8 Swedish watch brands you need to know about
It’s not only the Swiss who can make a quality timepiece.Neil Churchill July 14, 2015
Sweden. A land of vast lakes, cosy cottages, undisturbed forests, rocky islands, reindeer herds, Viking folklore and other stereotypical imagery.
If you haven’t already, you should add stylish and contemporary horology to that list.
It’s not just the legendary Swiss watchmakers embedded in the hills outside of Geneva that know how to put together a timepiece. It turns out that the Swedes produce some pretty stunning watches of their own. Clean, uncomplicated and ever so slightly quirky; they ooze Swedish-ness.
If you’re in the market for a new watch and fancy a change from the Swiss norm, we highly recommend these eight brands:
The story goes: Filip Tysander, founder, was backpacking around the world when he met an intriguing British gentleman. Tysander admired the chap’s impeccable style and genteel nature, but more so his relaxed and unpretentious personality. The man wore a vintage Rolex watch but on a weathered NATO strap. The gentleman’s name, of course, was Daniel Wellington.
Tysander’s watch company has recreated that unusual pairing several times over, combining classic, thin faces with different coloured NATO straps. Each DW watch has an interchangeable strap and there are also several classic leather options available, allowing you to change your watch for different dress codes and environments.
We'd opt for one of the Grace models, which use a NATO and leather strap mix, or hold out for the new Dapper range with date finder and blue hands. All models use a Japanese Quartz movement. Visit danielwellington.com
Larsson & Jennings
Half-Swedish, half-English, Larsson & Jennings takes pride in having two home cities. The Anglo-Swedish label has a very strong British aesthetic, with typical Swedish minimalism etched throughout. Fusing classic and contemporary, this is STHLM meets LDN.
Most of the watches are unisex, although the three sizes act as direction for those unsure of wearing wrist candy that could be construed as feminine. The 40mm bracket houses a range of classic leather strap dress watches, a chain metal series and colourful nylon strap pieces. However, the 39mm is where we would recommend you look, particularly at the Saxon series and its sub dial pieces.
Despite their Anglo-Swedish nationality, the watches are actually Swiss Made. The 40mm pieces use a Ronda 762 Quartz movement, the 39mm a Swiss Ronda 6004.D and 714. Visit larssonandjennings.com
Always staying true to its full name, ‘Transform the Industry of Watches’, TRIWA’s timepieces scream contemporary design and Stockholm creativity. Few brands take the Swiss status symbol and turn it into a badge of individual style quite like TRIWA.
With ten different lines of watches, including a collaboration with Swedish fashion designer Erïk Bjerkesjö, TRIWA’s timepieces cover a whole range of styles, and an entire spectrum of colours – we recommend a chronograph from either the Lansen or Nevil collections. The company has also partnered with Google and designed faces exclusively for Android Wear.
All watches use a variant of the Citizen Miyota movement, but if we’re being honest, the buyer of a TRIWA watch is more concerned with how it looks rather than how it functions. Visit triwa.com
The company says it produces innovative lines that combine tradition and craftsmanship with modern manufacturing methods. But really, Epoch’s watches are classic and timeless, which of course is no bad thing at all.
Its Racing Chronographs line includes a brilliant Le Mans Edition timepiece, while its President Collection has grand sub dials and date finders on both leather and steel straps.
However, its Jubilee Gold line is where you will want to spend your money, its limited edition Armbandsur with matching pocket watch the pièce de résistance. All watches use a range of Quartz movements. Visit epoch.se
Looking at the images, it won’t surprise you that Pansar translates as ‘Armour’. A crossover of classic elegance and sporty function, Pansar watches are the brainchild of award-winning designer Patrik Palovaara.
Leaning on his background in industry design, Palovaara applied the same design methodology used in the automobile trade, placing an emphasis on proportions, geometric contours and dynamic character lines. The result is three lines of bold, crisp, attention-seeking timepieces.
The Supercharged line is a 44mm watch in black, brown and stainless steel, with sub dials and date finders galore. The Moonracer line is very similar, but the x1 Airborne is even more unusual, and where we would direct you to look.
The Airborne uses a Shiojiri Quartz, the other two lines a mix of Seiko and Miyota. Visit pansarsweden.com
Bravur’s executives are under no illusions. Formed in 2011, the company lives firmly in the present, in ‘the current and happening’, as they put it. The independent company has its watches made in Switzerland, but the designs are very much Swedish, focusing on art, fashion and general contemporary movements.
It has just two lines, BW001 and BW002, the first using numbers 1 to 12 around the dial, the second using Arabic numerals. All watches have date finders while straps are a mix of braided Perlon, nylon and Swedish or Italian leather. If we had our pick, we’d plump for the second series graphite dial with black Perlon strap. Visit bravurwatches.com
GoS (Gustafsson & Sjögren)
No one could ever accuse GoS of playing it safe. The unique metal watches are a sight to behold and are pure Marmite – you will either love them, or hate them.
Steeped in Scandinavian inspiration, the history of damascus steel – used by the Vikings to forge their famed swords – has been reinterpreted to create watch parts fit for a timepiece. Some components are left raw, juxtaposing with others finished in high gloss by classic Swiss watchmaking techniques.
All parts are finished by hand, resulting in highly exclusive and unique watches – given the nature of damascus steel, it is not possible to create two identical GoS pieces.
The unique steel also means that each line’s availability is limited, so if you see one you like, you need to move fast. Currently, GoS’s models take a Lapland theme, including Winter Nights, Midnight Sun, Aurora, Bifrost, and even a matching watch and knife set. Visit goswatches.com
One for the tech lovers. This is not quite a smart watch, but it certainly is a smart watch. What started as a school competition resulted in Mutewatch, a discreet wristband with a hidden screen that reveals a glowing display when activated by touch.
Swiping the Mutewatch’s screen accesses the three functions of clock, alarm and timer, with silent vibrations for the pre-set alarm. It has an automatic light-adaption screen, a motion detector to increase intensity of vibrations and a battery that can last for three to four days before needing a charge – a USB port is built into the adjustable leather strap. Visit mutewatch.com