The independent Scandinavian watchmaker fuses knife-work and watchmaking to produce some of the best Damascus steel timepieces in the world.
What do you get when a master bladesmith (Johan Gustafsson) crosses swords with a master watchmaker (Patrik Sjögren)? It’s GoS Watches, a luxury Swedish watchmaker based in the placid town of Linköping.
I’ve been a fan of the small watchmaker since it was established back in 2007, and it’s been interesting to see it develop over the last decade. That development has resulted in the duo perfecting the use of Damascus steel in watchmaking, and more recently even developing their very own in-house movement.
Not many might have excepted that coming out of a small town in Sweden. But while the country’s watchmaking heritage is a work in progress, it has a very strong heritage in other craft forms. That includes leather works; for example GoS provide straps that are made from locally produced Moose-leather, or “Älg” in Swedish.
Then, of course, there are the bladesmiths like Johan.
Metalworking has a long history in Sweden thanks to the Vikings, who were one of the first cultures to develop a pattern welding technique to make their swords stronger. This pattern of folded, or Damascus steel, is used in GoS watches to great effect, resulting in every piece containing patterns with a different personality reminiscent of fine works of art.
Johan’s work with Damascus steel is renowned by knife collectors and it’s no wonder; he has received awards on his steel forging skills as well as his artistic knife making.
But Patrik is no slouch either. He essentially manufactures every part of the watch including the sword-shaped watch hands and movement parts. As a result, he too has developed a reputation of being a skilled watchmaker and has received acknowledgments for his accomplishments from watch aficionados. This is especially true for his incorporation of Damascus steel into movement bridges.
For every other aspect of their watches that is not made in house, the team relies on the some of the best suppliers in the world. That includes the use of high quality Swiss mechanical movements, which are often decorated masterfully, as it can be seen in the limited edition Midnight Sun model below. They also use some of the best watch case makers from Germany, and rely on skilled local artisans for the wooden presentation boxes.
Each GoS watch is finely decorated with motifs and patterns from the roaming Viking ages. They can be appreciated on the dials, which are designed and hand-finished by Patrik himself. And in case you can’t find something to resonate with you, the brand also offers customized handcrafted watches. It’s no wonder they’re a fan favorite brand and have a huge online following – yours truly included.