GoS Norrsken Blue Guilloche: A Glow That Beckons You North
Growing up in Minnesota I was just north enough to have seen very faint aurora borealis twice in my life. And I was hooked. It didn’t matter that it was rather tame compared to what people north of the arctic circle see; I knew I wanted to see more. I have yet to travel to see the northern lights, but it is on my list once travel becomes a normal thing again.
In college, I made sure to enroll in some astronomy courses as I had always been enamored with the night sky. In those classes, I learned that not only does the earth have magnificent aurora displays from charged particles entering the atmosphere, so do a variety of planets in our solar system. In fact, it’s faster to count the planets that don’t currently have evidence of auroras because it’s only one: Mercury, which doesn’t have an atmosphere.
All the other planets have different levels of auroras, ranging from faint, patchy displays on Venus and Mars to more brilliant ones on gas giants Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus. The most stunning aurora can be found on Jupiter since its magnetic field is 20,000 times stronger than that of earth, and it happens on both the day side and night side thanks to the charged particles from Jupiter’s volcanic moon Io.
So while the earth has some stunning displays, they aren’t unique to the third rock from the sun. In fact, most of the solar system gets to share in this brilliant display of physics and planetary variation.
Some countries have a special relationship with the aurora borealis as it has been part of their cultural history for millennia. One such culture is Scandinavia, comprising Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.
It should come as no surprise then that an independent Swedish watch brand would have such a fascination with the northern lights – so much so that it incorporates a representation into watches. GoS (Gustafsson and Sjögren), founded by watchmaker Patrik Sjögren and master bladesmith Johan Gustafsson, is a brand steeped in Scandinavian history and culture.
Its latest release, the Blue Norrsken (Swedish for “northern lights”) is a masterful three-way collaboration honoring the fantastical displays of the aurora borealis as seen in the brand’s home country.
GoS Norrsken Blue Guilloche
Watches by GoS are already lightyears ahead of most brands when it comes to the power of raw aesthetic, and this model capturing the vibrancy of the northern lights is at the pinnacle of what GoS is capable of.
The GoS Norrsken was first released in a vivid green many associate with the northern lights. The new version captures the same exciting aesthetic but lands on the rarer sight of the blue aurora, with its bright blue dial and mesmerizing guilloche pattern invoking the undulating waves of typical auroras.
The dial has a small recess for the running seconds wheel, which is the stylistic triskele that was an ancient symbol of Europe before the time of Christianity. Underneath the triskelion is a smaller guilloche pattern matching that of the dial.
The waves of guilloche across the dial keep your eye moving around to meet the handblown Swedish crystal index ring around the edge of the dial. This ring helps light to enter a luminous ring of Badgerite underneath that glows bright blue across the dial. The combination of these three elements perfectly conveys the theme of the northern lights and makes for a dazzling display on the wrist.
The spear-shaped hour and minute hands are the typical Norse-inspired design by GoS and feel right in line with the Damascus steel case ring and bezel. This is an option one can select from a choice of polished stainless, Damascus, or black-treated Damascus steel for the case and pin buckle.
The aesthetic continues onto the rear of the watch with Caliber GoS03, a Schwarz Etienne base movement customized by GoS. The mainspring ratchet wheel bears the triskelion symbol and the micro rotor made from the same hand-forged Damascus steel as the case, but this time it has been treated to achieve a black and blue pattern to match the dial of the Norrsken Blue.
Collaboration makes a difference
Norrsken Blue is a customizable and visually arresting piece thanks to the range of options available.
However, it accomplishes more than that by bringing together masters in their respective fields to create a singular vision. GoS is already a business built by a bladesmith and a watchmaker, highlighting that the brand understands the art of collaboration. Aside from the bladesmith and watchmaker of GoS, Norrsken Blue Guilloche is the product of three more very talented craftsmen.
The guilloche dial is the most obvious element that we see, each handmade by Jochen Benzinger. Benzinger is considered one of the world’s finest masters of guilloche, making bespoke pieces and working with the best brands in the industry. The pattern on the Norrsken Blue is incredible: undulating waves that begin small and smooth before becoming large and incredibly jagged, just like the waves of light seen in auroras across the solar system.
This version highlights the rarer aurora seen when nitrogen in our atmosphere is excited by charged solar particles, usually at a lower altitude than the traditional green aurora created by excited oxygen particles higher up.
These waves are a standout on their own, but they are buoyed by the luminous ring glowing from the edge of the dial. That luminous Badgerite ring is made by James Thompson of Black Badger, a specialist in luminous materials. It’s a natural fit to combine glowing material in a watch themed with the northern lights, and behind the clear Swedish crystal ring glowing over the entire dial.
That is the third additional collaboration in the Norrsken Blue: a handblown dial ring made by Swedish master glassblower Mikael Kenlind of Vas Vitreum. Each ring is cut from a hand-blown tube and then carefully shaped until it fits perfectly around the edge of the dial. The ring is fixed to the dial by 12 small points to keep it floating just a small amount, preventing any cracking or breakage if the watch experiences an impact.
Given that it is crystal and not the typical synthetic sapphire, this maintains a much more traditional approach to the entire piece, something that GoS prides itself on with each watch it produces. Combining handcraftsmanship is a main facet of GoS, and it really shows with the Norrsken Blue Guilloche.
Let’s not forget the final collaboration with movement maker Schwarz Etienne, one of my favorite small movement makers. Caliber GoS03 is an awesome update of the ASE 200.00 from Schwarz Etienne and it adds a ton of value to the Norrsken Blue Guilloche from a mechanical standpoint.
If all of the incredible craftsmanship in the dial and case isn’t enough, the movement is no slouch either.
This is really where it all comes together for GoS and its timepieces: finding the best elements to put together in one place and allowing for customization so you are in love with the final piece. Unsurprisingly, GoS went a step further and commissioned a custom presentation box from glassblower Mikael Kenlind, a handcrafted box of the same Swedish crystal on the dial.
Each watch is made to order since each piece is a collection of choices by the customer, including bespoke options that aren’t within the basic options offered. For GoS, nothing is ever off the table.
This is a fantastic piece to demonstrate the skills of individuals that GoS works with and to inspire wonder in the night sky. I know that it refreshed my desire to head incredibly far north to get a glimpse of the spectacular astronomical light display. The only thing that would make that trip better is one of these on my wrist!
At the risk of getting lost in the wilderness while gazing at the pretty colors, let’s break it down!
- Wowza Factor * 9.4 If it wasn’t the guilloche dial it would be the stunning blue glow emanating from behind the Swedish crystal ring!
- Late Night Lust Appeal * 94» 921.825m/s2 Auroras are created by our planet’s magnetic field lines, and the excited particles have the perfect response to this piece. It would keep me up until the wee hours just to stare in awe!
- M.G.R. * 58 Caliber GoS03 based on the Schwarz Etienne movement is an awesome micro rotor movement that comes from a smaller independent movement maker and is a perfect fit for GoS!
- Added-Functionitis * N/A It has no official added functions aside from inspiring wonder and amazement and quite possibly the desire to travel north. Besides that, however, you can skip the Gotta-HAVE-That cream and bask in the blue glow!
- Ouch Outline * 9.9 Hitting your pinky toe on the doorjamb! Everyone probably knows this feeling, and it is no fun whatsoever. It doesn’t last too long, but for at least a couple minutes you feel like your entire foot is going to fall off. But after it wears off, I’d gladly do it again if it meant getting the Norrsken Blue Guilloche on my wrist!
- Mermaid Moment * That glow! When you fall for someone, people often say that you will have a glow from being so happy. But what if what makes you happy is a glow? Well then you are both glowing!
- Awesome Total * 860 Start with the hours of power reserve (86) and multiply by the number of pieces in the limited edition (50), then divide by the water resistance in atmospheres (5) for a luminous awesome total!
For more information, please visit www.goswatches.com/norrsken-northern-lights.
Quick Facts GoS Norrsken Blue Guilloche
Case: 41.5 x 12.1 mm, stainless steel with optional Damascus or Black Damascus case ring and/or bezel
Movement: automatic Caliber GoS03 (based on Schwarz Etienne ASE 200.00), 86-hour power reserve, 21,600 vph/3 Hz frequency
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds
Limitation: 50 pieces made to order
Price: $19,500 to $24,500 depending on selected options