”Time is money”, ”time flies when you’re having fun” – the list of sayings about the phenomenon time is long. A few Danish designers have succeeded in capturing time within the dial. We asked the go-to guy for high-end and all quality watches to help us put together a snappy guide.
He is Danish, and his name is Kristian Haagen. Sit back, relax and….take your time!
How do you recognize a Danish-designed wristwatch?
The classic, round design with an almost puritanic layout of the dial is a characteristic sign of the Danish-designed watch. Our approach to design, being very functional, is very often reflected in wristwatches designed in DK.
Which designers would you regard as iconic within Danish-designed watches?
Those that come immediately to mind: Arne Jacobsen and Henning Koppel for Georg Jensen are some of the most iconic designs. Many have tried to copy them but never with the same success. What´s interesting here is how architects not only mastered the seduction of the public while drawing buildings, furniture and crafted items – but were also able to interpret the importance of time and showcase this in the aesthetics of watches.
Which is your own favourite among Danish-designed watches and why?
I´m a big fan of the Henning Koppel designs. The strict approach to the layout of the dial, but with the unmistakable little dots that were his trademark, belongs right at top of my list of Danish-designed watches. That said, I´m also a fan of the young Danish brand Richardt Mejer, which bends and twists the conventional Scandinavan design and yet is a really good ambassador for Danish watch design. I especially dig their latest watch “Daily”, which is particularly successful due to their use of matt colours that breaks with the prevalent, puritanical rules.
A whole different ballgame, I would like to mention those crazy exciting watches made by REC. They started out by designing watches with faces coming from old Minis (the car). To follow up they produced a collection of watches with material from Mustangs and, in their latest collection, they are now presenting watches with dials from Porsches. Design wise they are not particularly Danish, but the success is something to watch and I´m very proud to experience a very young Danish company to be the author of something so creative and well designed.
For what reason would you by a Danish wristwatch?
The short answer would have to be nostalgia. But to elaborate a little bit, I would have to say that I´m a big fan of the simple design with a twist. A lot of Danish designers are good at removing all redundant details and sticking to functionality. The watches then fit nicely with the cutlery, which goes perfectly with the furniture, which then again perfectly suits the architecture. There is a red thread running through Danish design that I really admire.
That said, I would have to underline how the red thread needs a few surprises from time to time – like the one from REC.
Do you want to know more?
We located an awesome list at whichwatch.org with more than 20 Danish brands designing watches. Get more info below or check out the entire list.
REC Watches ApS was founded in 2014 by two petrolheads and watch aficionados, Christian Mygh and Jonathan Kamstrup. They wanted to combine their two passions into something affordable, interesting and different. The result was REC.
REC – which is short for Recover – Recycle – Reclaim – salvages classic cars and makes watches from the recycled materials. What’s even cooler is that each timepiece is completely unique. Although watches can be identical “under the hood”, they are different on the outside.
Linde Werdelin is one of those brands that aren’t entirely Danish. The two founders, Morten Linde and Jorn Werdelin, are Danish but the brand is headquartered in London, England, and the watches are manufactured in Switzerland.
Founded in 2002, Linde Werdelin makes two types of products; digital skiing and diving instruments, and mechanical high-end wristwatches.
Two series of watches currently exist in the line of products; Oktopus and Spido.
As a sign of the great quality and performance of Linde Werdelin watches, LW received the honor to create a custom watch for an elite military unit, the Danish Frogman Corps. Based on the Oktopus series, they developed a durable high-performance timepiece with a case made from titanium and ceramic (in the image below).
Only a select group of brands are good enough to be suitable for tactical and military tasks.
As a bonusinfo we can reveil that our watch-guru Kristian Haagen is about to break a new design for this brand
Off to something completely different. GPS sports watches.
Leikr – owned and operated by Acorn Projects ApS, a company based in Glostrup, Denmark – was launched in 2013 through a campaign on Kickstarter.
The team behind Leikr is comprised of people from the electronics and mobile phone industry with a passion for endurance training. They have created an advanced GPS sports watch (Leikr LKR-1) that is perfect to use when running, cycling, biking, or swimming.
The history of Ole Mathiesen started in 1845 when Carl Matthæi and J.P. Christensen founded a watch company in Copenhagen. The Mathiesen family acquired the company in 1919, and has since then been making high-quality timepieces in three generations.
Ole Mathiesen only makes one model, the Royal Marine. It’s an expensive men’s wristwatch with an automatic movement, sapphire crystal, and a black leather strap. A Royal Marine timepiece will cost you up to around $1500.
About Vintage ApS was started in 2014, and is now based in Frederiksberg, Denmark.
As the name implies, the analog wristwatches have a clean and very elegant vintage look. Straps are made from either leather or stainless steel mesh.
About Vintage exclusively makes automatic watches and quartz chronographs for men, and prices are somewhere around $350-$600.
Wristwatches bearing the Arne Jacobsen brand were produced and released in 1971 after the legendary architect and designer Arne Jacobsen had passed away. The iconic designs of the wristwatches were based on the clocks on Arne Jacobsen’s buildings. Simplistic and elegant.
Arne Jacobsen is owned by Copenhagen Watch Group A/S, but was until just recently owned by the Rosendahl Design Group.
Skagen Denmark is probably the most famous brand on the list.
It was founded in 1989 by husband and wife, Henrik and Charlotte Jorst. The goal was to create wristwatches that would bring their Danish ideals to the rest of the world – “purpose, honesty and simplicity”. The couple decided to name their company and brand after Denmarks northernmost village, Skagen.
In 2012, the Jorsts sold their company to the US-based Fossil Group Inc. Skagen Denmark is now a subsidiary of Fossil with current headquarters in Richardson, Texas. The European headquarter, however, is located in Albertslund, Denmark.
The Skagen watches have a clean and minimalist design, with prices ranging somewhere between $130 and $250.
Apart from wristwatches, Skagen also make jewelry, handbags and accessories.
The brand Bulbul Watches was founded in 2013 and was named after the nomadic bird Bulbul.
Bulbul makes minimalist wristwatches with a fresh and modern look.
They are currently selling three lines of wristwatches – Pebble, Facette, and Ore – and a fourth model, Oblong, is available on Kickstarter.
The first model that was launched was the asymmetric Bulbul Pebble
Urban Jürgensen is one of the oldest still active watch companies in the world. It was founded in Copenhagen in 1773 by Urban Jürgensen.
After a hundred years of a few non-Danish owners, Urban Jürgensen was acquired by a group of Danish investors in 2014 to once again make it a Danish watch brand.
The watches are made in Switzerland to a very high standard.