If You Don't Know the Danish Brand Georg Jensen, You Should
At the Baselworld watch expo, associate editor Stephen Pulvirent and I were looking at the offerings from watchmaker, jeweler, and housewares designer Georg Jensen. Admiringly, Stephen described the new collection as, "so clean and the right amount of weird."
That's basically the entirety of the 111-year-old Danish watch and jewelry house in eight simple words. The clean-with-a-twist aesthetic is what Georg Jensen excels at. Its founder, and the cast of impeccably creative design collaborators who followed him, all have favored Scandinavian lines and simplified functionality. With a splash of weird, or Art Nouveau, of course.
I caught up with the brand while in Switzerland for Baselworld, the company's first showing at the premier watch and jewelry expo in five years, and here are a few of my favorite finds from its stellar new, soon-to-be-released collection.
Koppel Grande Date Annual Calendar
The Koppel men's watch, which made its debut in 1977, is a perfect example of the less-is-more Danish aesthetic for which Jensen is famous. The 2015 class is no exception, thanks to the inclusion of three new mechanical designs. My favorite (from Jensen, of course, but also from the show as a whole) was the Grande Date Annual Calendar in 18k rose gold on a brown, alligator strap. The simple dial features lightly applied dots instead of numerals, which is an elegant and understated Georg Jensen trademark, and adds a highly streamlined annual calendar mechanism (which was created by the esteemed Dubois Depraz makers in La Vallee de Joux). The overall design of this watch is superb. ($16,500, georgjensen.com)
Georg Jensen x Gemfields Runa Necklace
In collaboration with Gemfields, the London-based mining company known for its responsibly sourced colored gemstones, Jensen launched its first line of high-end jewelry. Standouts from the new collection include the Runa necklace, which was inspired by the Swedish master jeweler and longtime design collaborator, Vivianna Torun. Anchored by a Zambian emerald, the necklace features a cascade of three stones set in brilliant yellow gold. Torun created a similar design (named after her mother) for her longtime friend, the artist Pablo Picasso, in the late 1960s. ($295,000, georgjensen.com)
Aura Silver and Ebony Bangle
The Aura bangle, from the brand's Archive Collection, is given a subtle design upgrade with the addition of ebony to its traditionally solid silver frame. The sculptural piece, which again showcases the house's Scandinavian minimalism, is also available as a neckring and also in solid yellow gold. ($1,500, georgjensen.com)