June 3, 2012
by Ariel Adams
JS Watch Co. is Iceland’s premier watch maker based out of Reykjavik. Though I can’t say for sure if they are Iceland’s only watch maker. As small brands go, they have done some nice things and their latest offering is a special product for them. It really takes the Icelandic heritage to a new level, combining a range of design features and cultural elements. This is the JS Watch Frisland God Special Edition timepiece.
Watch lovers will recognize a few elements that they have seen before. Good elements that bear repeating. The dial of the Frisland God watch is made from volcano ash. Which volcano? Oh you know which Volcano. None other than the now famous and still unpronounceable Eyjafjallajökull. Romain Jerome deserves credit for being the first brand to do a dial with ash from the Volcano after the little incident back in 2010. Over the black ash are printed hour indicators and text. It is hard to tell but the hands are actually rose gold (with applied luminant).
Using medieval (and prior) Iceland history, JS Watch came up with an attractive design to engrave all over the 42mm wide steel case of the Frisland God piece. According to the brand they spent a lot of time looking at old Icelandic artifacts for inspiration. On one side of the case is space for an engraving in the ancient Höfðaletur font. It says “Iceland” by default, but JS Watch recommends that each customer order a custom engraving (such as their name) to be spelled out in Höfðaletur (no, I don’t know how to pronounce that either) text.
The obvious watches to compare this to are the engraved pieces from New Zealand watch maker Magrette. They have produced a number of watches with New Zealand Maori style engravings such as the Kupe’s Voyage that I reviewed here a while back. Even the theme of the watches themselves are similar, combining art and a little retro sport aesthetics.
Inside the Frisland God watch is an automatic movement with a day and date complication. JS Watch doesn’t indicate it as being Swiss, but I think that their other watches use Swiss movements – so it probably is. You can see that the automatic rotor is also nicely hand-engraved. The movement is actually a day/date movement with the day of the week indicator being closer to 9 o’clock. It sure doesn’t look to be in English either. Maybe that is a special order. The strap that comes with the watch is Teju lizard skin, but an alligator strap is also available. Really a cool watch if you are into Icelandic or engraved items. A nice step for the brand that really does capture the culture and place they are from. Depending on the customized engraving, price will be between 9,000 – 10,000 Euros. For more info or to order go here.