Swedish watchmaker Patrik Sjögren and master blacksmith Johan Gustafsson are the men behind the brand GoS watches – short for Gustafsson & Sjögren. Renowned for the use of Damascus steel and themes inspired by Scandinavian landscape and folklore, the two-man show produces highly artisanal watches in highly limited editions. Earlier this year GoS introduced a model of its Sarek watch with a dial that glows in the dark thanks to coloured luminescent material that is painted directly on the mother-of-pearl. The latest model, the Skadi, is inspired by the eponymous Winter Goddess of Norse mythology and also glows an icy cold blue in the dark. A bold combination of red gold, black Damascus steel and blue sapphires, Gustafsson & Sjögren enlisted a little help from some friends for this project.
Metallurgy: a true Viking art
For the latest Skadi model, GoS decided that the moment was right to reintroduce Damascus steel on the hands and movement bridges – not just the case – straight from Gustaffson’s forge. The steel is similar to the black Damascus steel featured on the collaboration piece with Singer Reimagined unique for Only Watch 2019. GoS developed the black Damascus steel in 2018 realising that coating the natural grain of the steel with a black PVD substance could very well hide the patterns. To ensure the best quality and industry strength PVD coating, GoS contacted Ionbond in Sweden, a purveyor of industrial coatings. Following the application of the black coating, the elements were finely polished to reveal the organic, almost wood-like patterns of the metal.
The elaborate case, measuring 44.5mm in diameter and 10mm in height, is made from a variety of different metals. Blackened Damascus steel is used on the bezel and the hand-sculpted crown while the caseback, lugs and case ring are all hand-made from 18k red gold. For the Skadi watch, Gustafsson & Sjögren also invited master knifemaker, Anders Hedlund, to participate in the project. Regarded as the world’s best knifemaker, Hedlund has participated with GoS in the past and was in charge of the elaborate engraving work on the Sarek Trollius. His contribution can be seen in the graceful Viking knot engraving on both sides of the gold lugs and the Viking shield motifs engraved and filled with gold on the Damascus steel bridges of the movement.
Master goldsmith Peter deWit was also invited to participate in the Skadi project and was in charge of casting the gold parts for the case and set the blue sapphires for the indices as well as the larger sapphire nestled in the crown. Other design elements like the chapter ring set with sapphires is inspired by Viking bracelets and the crown resembles the hilt of a Viking sword.
Ice blue dial
Like the previous Sarek models, the dial of the Skadi is made from white mother-of-pearl. The nacre is coloured and backlit with Swiss Super-LumiNova to produce the magnetic blue glow it emits in the dark (dials are protected by an EU patent). According to GoS, the “icy blue glow has a close resemblance to the light reflections in a snowy landscape during a moonlit night”. According to Norse mythology, Skadi is a hunter goddess associated with skiing, winter and the mountains and hunting and is still used as a girl’s name in Sweden.
In keeping with the strong Viking tradition that marks GoS, the hands are spear-shaped and made from hand-forged Damascus steel with polished bevels. The small seconds counter, also crafted in Damascus steel, takes on the shape of a triple spiral motif at 6 o’clock representing the triple horn of Odin, also known as a triskelion.
Underneath the sapphire caseback is a Swiss manual ETA 6498 improved to chronometer-grade by Soprod with hours, minutes and small seconds at 6 o’clock and a 46-hour power reserve. The main modification is the ¾ bridge made from one solid piece of Gustaffson’s hand-forged Damascus steel and decorated with Viking shield motifs by Hedlund. The Viking motifs on the bridge are engraved by Hedlund and then filled with gold to provide a dramatic contrast with the dark Damascus steel. Patrik Sjögren is in charge of the finishings and etches the bridges a second time, reworks all the bevels for a final polish and then sets the jewels which, as he mentioned to Frank “is a bit more difficult than in normal bridge material”.
A wide variety of straps are available, from the traditional moose leather straps offered by GoS to other leather varieties. However, all watches come with a deployant buckle in 18k gold with a patented snap-lock mechanism.
The GoS Skadi is a limited-edition of 5 watches. The first unit should be available by mid-December 2019 and the retail price is USD 42,000 (not incl. taxes). The other four will be produced on order. For more information, please visit goswatches.com.