Classic Style- JS Watch Co.

Written by the Online Editor. Posted in Profiles

JS Watch Co. Reykjavík has time on their side

In a world in which big-box stores and mass production have long since become the norm, the idea of opening a small, family business specialising in limited-edition, handmade products may seem more like a nostalgic daydream than good business sense. Nevertheless, in 2005, friends Sigurdur Gilbertsson, Julius Heidarsson, and Grimkell Sigurthorsson decided to take a leap of faith and founded JS Watch Co. Reykjavík, Iceland’s first watch manufacturer.

The idea may have been idealistic Iceland certainly doesn’t have a long tradition of quality timepiece production but the founders had good reason to be optimistic. They would be joined in their endeavour by Sigurdur’s father, Gilbert Gudjonsson, a master watchmaker with nearly 50 years of experience. Gilbert started apprenticing as a watchmaker at the tender age of 16 and soon discovered a real passion for the craft, often electing to skip summer holidays and work long night and weekend hours in order to hone his skills. So many years later, once Gilbert had long owned and run his own successful watch repair shop in Reykjavík, the idea of launching a brand of Icelandic designed, Icelandic manufactured specialty watches didn’t seem so crazy. In fact, it seemed like a lot of fun.

Starting as something of a luxury brand, JS Watch Co.’s first collection was made in an exclusive batch of just 100 watches. It sold out in less than six months. Following this success, Gilbert and his partners went on to successfully design, manufacture, and sell out of five more limited edition collections. JS Watch Co. pieces were designed with longevity in mind, they were made to be heirlooms, Gilbert explains, durable watches that could be passed from one generation to another and the shop’s attention to craftsmanship and quality manufacturing were quickly making the brand a household name in Iceland.

Today, JS Watch Co. Reykjavík offers a dozen elegant and classically styled watch collections, each of which was designed by master designer Grimkell in cooperation with the team and then hand-constructed by Gilbert and Sigurdur in their workshop at Laugavegur 62 in downtown Reykjavík. All of the collections offer their own unique detailing and specifications, and are suitable for wearers in various walks of life. For instance, there’s the Sif North Atlantic Rescue Timer (Sif N.A.R.T.), which is actually the official watch of the Icelandic Coast Guard. Still stylish with its custom decorations, blue screws, and Rhodium-plated finish,this is a practical piece, too: it features luminous numerals for easy visibility in poor weather and is water-resistant at depths of up to 1000 metres.

All of the company’s timepieces do have some things in common: for one, their custom-decorated Top Grade Swiss movements, produced by renowned Swiss manufacturers Soprod and ETA, according to JS Watch Co.’s own specifications. Moreover, after construction, all of the movements go through two weeks of testing and quality control to ensure that every single piece is up to the company’s exacting standards. And in the end, it’s this patient attention to detail and quality that ensure that JS Watch Co. Reykjavík’s clientele will keep coming back. Twelve years after their first collection launched, time is still definitely on their side.


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