In 1977, Georg Jensen launched The Koppel, its first wristwatch for men (although it also looks good on women). Designed by Henning Koppel, it was – like everything the Danish maestro did – an exercise in reducing components to their essence. It featured a clear white enamel dial, delicate dots instead of numerals and fine, delicate hands.
What it lacked was modern mechanical movements. These have been imported into three new Koppel watches launched by Georg Jensen earlier this year. The Mechanical Hand Wound Small Seconds, the GMT Power Reserve, and the Grande Date Annual Calendar are the first in a series of Koppel collections, and more will follow.
The Koppel GMT Power Reserve takes its inspiration from Koppel’s first horological endeavour: a clock for Danish design house Louis Poulsen & Company in the early 1970s. The new version features an automatic world time indicator in a separate dial. The Grande Date Annual Calendar model has date and month additions, and the Mechanical Hand Wound Small Seconds comes with a sub-dial featuring a seconds hand. Curved crystal windows, alligator skin straps and improved water resistance bring all three bang up to date.
Born in Denmark in 1918, Koppel trained as a painter and sculptor at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. Throughout his career, he collaborated with Scandinavia’s leading manufacturers, designing glassware for Kastrup and Orrefors and porcelain pieces for Bing and Grondahl and Royal Copenhagen, but it was with Georg Jensen that he had the strongest ties. Between 1946 and his death in 1981 he reshaped entirely the aesthetics of the silverware brand, creating cutlery, tableware, silver hollowware, (which today fetches six figures at auction) – and watches.
Georg Jensen CEO David Chu says: ‘I knew that to evolve these Koppel designs would take discipline; to add complications was always going to be a challenge. But I believe we have succeeded in creating a new generation of Georg Jensen watches while keeping the spirit of these designs alive.’