September 24, 2014
by Ariel Adams
According to Gustafsson & Sjogren, the watchmaker/bladesmith combo team out of Sweden, the Bifrost represents their first dress watch collection. I sort of have to disagree with that premise, as many of their other watches could have easily seen dress watch duty (depending on your style). A good example is the superlative Gustafsson & Sjogren Winter Nights watches (hands-on here) that combine a lot of design and watchmaking nerd appeal.
Having said that, the upcoming Bifrost collection will certainly suffice as a casual or dress watch, if you feel that one of Johan Gustafsson’s “high contrast” individually-made Damascus steel dials is suitable to pair with your suit. As is their custom, each new watch collection from Gustafsson & Sjogren (aka, GoS Watches) begins with an individual model which will later be followed up with others that feature varying dial styles and possibly colors. Using various techniques and acids, the hand-forged Damascus steel dials can be rendered in a variety of manners.
The first of the Gustafsson & Sjogren Bifrost watches is the Gustafsson & Sjogren Bifrost Isbla (which apparently means “ice blue”), and it is a beauty. You can see that a lot of the watch is done in Damascus steel from the dial to the case, crown, and automatic rotor in the mechanical movement. The hands and hour markers on the Gustafsson & Sjogren Bifrost Isbla watch are in 18k white gold.
Gustafsson & Sjogren refers to the Damascus steel used on this watch as “high contrast” because as of last year they claim to have perfected a new technique that allows the details and grain of Damascus steel to be much bolder and visible compared to some of their previous work and that of their competitors around the world. Gustafsson & Sjogren watches will use this high contrast material for elements such as the dial, and I believe components such as the case will use the more traditional Damascus steel that is a bit more subtle and elegant.
One of the reasons that the brand refers to the Gustafsson & Sjogren Bifrost Isbla as a dress watch is because of its relatively smaller size. Most GoS watches are about 44mm wide, while the Bifrost collection will be a bit smaller at just 42.5mm wide. That still isn’t small, but it should make the Gustafsson & Sjogren Bifrost more wearable as a dress piece with a suit. At 9.5mm thick, the Gustafsson & Sjogren Bifrost is, more importantly, relatively thin.
Another “dress watch feature” in GoS’ opinion is the simple brushed bezel of the Gustafsson & Sjogren Bifrost. This element is attractive and helps emphasize the design of the icy blue Damascus steel dial more than the case or other elements. Attached to the case is a comfortable and attractive black nubuck leather strap.
Inside the watch is a modified Swiss Soprod A-10 automatic movement. I like how Gustafsson & Sjogren didn’t try to dress up the name of the base caliber at all. In fact, they don’t even claim that it is modified even though the movement does have a custom Damascus steel rotor design to look like the GoS “triskele” logo – which is certainly one of the more awesome design elements of the watch. GoS further claims that each of the movements inside of the Gustafsson & Sjogren Bifrost watches are regulated to be within chronometer grade.
Future Gustafsson & Sjogren Bifrost watches will have differing parts but share the same basic case and movement. GoS has even announced that upcoming models will have two-tone 18k gold and Damascus steel cases – which should prove interesting. Once again, the first of the GoS Bifrost watch is this Gustafsson & Sjogren Bifrost Isbla, and it will be limited to just 25 pieces at a price of $13,500. goswatches.com