The seismically active country of Iceland is barely one and a half times the size of the city of Geneva in terms of population, yet the island on the fringes of the Arctic circle proudly harbours its own watchmaking brand. JS Watch Co. is just one of around 30 different watch brands dotted around Scandinavia, covering a variety of segments from design to tradition and right up to fine mechanical watchmaking.
After the financial crisis in 2009, the Scandinavian countries all returned to growth last year and are forecast to continue growing above the average of the depressed euro zone through 2013 and into 2014. So the prognosis for the region’s economy is good, even if this region does not necessarily represent the main catchment area for the watch brands’ customers.
From space to race
Swedish brand Halda, based in Tullinge on the outskirts of Stockholm, has made a name for itself by combining vintage mechanical movements with futuristic space functions using two interchangeable modules that can be docked on to a “time platform”. For BaselWorld 2013, Halda presents a new interpretation to this concept with the launch of its Race Pilot model. Conceived for the sporty gentleman with an interest in motor racing, this model’s electronic module (calibre HR 2012-1) uses new software and incorporates a three-axis accelerometer and a race pilot programme, which offers information on 150 of the world’s most prestigious motor racing circuits, as well as advanced chronograph functions (including lap times to 1/100th of a second, average speed and fastest lap) and an FIA Formula 1 countdown. This module can be completed with a new mechanical module that is fitted with a Zenith calibre 685 self-winding movement with small seconds and power reserve indicator (50 hours). Both modules come in black DLC-treated titanium and together will cost €14,000 when the new Race Pilot is launched in the second quarter of 2013.
This new model represents a major step forward for the brand, as Halda’s CEO Mikael Sandström explained to Europa Star, “With the first Halda model we wanted to develop a unique watch produced for the most extreme environment you could think of: space. For this reason we made the model limited, which connected well as we found a limited amount of the vintage movements. Now, when we will have the new Race Pilot on the market and as it is aimed at a larger target group (not limited) we are ready to take the step to promote Halda watches on the international market and we are now looking for distributors in some specific markets.”
Halda has had expressions of interest from Germany, USA, Japan, as well as Abu Dhabi and Dubai but offers an innovative service in the markets where the brand does not yet have an official representation. “We will introduce a new service, ‘the Halda Personal delivery service’,” says Sandström, “that means that one person from the Halda factory will travel directly to the customer and hand over the watch in person, this without any extra cost for the customer!”
Source: Europa Star April - May 2013 magazine issue