When it comes to measuring time, and watchmaking, we depend on our galaxy a great deal. The moon is perhaps the first celestial body that comes to mind, but there are more. One shining star in particular was used as far back as 2000 BC for tracking the passage of time. It is the predominant factor for life itself on earth: the Sun.
The “great ball of fire” has been the inspiration for the latest creation of Gustafsson & Sjögren: the Midnight Sun. The Scandinavian duo, Patrik Sjögren being the watchmaker and Johan Gustafsson the master bladesmith, are building five of these “bright” watches. Their solar inspiration seems fitting to the mostly Scandinavian-themed watches of GoS, especially when you consider the Lapland summers, where the sun never sets. These seasons of eternal light, named the Midnight Sun for obvious reasons, are periods when the sun is always visible. This natural phenomenon occurs within the northern and southern arctic circles, although it can be seen up to 90 miles outside of these areas depending on the weather.
To capture the full essence of the “golden light,” as the midnight sun is often referred to, GoS use a solid gold dial which is given a sun-ray effect. Several steps of radial finishing give it a rich and fine sunburst effect. The dial is completed with a damascus steel chapter ring, with triangular notches as hour markers. These markers give the golden dial quite an abstract depiction of the sun, almost the way one would draw as a child. (We covered the technique behind damascus steel here)
The dial is finished off with damascus steel hands shaped like swords. Hand shaped, polished, etched and beveled, the finishing of the watch hands brings out the fine damascus structure of the steel while also matching with the chapter ring. It gives it a rough appeal which is softened by the elegant glow of the golden dial. A shuriken at 6 o’clock features as a small seconds indicator.
In order to incorporate the Midnight Sun’s theme into the movement as well, Patrik and Johan decided to team up with an outside partner once again. The manual wound ETA 6498 movement, reworked by Soprod to comply with chronometer specifications, has been fully skeletonized and engraved by master watchmaker Jochen Benzinger (half of Grieb & Benzinger) The sunray inspired skeletonization resulted in a visually stunning movement, compared to the somewhat sober original. The blued mainplates, wheels and screws also feature some guilloche work by Mr. Benzinger.
The case of the Midnight Sun is once again constructed with stainless damascus steel, hand forged by master bladesmith Johan Gustafsson, and features a slightly larger bezel and caseback. The edges of the bezel and caseback have been polished to reflect a part of the damascus steel core. The bezel features a new damascus steel inset, showcasing the brand’s ever developing craftsmanship with this material. A damascus steel crown finishes off the look. The case measures 45mm in width, and 10mm in thickness.
The Midnight Sun is attached to a handmade black nubuck strap and comes in a handmade traditional birch wood box. Only five of these models will be made, and they are ready for pre-order only. The first version has been built and is currently touring the south-east of Asia. The price for the Gustafsson & Sjögren Midnight Sun is set at € 17.000,– (roughly $ 23,000 USD or 21.000 CHF). For more information about the model, or the brand, please go to their website or check out their Facebook-page.