There is no doubt that whereas Switzerland is renowned for its pedigree in watchmaking, so Sweden conjures up images of cool, stark design, where products do exactly what they were created to do, but without much in the way of fuss or over the top decorative flim-flammery. Bearing these two thoughts in mind, and even though it might not be immediately apparent, one can envisage a connection between these two countries and the values for which they are best renowned. And it’s not the cold, snowy winters you might first think of.
Let us momentarily step back to 1986 and the Swedish city of Stockholm, when two young Swedish engineers, Christer Sjöö and Mikael Sandström, who shared a passion for quality timepieces decided to put their skills to work in designing their own collection of watches, reflecting the influences which surrounded them and those which inspired them, and so the seeds of their little watch company Sjöö Sandström were sown.
Fast forward almost thirty years and to see what Sjöö Sandström are doing today. Well, what they are doing is, in typical Swedish fashion, good. So good in fact that their latest piece, the Sjöö Sandström Royal Capital can boast not only beautiful, elegant yet simplistic Swedish styling, but also watchmaking from one of the most respected Swiss manufactures.
The Sjöö Sandström Royal Capital has been designed and manufactured by hand in the company’s Swedish centre of operations, and at first glance it is not particularly exciting – but that is not a negative, because it is a very attractive piece, and even saying that, the beauty here is a lot more than skin-deep. It is simply devoid of superfluous external frills, but fully in keeping with svelte Scandinavian minimalist design. It wasn’t made to be exciting.
The round case measures a universally agreeable 40mm across, and is available in a choice between polished stainless steel, with grey, silver or black dials, or 18Kt pink gold with ivory coloured dial. Its flat topped bezel has been brushed in both metal options to provide an eyecatching contrast against the sheen of the rest of the case. It is fitted with sapphire crystals to the front and the rear, and the dials have been finished with applied baton hour indices and straight-edged steel or gold hands. Not even lume has been allowed to dilute the effect of the dials and it works well without it. A circular grained subdial houses the small seconds at the 6 o’clock position.
The materials used and the quality of the finish are uncompromisingly high, one of the characteristics of the Sjöö Sandström company, but there is one other striking feature however; it is very thin – only 7.8mm – and we’re talking about an automatic self winding watch here, so that is thin. And the reason for that is down to the Swiss end of the arrangement, because the SSG9 movement comes from the highly regarded Vaucher Manufacture in Val de Travers, whose Calibre 5401 from their Private Label Movement division provides the watchmaking expertise behind the Royal Capital, making it a bona-fide contender in the luxury sector. With its micro rotor winding system neatly tucked away within the confines of the movement’s body, the finished Cal.5401 measures only 2.6mm tall, and the plate surfaces have been given perlage and Cotes de Genève decoration with additional gold lettering and detailing.
The Sjöö Sandström Royal Capital comes on alligator leather straps with either steel or gold folding clasps, and the whole package is one of quality and understatement. According to Sjöö Sandström CEO Felix Formark with the Royal Captain, the company hopes to escalate awareness of its name and increase its profile internationally, and in the process begin to take on the more established Swiss brands. The Royal Capital is a good vehicle to do that, because with several other models already in their portfolio, there’s more where that came from!
Prices for the stainless steel editions are 5,650 euros and 13,500 euros for the 18Kt gold piece (ex. taxes).
For more details, please visit sjoosandstrom.se