Gustafsson and Sjögren GoS: Swedish Independents Forge A Horological Bridge With Bifrost
The nerdy side of me was very much in evidence when I was younger. As smartphones and the Internet did not exist, and television was not always that exciting, one of the two activities I spent most of my free time with was reading. And I was obsessed with mythology, continuously reading and rereading myths and stories of the gods’ influence on various cultures.
So it comes as no great surprise that above and beyond the incredible visuals that the watches made by the duo known as GoS (Gustafsson and Sjögren, the “o” stands for “and” in Swedish) offer, their obvious allusions to Norse mythology are also extremely appealing to me, stimulating my already overactive imagination.
The newest of these, which Quill & Pad has the honor to introduce, is Bifrost, named for the famed rainbow bridge that the Norse Asgardians used to reach Midgard (earth).
Today’s teenagers might even be familiar with Bifrost from the recent comic book-inspired Marvel movies Thor and Thor: The Dark World.
The appealing aesthetics of GoS’ work is mainly due to the “G” portion of the team: Johan Gustafsson. This blade smith and avid hunter began forging his own blades in 1994.
The style that he has evolved over the past two decades mainly comprises hand-forged, pattern-welded steel, and some of his major accomplishments include improvements and developments within a technique called Mosaic Damascus. This sees him creating detailed, abstract patterns by forging metal plates of different steel types together into one solid piece.
Visitors to Baselworld were treated to a prototype of the Bifrost Isblå, the first Bifrost model made with Gustafsson’s new, high-contrast stainless Damascus steel. The reason the duo named this particular watch Bifrost is that the tempered Damascus steel GoS creates requires natural light to generate its typical dynamic colors. “Much the same way that a rainbow appears only when light shines through moist air,” watchmaker Patrik Sjögren explained to me.
The Bifrost Isblå model captures blue nuances one might also find in very thick ice, according to Sjögren.
Watch and knife set
We have the honor of presenting you with the first Bifrost production watch and matching folding knife set. This “gentleman’s knife” is roughly half the size of Gustafsson’s normal production knives so that it is harmoniously proportioned with the stainless steel watch.
Each knife is specifically made to match the aesthetics of the watch in the set.
The knife is designed as what’s known as a liner-lock, which means that the titanium liner holding the blade in place also acts as a lock spring securing it in the open position.
This lock is released by applying slight pressure on the spring, normally using the thumb. The handles of these first two GoS gentleman’s folders have been customized using two different materials: Scandinavian amber and Damascus steel.
All GoS products are fully customizable.
Gustafsson’s very special high-contrast damascened steel is visible on both the case and the movement’s automatic rotor, which is naturally shaped as the GoS triskelion symbol.
“This new steel gives us another edge on our previous models with a more defined pattern on the cases,” Sjögren adds. “There are only a handful of blade smiths who have succeeded in making pattern-welded stainless steel. However, Johan has taken it to the level where he is now able to create the same kind of dense and expressive patterns in his new stainless Damascus steel as when he is working in carbon-based steel.”
Now, if Gustafsson could just figure out how to create that bridge up to Asgard, then we could all admire his beautiful high-contrast steel all the time.
For more information, please visit www.goswatches.com.
Quick Facts knife
Handle: Damascus steel, same as blade
Length: 70 mm (handle); full extended length of knife 125 mm
Blade: Damascus steel made from Swedish carbon-based tool steels
Liner: grade 5 titanium with filed edges
Quick Facts watch
Case: 42.5 x 9.5 mm, stainless steel and stainless high contrast Damascus steel
Movement: modified automatic Soprod Caliber A10
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds
Limitation: 25 pieces
Price: $17,500 (plus applicable tax) for a production set including a special birch wood box crafted in the “svepask” technique; naturally this price can rise with customization