Monday, March 9, 2015

Georg Jensen Koppel Watch - 45 Years of Danish Design & Swiss Watchmaking Precision

Georg Jensen has been designing watches in Denmark since the mid-century. Its first timepiece, the Vivianna Bangle watch, was launched with a hand wound Chopard movement in 1969. Georg Jensen presented its first men’s watch in 1977 – the Koppel – named after the artist who designed it, Henning Koppel, one of the house’s prolific collaborators.

With its stainless steel case, clean dial and finely engineered lugs and hands, the Koppel is an expertly considered horological lesson in understatement. It established Henning Koppel as a watch designer of note, while establishing Georg Jensen as a leader in minimalist and pure watch design.Basel World 2015 marks another seminal year for Georg Jensen, as the brand evolves to include fine watchmaking with three mechanical Koppel designs: The Koppel GMT Power Reserve, The Koppel Mechanical Hand Wound Small Seconds, and The Koppel Grande Date Annual Calendar. These three watches mark a return to the minimal designs of Henning Koppel, while looking to the future with new complications.
Georg Jensen has partnered with two of the most respected Swiss movement manufacturers to develop these exceptional new additions to the timepiece collection. The new Koppel range of watches is the culmination of a two-year designand-development programme, and marks the first in a series of Koppel watch collections, steered by CEO David Chu. From a creative standpoint, they remain true to Koppel’s original vision, offering clean, refined dials that exude the essence of Scandinavian style. Imbued with Georg Jensen’s design sensibility, the Koppel remains a modernist statement.

It was in 1946 that Georg Jensen approached Henning Koppel. A painter and sculptor trained at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. Koppel later worked in Paris, but struggled to gain commercial success. When he was asked to join the Georg Jensen silversmithy in Copenhagen and offer his sculptural take on silverware, he accepted on condition that he would be able to design according to his own modernist view. His request granted, Koppel began reshaping the brand’s design language. In so doing, he ushered in a new era of sculptural Scandinavian functionalism. In 1977, he created the first men’s wristwatch for Georg Jensen: The Koppel. The impossibly clean lines of the original watch case, clear white enamel dial, lightly applied dots instead of numerals and elegant hands – also designed by Koppel – have rendered it a design classic and a favourite among designers and watch aficionados. Just as when it was first launched in 1977, the Koppel continues Georg Jensen’s mid-century ideas of modernism in craft. Henning Koppel’s highly considered approach, so evident in his eponymous Georg Jensen watch, was to focus on beauty in its purest form. Like all renowned product designers, Koppel’s mission was to make everyday objects as beautiful as they are practical. Today, the name ‘Henning Koppel’ is a byword for exceptional Danish design.

That vision continues to inform the Danish luxury house today and the simple elegance that defines the three new watch designs for 2015: the Koppel Mechanical Hand Wound Small Seconds, the Koppel GMT Power Reserve, and the Koppel Grande Date Annual Calendar.

New for Basel World 2015, the original stainless steel Koppel watch has been carefully updated, while remaining true to its Scandinavian style. Fitted with the mechanical hand wound ETA 7001 movement, this new Koppel model is subtly enhanced with a simple sub-dial at the 6 o’clock position featuring the small seconds hand. This careful addition to the 38mm watch dial accents Henning Koppel’s Danish design with a classic Swiss watchmaking touch.

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