Created by bladesmith Johan Gustafsson and watchmaker Patrik Sjögren, the Swedish brand is known for timekeepers that, while not terribly advanced when it comes to mechanisms that tick inside their bodies, offer a rare combination of materials and excellent craftsmanship. Since all their watches are hand-finished, they are usually limited to just a handful of pieces. This new Gustafsson & Sjögren GoS Midnight Sun, for example, will be issued in a run of just five items!
Similar in design to the 2011 GoS Stockholm model, the new GoS Midnight Sun is not only significantly larger. It also offers a more interesting (and probably more expensive) mixture of materials: besides their signature hand-decorated Damascus steel with its trademark “wooden” texture that not only case and bezel, but also the sun-shaped chapter ring and even the setting crown are made of, the watch also features a solid gold dial with a meticulously executed Sunray pattern.
The 18-carat yellow gold dial that symbolizes our star not only looks extremely warm, but also offers enough contrast for the greyish hour, minute and stylized seconds hands to be easily read even in twilight despite the fact that the watch lacks any sort of lume or other means of enhancing legibility in bad lighting conditions.
Although with their earlier products Johan and Patrik concentrated almost all of their attention on dials and cases while leaving movements with their fairly basic finish, their latest jobs (especially their last year’s GoS Nordic Seasons done in collaboration with independent watchmaker Martin Braun that has its Unitas 6498 movement seriously reworked and equipped with Damascus steel bridges) feature vintage calibers that are nothing but gorgeous.
For this particular model they collaborated with the German master watchmaker Jochan Benzinger of Grieb & Benzinger who is known for great expertise in skeletonization techniques. They took their favorite Unitas 6498 hand-wound movement that was “improved to chronometer grade” by the Swiss complications specialist Soprod, and painstakingly skeletonized it to better match the “Midnight Sun” theme of the watch.
To make the skeletonized parts look even more contrast, they even heat-blued the main plate of the movement, as well as decorated the gear wheels with guilloche patterns.
Back in the 1950s, the Unitas 6497/6498 family was designed with pocket watches in mind and the brand’s engineer’s didn’t have to try to squeeze all the necessary elements into a small space reserved for a normal wristwatch (and, unlike contemporary models, wristwatches of the era were really compact). As a result, the mechanism became one of the largest among movements made by Swiss-based manufacturers. However, in return they produced a caliber, which is known not only for its robustness, but also for relatively high (at least, for such an archaic engine) accuracy.
Still, measuring palatable 37 millimeters in diameter, the movement didn’t actually call for such a large body. Measuring 45 mm wide, the stainless steel case will probably scare away a great deal of customers. However, if you will go this route, you will get yourself one of the most eye-catching artifacts among those currently available on the market. Although it may not be as refined as Breguet or Patek Philippe, it is this gadget that will strike a chord in your soul if you have just a drop of Viking’s blood in your veins.
I am not sure how much they plan to charge for this model, but so far this new watch looks like their opus magnum. It would definitely be worth every dime they will charge for it.
Photos: Gustafsson & Sjögren / GoS Watches
WWR preliminary verdict
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 5/5
Gustafsson & Sjögren GoS Midnight Sun Limited Edition watch specification
Movement: Manual, ETA Unitas 6498, chronometer, improved by Soprod, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 17
Movement frequency: 18,000 vph
Power reserve: 48 hours
Movement decoration: Skeletonized and engraved by hand
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds
Case material: Stainless steel and Damascus steel
Bezel material: Damascus steel
Crown material: Damascus steel
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 45.00 mm
Case height: 10.00 mm
Lug width: 22.00 mm
Dial: 18-carat gold
Hour markers: Damascus steel chapter ring
Hands: Match case
Water resistance: No data
Strap: Black handcrafted soft nubuck leather with a stainless steel buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Case back: Sapphire