Within the MONOCHROME team, we all have our personal preferences when it comes to brands and watches, and that results in the rather eclectic mix of watches we cover. Personally, I have been following the work by GoS Watches from Sweden for years now, pretty much from when I started writing about watches. There’s just something about these watches that grabs me, with their incredible level of detail stemming from Scandinavian folklore and Viking heritage. So when Patrik Sjögren, the founder of GoS Watches, told me that he was about to release a new version of the Norrsken for Dubai Watch Week, I jumped at the chance to get my hands on it. As it will be officially presented on the eve of Dubai Watch Week, here’s my experience with the GoS Norrsken Blue.
The Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights are a natural display of light occurring in the more northern regions of our planet (the southern counterpart is the Aurora Australis). This spectacle occurs when energised particles from the Sun hit the Earth’s upper atmosphere at tremendous speed. Luckily, Earth’s magnetic field protects us and particles such as electrons and protons change trajectory and emit various colours of light, often in wave-like streaks across the skies. It is a truly wonderful thing to see in real life, so I’m told.
For those that are not familiar with Patrik Sjögren’s work at GoS Watches, it pretty much revolves around Damascus steel. This material is constructed using various types of steel and other metals, which are welded into layered ingots. How many layers will be revealed once finished depends on the number of steps in the forging process.
Each time an ingot is folded or cut and restacked, the number of layers doubles in the process. And since you cannot control the exact outcome of the pattern, each ingot will result in unique waves, swirls and twists. If you really know what you’re doing, you can craft floral patterns in the ingot, as GoS has showcased in the past, but this is very challenging to do.
Every GoS watch is made with parts constructed out of this distinct material. Patrik crafts cases, crowns, dials, hands and even movement components out of his special steel. Through a process of heat and/or acid treatment, he is able to extract incredible colours, patterns and depth out of the Damascus steel.
The Norrsken collection aims to capture the magnificence of the Northern Lights in a wristwatch. Contrary to popular belief, the Northern Lights are not always green but can display multiple colours. The Norrsken Blue uses the same architecture as the Norrsken with its 41.5mm wide Damascus steel case. The caseband has vertical indentations along its outer edge, taking inspiration from the hilt of a Viking sword. The bezel is also constructed out of Damascus steel and slightly extends over the middle part of the case. On the right-hand side, a handcrafted crown is used to set the time. On the recessed part of the crown, there’s an image of the Triskele, a triple-drinking horn often found in Scandinavian folklore and Viking heritage.
The real star is the bright blue dial. Made in collaboration with guilloché master Jochen Benzinger, it features a wave-like guilloché pattern starting at the bottom and opening up towards the top. This is combined with a hand-blown Swedish crystal index ring on the outer perimeter and a Badgerite ring underneath (made by James Thompson, a.k.a. Black Badger), which perfectly captures the blue glow of the Aurora Borealis. Time is indicated with polished spearhead-shaped hands and the signature triple-drinking horn running seconds indicator at 6 o’clock. GoS offers multiple options for the case and dial, including a blackened Damascus case and bezel or a Damascus steel dial.
Just like the green version, the Norrsken Blue uses the GoS03 calibre, which is based on the Schwarz-Etienne ASE 200.00 micro-rotor movement. GoS upgrades it with a Midnight Blue Damascus steel rotor and again the triple-drinking horn, this time as a decoration on the barrel wheel. This movement uses 33 jewels and has 198 components in total. The frequency is 28,800vph, and fully wound, it has a 42-hour power reserve.
It’s finished with polished screws, bevelled edges and a sunray-brushed finish radiating from the centre jewel. The caseback shows both “1 of 50” and “Unique Piece”, which can be a bit confusing, but remember that each Damascus steel component has a pattern that is unique and simply impossible to replicate. It also depends on the selected options, of course, which allows you to personalise your Norrsken watch.
The new GoS Norrsken Blue is limited to 50 pieces only and comes on a high-gloss black salmon leather strap. It is secured to the wrist with a Damascus steel pin buckle with GoS logo engraved in the buckle. Although the strap feels firm at first, it grips the wrist nicely and wears quite well. Prices for the GoS Norrsken Blue start at USD 19,500 and go up to USD 24,500, depending on the selected options. The watch is presented in a hand-blown Swedish crystal presentation box (seen in some of the images) that can double as a stand for the watch when not worn. This is yet again a sign of how GoS tries to incorporate various traditional Swedish crafts into its watches.
To me, this watch exemplifies all the things I love about independent, artistic watchmaking. It’s certainly not something everyone will like, but as with many artistic expressions in watchmaking, it is the creativity on display that needs to be laureled. The attention to detail, the execution of a concept, the devotion to a central theme, the strife for perfection, all culminating in a single watch, is extremely fascinating to me. I love spending time with these watches and hope we will see stuff like this for many years to come.
For more information, please visit GoSWatches.com.