Viking Heritage – The New Väring Timepiece From GoS
The Väring Timepiece
Sweden’s exported many things to British shores over the years: flat pack furniture, indestructible mobile phones and raiding Vikings. One of these is not like the others which is a good thing; if GoS watches decided to take after Nokia or Ikea we’d have a fan inferior watch on our wrists here. Cheap and indestructible sure, but inferior nonetheless.
Both master bladesmith Johan Gustafsson and master watchmaker Patrik Sjögren – the G and S in GoS – take more than a little inspiration from the Vikings. They both grew up surrounded by the culture and artefacts of that culture, hearing the tales and seeing the monuments. Still, there’s one figure that’s perhaps culturally important to them – Väring.
An important Viking from the GoS homeland, Väring was one of the many lords of the land that sailed to England with Prince (soon to be King) Knut. Needless to say, that didn’t turn out too well for the Saxons but hey, you win some you lose… a lot.
It’s hard to tell exact dates given that nearly all Viking history was aural, but it appears as though this year is the 1,000th anniversary of Väring’s return to Sweden. What better time then for GoS to create a watch in his honour? And what better watch to make than one in bronze?
Bronze is the new titanium of the watch world, with all and sundry adding the ancient metal to their horological ranks. For most, it’s just an excuse to trot out the old line about each being unique thanks to the ageing patina. Next, they’ll be calling them ‘bespoke’. For GoS though, it was a chance to add to the Viking heritage of their watches – and bring more of them in-house.
A good deal of the metalwork in GoS watches was already created by the pair. That’s not such a surprise given how few Damascus steel specialists like Gustafsson there are in the world. The rest, however, was made elsewhere and assembled by Sjögren. Bronze, however, is different.
When GoS first began thinking about a bronze watch, it was more about getting the right aesthetics. But then it occurred to Sjögren that he had the tools and skill to make the parts himself. So he did. It took a little time and trial and error, but the results now speak for themselves, now that the Väring has set sail.
Each and every element is a recognisable as Viking, from the lugs that imitate the shapes of their longships ‘ bow ornaments to the knot patterns on the sides. The signature Damascus steel is in full resplendence on dial and bezel and the bronze – another metal used for ancient weapons – has been pre-patinated for that indescribable feel of age.
Even the hands are miraculously well-made. Shaped to imitate spear heads, they too have been darkened and patinated before their bevels have been hand-polished to better show their angles. They’ve even been engraved with a unique take on Côtes de Genève that makes them appear rounded. It’s the kind of detail any master blacksmith could be proud of. At the very least, that’s a lot more effort than goes into a mobile phone. Hell, even some of the trickier Ikea pieces.
It’s a shame that bronze is to in Vogue at the moment. It’s easy to cynically dismiss anyone using it as simply cashing in on the trend. But for GoS it’s both a tangible link to their Viking inspirations and a way of bringing more of the watch directly into their workshop. Can the same be said of any other watchmaker?