New Norrsken By GoS (Gustafsson & Sjögren) Offers A Spectacular Northern Lights Experience On The Wrist
by Martin Green
The aurora borealis (aka northern lights) is a natural phenomenon unlike any other, occurring when charged particles ejected from the sun in the solar wind collide with the earth’s magnetic field. These particles flow along the magnetic force lines, particularly in the polar regions, where they collide with nitrogen and oxygen atoms high in the atmosphere.
This creates auroral lights, which can look like a curtain of colored light moving through the sky. While it appears in many colors, it is most often associated with a vibrant green.
To capture this phenomenal display in a watch seems like an impossible task. The risk of not doing the beauty of the northern lights justice or creating something too whimsical is high. For Swedish independent watch brand GoS, it was a challenge that couldn’t be resisted, though.
Collaboration brings the northern lights to earth
That GoS would take on this challenge is no surprise as this boutique brand has always focused on its Scandinavian culture. That has enabled GoS to inject a unique flavor into the watch world with details that no other brand is able to credibility replicate.
The new model inspired by the northern lights is named Norrsken, the Swedish name for the aurora borealis. Like the northern lights themselves the watch is awe-inspiring, but what is surprising is that GoS has made it look easy.
There is no such a thing as “easy” in watchmaking, and experienced connoisseurs will understand that the Norrsken is extraordinary. And even better, Norrsken is not a single watch but an entire collection, and each watch can be customized to the preferences of its owner.
To achieve this, watchmaker Patrik Sjögren, co-founder and co-owner of GoS, relies on his own craftsmanship and that of partner (and blade smith) Johan Gustafsson as well as other specialists.
To explain the specialists’ contributions and fully understand this watch’s nature, it is best to go through the different parts that make up the Norrsken.
This starts with the dial as it is here that the northern lights come to life. GoS offers two options: the first shows the natural phenomenon in Damascus steel. This a hallmark material for GoS, who has made this difficult-to-produce artisanal alloy part of a signature style.
Because the Damascus steel is hand-forged by Gustafsson, the curtain-like effect of the northern light can be replicated in great detail, even including the mysterious shimmer around the edges of the phenomenon.
Just as stunning is the other dial, which takes a completely different approach to represent the northern lights.
Here Sjögren relied on the expertise of Jochen Benzinger, master engraver and guilloche guru. Benzinger appears to have put his rose engine on the most extreme setting as the dial seems to be on the same erratic wave frequency as its natural counterpart.
I find it hard to choose between these dials as they both interpret the northern lights so well, even though they use completely different techniques and crafts.
For the index ring surrounding the dial, Sjögren turned to fellow countryman Mikael Kenlind of Vas Vitreum. Kenlind used rare Swedish crystal to hand-sculpt the translucent ring, which interacts with an insert ring made of solid, luminous Badgerite.
The glowing Badgerite is a collaboration between Swedish-based Black Badger and RC Tritec, the Swiss company best known for producing Super-LumiNova.
The effect that the Badgerite creates in combination with the Swedish crystal index ring is as magical as the northern lights themselves, the glow reflecting to creates a green shimmer on the dial. Ensuring the index ring’s safety, GoS secured it at 12 points, allowing for a degree of flex and minimizing risk of damage by shocks to the watch.
The Norrsken comes in a 41.5 mm case available in two types of steel: polished stainless steel or the brand’s signature Damascus steel. Also optional is a black finish, which makes the watch slightly more understated.
The same options apply for the bezel, and on special request Sjögren can make the Norrsken in precious metal.
As Damascus steel is GoS’ signature element and one rarely seen in watches, I expect this option to be too tempting for many collectors to pass on.
With all these choices, though, it might be hard to make up your mind. But for that, GoS has a solution: an online configurator allows you to choose from all the options and see how the final product will look in augmented reality.
Well-known movement with a GoS touch
For the movement Sjögren turned to Schwarz Etienne. This Swiss manufacture makes a range of high-quality movements that we know first and foremost from Schwarz Etienne’s own watches.
Sjögren asked Schwarz Etienne for a specific, high-grade finish, including hand-polished bevels and a dedicated escape wheel bridge. The micro rotor is made by GoS from hand-forged Damascus steel.
A fitting finishing touch is provided by the Norrsken’s strap, which is hand made in Stockholm from high-gloss, polished salmon leather.
Normally I do not have much interest in the box a watch comes in, as these serve little purpose in daily life and often just take up space and collect dust. However, the GoS box is an exception here: it is made of handblown Swedish crystal by Mikael Kenlind, who also makes the stunning index ring.
I am confident in saying that the Norrsken is one of the most spectacular new watches released in 2021 to date.
For more information, please visit www.goswatches.com.
Quick Facts GoS Norrsken
Case: 41.5 x 12.1 mm, stainless steel with optional (black) Damascus steel case ring and/or bezel (18-karat 4N gold on request), 5 ATM/50 meters water resistance, crown with double gaskets and GoS internal impact protection
Dial: choice of Damascus steel or silver hand-guilloche by Jochen Benzinger; index recesses filled with emerald-green Badgerite; transparent index ring in Swedish crystal handmade by Mikael Mia; ring of Badgerite around index ring
Movement: automatic Caliber GoS02 (based on Schwarz Etienne ASE 200) with Damascus steel micro rotor 21,600 vph/3 Hz frequency, 86-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, (hacking) seconds
Limitation: 50 pieces
Price: $19,500 to $24,500 (excluding taxes) based on selected options
Remark: each watch is a unique piece made to order