Interview with Søren Petersen

Søren Petersen - President & CEO Urban Jurgensen
Søren Petersen – President & CEO Urban Jürgensen

How did you become involved in the watch industry?

I became a collector during the 90’s, when I realized I needed a sober gentleman’s dress watch for evening use instead of my Rolex GMT II. I was looking for something truly special, and ended up buying the Urban Jürgensen Ref. 2 in yellow gold. Things developed from then on you could safely say!

Do you remember your first watch?

Yes, it was a Casio LCD watch. I did, however, go through a number of electronic-based watches until I got my dream watch in 1987—the Rolex GMT II.

What is the one watch you would never part with?

For obvious reasons, my Urban Jürgensen Ref. 2 has become more than just a prized watch. Becoming CEO and co-owner of the company almost 20 years after purchasing it surely means it will stay with me forever.

What is your most memorable experience with a timepiece?

It would be the launch of our Ref. 1741 PT Perpetual at Baselworld 2016. I am very proud of that piece.

What qualities define exceptional watch design?

I require a serene design that reflects the utility and purpose of a watch. When the “art” or “technology” use becomes too much they all tend to lose their balance. The classical definition of beauty must be upheld: “That with which nothing can be added or removed—but for the worse.”

Which watch brand has surprised you the most this year?

I have a lot of respect for the revival of the Tudor line. There, one senses purpose and heritage combined with deliberate decision making.

If you didn’t work for a watch company, which industry would you like to work in, and for which brand?

I have had the chance to work globally in high-tech at Nokia, solving real human challenges by creating wireless solutions, and now having taken the helm at a legendary old brand gives me a sense of humbleness before history. Industry could be many things, but the product must carry true quality and heritage and be an honest quality customer proposition. There are too many great brands to single out one.

What is the biggest challenge facing the watch industry today?

The fact that a mechanical movement is quickly becoming an obsolete solution, like a Kodak film roll. The industry will change dramatically and adapting to it requires skill sets and capabilities not usually found in the victim industry of such a paradigm shift. Massive restructuring and strategizing to retain the great business potential in true high-end crafted timepieces is what’s needed.

Who is currently the most influential person in watches?

Tim Cook. He decides and creates the biggest change drivers in the industry.

If your brand did not exist, which watch would you wear?

Uhh … this is difficult when you speak with a collector. Most likely a vintage Patek made prior to 1995, at the latest. I would, however, find it difficult to wear just one!