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It’s the quiet ones you have to look out for.
If there are more unassuming executives in the watch industry than Kari Voutilainen, I am yet to meet them.
But Finland’s Mr Voutilainen has turned into a corporate deal-maker by snapping up Urban Jürgensen for an undisclosed sum.
The master watchmaker has been backed by a group of investors and will take immediate control as chief executive.
His daughter, Venla Voutilainen, is also joining the company as head of after sales service.
“I could not be more excited to be leading Urban Jürgensen, a company that is very important to me personally,” says Mr Voutilainen.
“I was very lucky to work at Urban Jürgensen early in my career and to learn from some of the great watchmakers of the 20th century. Now it’s time to take everything I’ve learned since then and to use it to reinvigorate the company. We plan – in full harmony with the brand’s core DNA – to bring Urban Jürgensen to its rightful place as one of the world’s most respected watch brands.”
Founded in Denmark in 1773 by Jørgen Jørgensen, Urban Jürgensen originally made a name for itself producing pocket watches.
The company only transitioned to making wrist watches in the last four decades, led by a group of watchmakers and connoisseurs, including Peter Baumberger, Derek Pratt, and Kari Voutilainen.
Fewer than 1,000 wristwatches have been produced by the brand to-date.
Plans are already underway for a 250th anniversary celebration for the brand in 2023 when it will relaunch with a completely new and expanded collection of watches.
These watches will draw design inspiration from past generations of Urban Jürgensen watches, while also featuring new ideas from the aesthetics to the mechanics of the watches.
Remarkably, the business has completely cleared the decks for these new watches in 2023 and will no longer manufacture its current models.
It will, however, provide after sales service for all Urban Jürgensen clients and watches.