Danish Design Comes to a Wrist Near You
Words/Photography: Me / Models: Melissa Martel / Doncommando
There’s a place in every wardrobe for items of great design, and I’d posit to you that such a description is fitting for the Philosopher collection by Nordgreen. Styled by notable Scandinavian designer, Jakob Wagner, Nordgreen watches are meant to embody excellent style with an overarching focus on sustainability and social responsibility.
Nordgreen is a young microbrand with three collections: Infinity, Native, and Philosopher. All share a similar design language, though each is subtly unique in their own way. The two Philosophers I have here – sized 36mm and 40mm – are indeed quite attractive. More on that in a moment.
Priced at around $220 each, the Philosopher is on the higher-end of the entry-level quartz price range. At this price, you’re getting an acceptably made watch with a mineral crystal and a heavy emphasis on design. Let’s take a closer look.
Disclosure: Nordgreen provided both Philosophers at no-cost for this feature.
Nordgreen Philosopher Technical Specifications
- Model Number: Silver & Black / White & White
- MSRP: $220
- Case Diameter: 40mm & 36mm
- Alternate Models: Additional color schemes
- Movement: Quartz
- Complications: Date Display
- Battery Life: Approximately 5-6 years
- Water Resistance: 30m / 99ft
- Crystal Material: Mineral
Handsome in All Colors & Sizes
As Melissa and Don show in this post, the Philosopher is a good-looking collection. Both sizes are attractive and easy to wear, though my preference is actually for the 36mm over the 40mm as its smaller diameter helps it feel minimal without looking empty.
Out of the three collections, the Philosopher is my favorite. It has the most depth without being busy or resorting to flashy cues to grab the eye. It feels very well proportioned, with the grooved outer ring housing the raised steel indices, both of which sit slightly higher than the rest of the dial. Each surface looks flat but is enriched with a subtle texture.
The Philosopher is the only collection with a seconds hand, and its this hand that lends a sophisticated touch to the dial. The asymmetrical hand starts wide but thins approximately 1/3 its length from the center column. Compared to the rest of the dial, which is symmetrical and evenly rounded, the second’s hand is a key differentiator and the Philosopher’s defining element.
Also unique to the Philosopher is the inclusion of a date window at 3 o’clock, which balances the asymmetry somehwat. Jakob did a good job styling these watches.
What I appreciate most about the Philosopher is its use of texture. The stainless steel case is highly polished, the hour and minute hands are a reflective grey, the seconds hand is a slightly glossy light grey, the inner dial has a paper-like texture, and the outer edge is grooved. The indices are a matte stainless steel and are, for the most part, finished well.
No one component stands out, but all benefit when the watch is viewed as a whole.
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Who is Nordgreen & What Are They All About?
Nordgreen is a Danish brand that was founded by two lifelong friends, Pascar and Vasilij, that is focused on sustainable design. The brand emphasizes Danish culture, particularly the component of social responsibility and environmental sustainability. These are great qualities for a brand to pursue, and Nordgreen makes them foundational to their brand identity.
When you purchase a watch you are given the option to choose which of three charitable organizations some of the proceeds will go to support. Once you register your serial number, you can choose to support providing clean water to central Africa (via Water for Good), education initiatives in India (via Pratham UK), or rainforest preservation in Latian America (via Cool Earth).
Then there’s the relationship with Jakob Wagner, the designer that penned each of Nordgreen’s collections. He is known for his design work with high-end brands and stylish products and has been recognized with numerous design awards. You can see elements of his design philosophy carried through to all his work: smooth shapes that feel organic but are made sophisticated via smart use of color, texture, and typography.
A Sophisticated Accompaniment for Any Wrist
A young brand, it will be fun to watch Nordgreen grow and mature as it gains notoriety in the market. Their watches are nothing particularly new, nor are they value-packed from a technical perspective. They are a purposeful celebration of design, and there’s a premium that comes with that.
Priced at $220 regardless of size, some may find the premium Nordgreen asks for to be a bit steep considering the basic materials and movements used. If that is all you evaluate a watch by, then you’ll probably find the excellent style and thematic design underwhelming.
But I believe that there’s more to a watch than just what it’s made with, and for someone looking for something sophisticated to wear that is also subtle and reserved, the Philosopher may well be the stand-out piece in their collection.
It’s fashion that feels good, and not just because Nordgreen is committed to leaving a positive footprint in the global community, but also because the Philosopher is just a genuinely good looking watch.