'We don't have to compromise': exploring the Scandinavian design styling of Bravur watches
Clean, minimalist forms paired with considered detailing place the young, Swedish watch brand Bravur firmly in the tradition of Scandinavian design. The duo behind the brand, Magnus Svensson and Johan Sahlin, are, unsurprisingly, industrial designers. Both became interested in watch design after failing to find timepieces that appealed to them. They subsequently left their jobs to establish their own company; Bravur launched its first collection in 2013 and a second is on its way.
'The biggest difference to working in our previous field is that, here, we don't have to compromise,' says Svensson. 'We didn't know what was possible so we could really challenge the preconceptions of the watch manufacturers we work with. It's exciting to work with a product you actually wear on your body; it's the borderline between industrial design and fashion, and that's a very nice mix for us.'
Although fully assembled in Switzerland – quartz movements included – Bravur's founders acknowledge the design debt they owe to their Swedish heritage. 'We fit in well with contemporary Scandinavian style because, as well as a minimalistic design, we utilise simple geometric shapes and the colour scale we work with is very Swedish,' Svensson points out. 'Something that is also very typical for Swedish design is that the functionality is central to the design process.'
Striking the right note between unfussy and contemporary touches, the Bravur aesthetic is uncluttered without being sparse. 'We work really hard on creating subtle details,' says Svensson. 'You hardly notice them – if they were removed, you wouldn't be able to say exactly what was missing. It's important to us to have a consistent design language throughout our collections so they're recognisable even without seeing the logo.'
Details that have become the cornerstone of Bravur watch design include finely cut grooves on the side of the steel case, which haven't been smoothed out entirely so as not to be too purely minimalistic (and have become something of a trademark). The dial, while clean, avoids being flat thanks to pops of colour on the hands, while other details – a hollow crown made of three parts press-fitted together, and the circular brushed metal cap at the centre of the hands – are subtle enough to not be noticed at first glance. 'We want to avoid the unnecessary but still keep a high level of detail,' Svensson adds. 'We have a strong focus on the aesthetics but also really high precision and build quality – we haven't gone for one over the other.'