Bruvik: Norway’s watchmaking pioneer

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January 2017

The independent watchmaker has carried the flag for Norwegian watchmaking for years, finding success by channeling the country’s natural and arctic identity.

There’s not much in terms of watchmaking heritage in Norway, but that might be changing. A mere seven years ago, the only real watch brand that could call itself Norwegian was Bruvik Time.

By my count, today there are four other young brands trying to corner the Scandinavian market. They include Hvitsten, Brathwait, Cursus Victus and Von Doren. But today, we take a close look at the trendsetter from the group, Bruvik Time.

Bruvik: Norway's watchmaking pioneer

The brand was founded by Rene Burvik in 2009, and the beginnings weren’t exactly a breeze. Because there was no watchmaking heritage in the country, retailers were skeptical of Bruvik and his Scandaniavian designed and Swiss made watches. But persistence pays off, and three months later Bruvik got himself a spot in a retailer’s display window, right next to Breitling. Not a bad start.

Since then the brand has expanded its collections, and what I like is that each one channels its Norwegian roots.

Bruvik: Norway's watchmaking pioneer

Arguably the most popular is the Fjord line, which houses a drop of pure water from a Norwegian fjord in the case back. It’s a bit of a cheeky design move, since watchmakers focus on keeping water outside the watch. It shows Bruvik’s confidence and innovative spirit, which was also recognized by a European Watch of the Year nomination for his Lady Fjord timepiece.

Another watch infuses an “Olympic rock” called sparagmite, which was discovered during construction for the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer. The rock was used in the making of the medals during the games, and Bruvik bought the leftovers and incorporated them into the design of the watch. The result was the new Elements collection.

Bruvik: Norway's watchmaking pioneer

The Heritage line honours pioneering explorers with a compass motif on the pieces. The watch has the GPS coordinates engraved on the case, showing how far each of the explores travelled. Then there’s the Svalbard line, named after an arctic archipelago of Norway where there are more polar bears than people!

Their prices are also very reasonable, somewhere between CHF 800 to 3,500. Prices are kept low thanks to the use of standard Swiss quartz and automatic ETA or Sellita movements. Interestingly, up to half of the total production cost of the watches can be due to the finely worked sapphire crystal.

Bruvik: Norway's watchmaking pioneer

The brand mainly channels Scandinavian consumers with it’s 1,000 piece annual output. Somewhat surprisingly, they also do well in the Czech Republic, which does makes sense when you think about the sporty and adventurous Czechs.

That fact that Bruvik has inspired other Norwegian brands to enter the market it telling enough. But the dream for the brand, like many others, is to break into the American market. With their solid value proposition and inspiration from the “natural” side of Norway, they have a great chance appealing to the American consumer as well.