As much as we love to see Rolex, Hublot, IWC and Audemars Piguet on the red carpet, we always get excited when we spot a brand that’s a bit different. Like when we spied Outlander star Sam Heughan’s Georg Jensen Koppel Grande Date Annual Calendar watch, which he wore to a TV Guide magazine party last month.
First, let’s start with Georg Jensen. The Danish silversmiths are best known for lifestyle products ranging from jewelry to tablewares. And while the Grande Date has plenty of features (it is an annual calendar watch, after all), when it comes to making timepieces, the company believes that style is another equally important complication.
Georg Jensen has a long history of collaborating with outside artists. At Baselworld 2016, the company introduced a collection of jewelry designed by the late architect Zaha Hadid, but the company first got into horology with the Vivianna Bangle watch designed by Vivianna Torun Bülow-Hübe in 1969. Their first men’s timepiece, the Koppel, debuted in1977.
Named after the man who styled it, the artist Henning Koppel, this modern minimalist design became an instant classic. In 2014, the company relaunched the line with new complications. The designers had to find a way to display the calendar functions such as the date and month while preserving the uncluttered look of the black on white dial.
They decided to use a double-window beneath the Georg Jensen logo at 12 o’clock to display big and easy-to-read Arabic numerals for the date. Another, semi-circular aperture uses numbers to represent the 12 months of the year (a dot below the opening indicates the current month). The case was also slightly upsized to 41mm to make the face feel more open. Underneath the printed, white enamel dial there is an equally elegant Dubois-Depraz caliber 14950, a self-winding movement with a 42-hour power reserve. And Heughan’s model is housed in a stainless steel case with a timeless brown alligator strap.
As Heughan demonstrates here, minimalism doesn’t have to look formal or cold. Good design needn’t be outlandish.