Iceland certainly takes their football seriously, or so it seems from looking at recent releases by Icelandic watchmaker JS Watch Co. The Reykjavik-based brand celebrated their national team securing a spot in the UEFA Euro 2016 championships with the aptly-named Euro MMXVI Limited Edition watch (covered here), and it seems that was just the tip of the iceberg for this nation’s emerging talent for the sport, if you’ll forgive a somewhat smug weather pun from someone writing in Sydney. This year the Icelandic national football team (or soccer, for the Aussie and American readers) has qualified for its first ever FIFA World Cup, and to celebrate the brand have released the JS Watch Co. World Cup MMXVIII Limited Edition watch of which 300 units will be available from May 2018, sans the first 30 units which have been reserved for the team members themselves.

The JS Watch Co. World Cup MMXVIII Limited Edition watch exudes both sporty and dressy vibes, with a clean galvanic silver dial and lance-style rhodium plated hands lending the model elegance, counterbalanced by a blue minute track with red “half-time” designation for the last 15 minutes, prominent “World Cup” branding at 6 o’clock, and the bright red Arabic numeral “12” taking front stage near the top of the dial. The brand tells us this design cue was inspired by the “Tólfan” (“The Twelve”), a collective term for the Icelandic fans who are considered to be the 12th player in the team.

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A close inspection of the “World Cup” branding will also reveal a reversed “R,” a nod to this year’s FIFA World Cup host country Russia. Another small yet significant detail is the “Fyrir Ísland” text at 6 o’clock, which translates as “For Iceland” and is apparently also featured on the Icelandic team’s shirt labels. A date window has been squeezed in at 3 o’clock, which I could easily have done without for this watch. While the date is a useful complication for daily wear, personally I feel its inclusion here detracts from an otherwise mostly harmonious design.

The case of the JS Watch Co. World Cup MMXVIII Limited Edition is rather large at 43.3mm, but is also slender at 9.5mm, making this a watch which should slip under a shirt cuff easily. The case is individually serial numbered between the lugs, and features a soccer ball engraving on the crown decorated with blue ceramic for the ball’s pentagon pattern. It is made of 316L “surgical grade” German stainless steel with a polished finish, covered with a curved sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on the inside and featuring a sapphire exhibition caseback, through which the Swiss-made movement is revealed.

The brand haven’t disclosed which specific calibre they’re using, aside from it being “Execution Top” which has been adjusted to 5 positions (I’m assuming this refers to a “Top Grade” ETA calibre, likely the 2824-2) and features automatic winding, 25 jewels, a 38-hour power reserve, Incabloc shock protection and custom decoration with blued screws and a rhodium-plated finish. Water resistance is rated at a respectable 5 ATM (approximately 50m), and the watch comes with a variety of 22mm strap options including Calf, Ostrich, Ostrich leg, or Genuine Alligator with either a “JS Watch Co. Reykjavik” tang buckle or an optional deployant clasp.

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Overall the JS Watch Co. World Cup MMXVIII Limited Edition is a rather handsome watch, although the model’s appeal will likely be limited to fans of the sport and those of Icelandic heritage. The soccer ball with blue ceramic engraving decorating the crown is perhaps pushing the theme a tad too far, however the polished case with curved lugs and slim profile lend an elegance to this watch one doesn’t expect from such a strongly sports-oriented timepiece. The JS Watch Co. World Cup MMXVIII Limited Edition is priced at 3,220 for international orders, which is fairly steep for a piece with such niche appeal. But if you happen to be a devoted fan of the Icelandic football team and want a chance to wear the same commemorative watch the players themselves will be wearing, this is your chance.

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