact that Pratt passed away before the watch was fully assembled, it was partly finished, assembled and regulated by none other than another incredibly gifted watchmaker revered by those in the know: Richard Daners, famous for his work in restoring and creating ultra-complicated timepieces, his specialty being the tourbillon.

    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 (based in Switzerland) 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, like the present example.

    A remontoire is a constant force mechanism used to provide an equal amount of energy disregarding the winding level of the mainspring, thus resulting in greater accuracy and amplitude.

    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 and polished 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 a 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.

    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).


A superbly crafted, rare and important yellow gold open face constant force tourbillon pocketwatch with power reserve

Circa 1985
62mm Diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

CHF120,000 - 240,000 

Sold for CHF203,200

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The Geneva Watch Auction: XVIII

Geneva Auction 3 - 4 November 2023