In an earlier post I mentioned that I no longer spend time looking at the latest cameras and photo gear, but I do spend too much time looking at watches and fountain pens. For the most part I manage to resist temptation (partly because fountain pens and watches are often even more expensive than cameras), but yesterday I did take delivery of a new watch from Danish brand Larsen & Erikson.
Jeppe Larson and Magnus Eriksen are a Copenhagen based team who started designing watches in 2015. The resulting watches are, to use that much overused word, minimalist, drawing on Scandinavian and specifically Danish design traditions. My own preference is for broadly minimalist design in both watches and pens. When it comes to fountain pens, much as I admire some of the beautiful Italian and Japanese pens, I invariably end up buying Lamy pens with their emphasis on Bauhaus design principles. (I’ll leave it to others to consider the relationships between minimalism, Scandinavian design and Bauhaus).
Larsen & Eriksen is a relatively recent addition to my bookmarks folder of minimalist watch designers and a few days ago I received an email advertising a half price sale on some of their lines. I was already considering buying the Sans watch and happily this was one of the lines on sale. I should say that even apart from the sale these watches are incredibly affordable, since affordability was one of the key ambitions of Larsen & Eriksen when they started out. At 50 percent off the watch was only $116 including free worldwide shipping. I normally associate free shipping with slow shipping. Not on this occasion. I ordered the watch on Sunday, it shipped on Monday evening from Denmark and arrived in Bulgaria on Tuesday afternoon, about 20 hours later.
The careful design elements start with the packaging which is a simple, understated black cardboard box. Inside the box are the watch, a separate two part strap and a small information booklet.
I appreciated the small details in what is a very affordable watch. A clear protector covers not only the watch face, but also the rear of the watch. The crown is pulled out and a small plastic tab holds it in position so that the hands are disengaged until you push the crown in, though I’m not sure whether this has any effect on battery life. It does mean that when you open the box the hands are in the classic 10.10 position. The slim, black leather strap is of the quick release type with a small lever that facilitates attachment and removal.
The watch itself is beautiful. The stainless steel black plated case has very thin bezels. (Do watches have bezels? I’m referring to the part of the case that surrounds the watch glass.) This means that though the watch is relatively small at 39mm the face seems proportionately larger. Instead of trying to describe the watch further here are some pictures from the Larsen & Eriksen website that show the watch from different angles.
Two elements that stand out are the ‘spokes’ on the watch face and the slim case. While there are no numbers and no hour or minute markers the twelve spokes just visible on the face function as hour markers as well as giving a nod to Copehagen’s bicycling culture. As someone with skinny wrists I appreciate slim watches. I mentioned that the case is 39mm in diameter which is about as big as I want to go, since the 40mm plus watches that are common these days look clunky and feel uncomfortable on my wrist. A slim watch helps with both the look and the feel. (I didn’t realise I had this much arm hair until I looked at this picture!)
This is a quartz watch and uses a basic and reliable movement from Swiss company Ronda whose mechanical and quartz movements are found in all kinds of watches. The glass is mineral glass which is reasonably scratch resistance and the flat and flush fit of the glass should offer some additional protection from scratching. (I don’t mind scratches on my cameras or pens but I find scratching on a watch glass really irritating. Maybe it’s just me.)
Overall then, a very nicely designed, presented and finished watch that is great value at full price and an absolute bargain on sale. If you are in the market for a new watch and the style appeals to you I recommend you take a look at the Larsen & Eriksen website. While there are a handful of design focused retailers that carry the brand the easiest way to browse the range and buy is through the website. And if you want a real bargain the half price sale is on until the end of March.