Georg Jensen just doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. People tend to think of it as a run-of-the-mill silver brand but it is actually a 100-year old institution that has created pieces, which have become icons of Danish design.
One such icon is the Koppel watch. It is named after its designer Henning Koppel (1918-1981) who started working for the brand after the end of WWII in 1946.
His first collection – a series of linked necklaces and bracelets resembling whale vertebrae and microscopic organisms – was groundbreaking, not just for Georg Jensen but also for jewellery design at the time.
It also showed his desire to create pieces that tempered functionalism with organic, lifelike shapes, something that would define Koppel’s style, as well as his desire to make everyday functional objects, such as cutlery, coffee pots or this silver bowl below, beautiful.
Although it seems like fairly standard watch design, when it came out in 1978, its clean, modern aesthetic was very much counter to the governing aesthetic of the time. So it isn’t really surprising that, when Georg Jensen was rummaging the archives for inspiration for its latest watch collection, it chose Koppel as its port of call.
If you’ve got a piece of Vitra furniture on your Christmas list and a book on fonts on your mid-century modern coffee table, then this is definitely a watch for you. When you first look at it, it really doesn’t look like much. But therein lies the beauty of it. It is so simple, so pared back that, in terms of proportion, there is nowhere to hide. And once you realise that, that is when you start to see how perfectly executed this watch is.
Although this watch design comes from 1978, its look is still very contemporary. Or maybe that’s because a lot of watches these days are going for this more mid-century look. Its lack of detail on the dial feels strangely challenging, especially when you consider the trend for watches that have plenty of complications to shout about.
The movement inside is an ETA 2824 – a basic movement that has been referred to by some corners of the internet as “the little engine that could” – which isn’t really anything to write home about and does make the £1,440 price tag a little hard to swallow.
But let’s just look at how gorgeous it is and worry about that pesky price tag later.
LOOK AND FEEL
The stainless steel case looks so smooth and fluid, that it is as though it is made of mercury and liable to melt at any moment. Its otherworldliness is contrasted with the organic nature of the tan leather strap, which grounds the design. Dots rather than indices mean nothing interrupts the dial, while the blued hands add to its elegance.
In keeping with Koppel’s design philosophy, this watch works well with things like denim, such as this dress from Alexa Chung’s collection for AG Jeans, and leather (though we may draw the line at leather trousers). These both work to emphasise the organic nature of the watch and contrast with the ultra-modern elements.
To get this look, click on the board
NEED TO KNOW
This is a watch whose simplicity belies its cleverness. It was originally designed as a man’s watch, which is why it might be too large for some tastes, but we think it works for either sex. Which is how you’re going to justify the £1,440 price tag to your other half…
Buy now: Georg Jensen