Behind-the-Scenes – How Urban Jürgensen detail-obsessed watchmakers manufacture hands, turning raw material into works of art

By rolex
April 4, 2021
5 min read

The Swiss/Danish very good quality watch maker has quite recently disclosed its new “ateliers” in the focal point of Biel/Bienne. The brand was at that point settled in the city and it is currently situated in a wonderful 1920 chateau, which has been elegantly remodeled to give the ideal setting to its detail fixated experts. We accepted the open door of our new visit to their new home to investigate the manner in which they make hands. On the off chance that fine craftsmanship and a careful thoughtfulness regarding subtleties are clear with the brand’s watches , it is in any case spellbinding to see their watchmakers at work – in light of the fact that without question it is one of the last and not many spots where things are as yet made along these lines…

Every creation step is executed by hand, utilizing respected strategies and exceptionally old system. The careful cycle requires approximately 50 creation steps and one day of work for only one bunch of 3 hands (hours, minutes and seconds hand). This is a complex, tedious custom however the outcome is just stunning.

The creation measure begins by molding the hands – the shape is laser-cut from a steel strip. The harsh cut laser cut hands are reviewed individually as the watchmaker performs deburring work, eliminating by hand any burrs lefts by the cutting process.

The hands are then sanded on their sides and surfaces, before then being fixed onto a plate, on which sanding is performed with a pencil sanding machine. The hands are then flattened utilizing tweezers; an activity that will be rehashed in the middle of most creation steps.

The following advance comprises of reaming the hand openings to the specific measurement into the hand pipe (group) and a hand eye (a topsy-turvy gold supplement) will be fastened at a later stage.

After penetrating, the form of the openings is cautiously milled. The arms of the hands are then rounded on a granulating wheel. This sensitive activity should be done to give them a semi-round and hollow shape and acquire a totally uniform profile.

The arms are then calmly hand-polished to get an ideal gloss. This is played out a few times in progression, utilizing progressively fine grain precious stone paper, and afterward at long last with jewel paste.

The hand’s tips are then hand-polished in their turns. This is performed with grating paper as well, and afterward by scouring the hand tip on a zinc plate with rough glue, a particular method that permits to keep it consummately flat.

Cleaning is a pivotal arrangement venture for the dye of the hands. Just a fine cleaning and an ideal cleaning of the hand would permit the expert to accomplish a fine, standard dye. Any molecule contaminating the outside of the hand (dust, oil, and so on) can cause a lopsided dye. Cleaning is performed utilizing various showers in the machine envisioned below.

Hands are blued the customary route at Urban Jürgensen (thermally treated instead of artificially blued). Dye hands requires an exhaustive dominance of the cycle. Dye steel to a given tone must be accomplished by warming the metal to a particular point (around 300°). It isn’t just brightening, as it likewise makes a defensive oxide layer on the hand, leaving the part a lot harder and ensuring it against rust. At Urban Jürgensen, they target arriving at the haziest blue, before the shading blurs and afterward goes to grey.

Bluing is performed on top of an electric warmer which is considerably more viable than with a fire, the warmth being more normal on a level surface gratitude to an equivalent circulation of the temperature. The metal part onto the hotplate has patterns to guarantee that there will be no varieties in the blue tone across the hands: if essential, the watchmaker will move the hand onto these patterns if the dye is uneven.

Once the dye has been played out, the gold hand’s line can then be riveted, a careful errand requiring aptitude and precision.

For the hour hand, the gold “eye” is crashed into the hole effectively ready for it, and is held set up by the sheer precision of the fit.

Once fitted onto the hand, the line and eye are hand-polished to acquire an ideal sparkle. The activity is performed utilizing better and better grating. It should be performed with incredible accuracy to clean the gold parts without contacting their steel support.

Obviously, fabricating hands this way is a tedious cycle requiring incomparable skill however the outcome is genuinely tremendous. The excellence of parts created by hand, adorned by abilities went down through ages, and performed by gifted specialists can’t be equaled by modern cycles. Each piece becomes extraordinary, the endowment of flaw being credibility. This is the genuine sign of Haute Horlogerie.

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