The Swedish brand Gustafsson & Sjögren released a total of three new models for 2014, of which we will be sharing “just” two for now (read this article before complaining that we left one out!) As ever, Scandinavian mythology plays a big part in the inspiration of the new models. We’re going to have a close look at the Bifrost Isblå, an new model, and an updated version of the Midnight Sun.
The Isblå, meaning ice blue in Swedish, is part of the new Bifrost collection, which is the sacred bridge in Scandinavian mythology, symbolizing the crossing between the earthen realm and the realm of the gods. The ice blue Damascus steel dial is done in a mesmerizing pattern, almost reminiscent of going warp-speed on Starship Enterprise. A white gold index ring and hands complete it. The Bifrost Isblå features a central seconds hand, instead of the usual small seconds indicator. And yes, that means a different movement.
Bifrost Isblå is smaller, with a diameter of 42mm and measures just 9.5mm in height. Johan Gustafsson developed a new “high contrast” Damascus steel, showing more detail than ever before. The case is finished off with a Damascus steel crown in which has plenty of grip, even though the graining is very fine! Still just a prototype at the moment, it will be slightly updated left and right, giving the timepiece all the hallmarks that make up a GoS.
The movement of the Bifrost Isblå is a Soprod A10 automatic movement (the same as for instance Stepan Sarpaneva uses), decorated with circular Geneva stripes. The rotor, visible through the caseback for good reasons, is executed in Damascus steel. The rotor of the Bifrost Isblå in the photos, is not the newly developed high-contrast treated version yet, but that will be on production models and it will bring out the grains even more. The caseback will be satirized (instead of polished on this prototype) to match the new bezel. A change of strap can be expected since Patrik feels that the 22mm black nubuck strap might be too thick for the reduced size of the Bifrost Isblå.
A limited run of 25 models will complete the Bifrost Isblå series, with every model being numbered on the caseback. The ice-blue dial is just the first color; others will follow. Retail on the Bifrost Isblå is $12,600 excluding taxes.
The Midnight Sun, introduced last year, has been updated. The lugs, which were blank before, are engraved now with a mythical, serpent-like creature known as the Jörmungandr or Midgard serpent. According to Norwegian mythology, this sea serpent has been cast in the ocean surrounding Midgard, which is the world in Norse mythology. Jörmungandr grew so large, that he was able to stretch the circumference of the world and bite his own tail, like an ouroboros. Legend has it that the world will end when he lets go of his tail.
The background of the engraving will be done in gold, matching the dial and the engraved, openworked movement. The serpent is engraved by a master-engraver from Sweden in order to keep the Scandinavian theme going strong.
Having the chance to handle the watch ourselves reveals more details than one might notice at first glance. The “teeth” of the index ring for instance, are not angled down at certain degree, but slightly sloped to give it a concave look. The ring is also floating just a bit above the solid gold dial which creates shadows on it. The effects of the shadows, combined with the sunburst pattern, really make it shine like a miniature sun.
The see-through case back reveals the openworked and engraved ETA 6498 movement, Jochen Benzinger’s impressive contribution. The Midnight Sun is available for $18,500 (before tax).
Besides the Bifrost Isblå and the updated Midnight Sun, Gustafsson & Sjögren brought a third novelty to Baselworld: the Aurora. Available in a limited run of five pieces, we were granted a bit of time with number 1 of 5, prior to Baselworld. Keep a keen eye on Monochrome to learn more about this new iteration of Gustafsson & Sjögren when we publish our extensive review.