Posted on another forum but would like to reach a wider audience for the brand
One cannot talk about Js Watch Co without talking about the beautiful country that is Iceland, I visited during a week of heavy snowfall (without it i wouldn't have bought my Frisland God - but more on that later) and found out that Iceland had been suffering with it for about 8 weeks straight, thanks to some Geothermally heated roads and alot of road plows (and John Deere tractors fro the pavements) Iceland did not grind to a stand still (unlike our own lightweight country), Suprisingly snowfall like this is rare in Iceland - this being the biggest snow storm the island has seen since 1984. Iceland is a wonderful country with many amazing sights, i took a small collection along with me to share my experiences:
Casio Pro-trek, Ball Night train, Tag Heuer F1
Pro trek by Gošafoss waterfall, very very cold - I left it on the side 2 minutes and the temperature dropped from 28 degrees to what you see here
The view from our hotel - Hotel Laxnes (about half hour drive from central Reykjavik), Mountains on all sides.
Icelandics are better drivers - Our mini-van had standard tires (Family owned company IG tours were fabulous, although the cheapest on the island, the tour bus managed to stop at twice as many places as the major tour operators we saw)
The view from the only road to the Airport
A view from the Mid Atlantic Ridge
The Northern Lights, very bright in 2012 due to solar storms - the missus's reason for the holiday, mine is below these photos ;)
A visit to JS watch Co
Js watch co's slogan is 'the worlds smallest watch company', this is probably true as you can see below (Gilberts), the shop in the 101 district of Reykjavik looks like it can only hold around 10 customers and its workshop is half that size again:
The team which comprises of Sigurdur Gilbertsson watch-mechanic, Julius Heidarsson pilot, Grimkell Sigurthsson designer and Gilbert O. Gudjonsson Master Watchmaker are rightly proud of their little brand, which has built up a respectable fan base of celebrities and watch collectors alike:
Gilbert with Movie Directors Eli Roth (who now owns 2 JS's), Quentin Tarrentino and Gilberts Son Sigurdur. Also with Viggo Mortensen. Jude Law, The Dalai-Lama and Yoko Ono are also owners.
We stayed in Iceland for a week and visited the shop on a tuesday (with a return flight on the thursday), i spoke in Length to Gilbert and he showed me all the models on offer aswell as his workshop, how his regulator worked, the water pressure testers and the cleaning and servicing machines he uses on all the watches (Gilbert told me he can strip and service a 2824 in around minutes), Gilbert has such great passion and enthusiasm for his job and company that you can't help but get caught up in his ideals. Three watches from the collection caught my eye the most:
The Frisland God, The SIF N.A.R.T diver and the 101 dress watch, all on the recently added steel mesh bracelet (available since mid 2011 i believe)
As there is not much information about the brand or live photos of its models i took some more photos for others to see, The Sif N.A.R.T - changed slightly since its first incarnation, now with red seconds hand:
(MY F1 with the coast gaurd ship on which a fleet of SIF NA.R.T watches now sail- it being the chosen watch of the Icelandic Coast guard)
The stunning 101:
and its highly detailed movement (shared by most JS models):
All three blew my mind, the quality is very high (although so is the price some may say), Pics do not do justice (especially mine).
After handling all three for quite a while i just couldn't decide which one i wanted and so left empty handed! ](*,). That night i have to say i bacame a very sad individual - i couldn't sleep because i regretted not buying one!....The next day we had a tour booked that lasted into the night (well past closing time for Gilbert and Sigurdur) and the day after we were had an early flight back home....i had missed my chance to own a JS watch :(.
Then....a miracle (sort of)! The one and only road to the airport had been shut off due to extreme snow which the road ploughs could not easily shift. Our flight was put back to 11 45 from 9am. By the time the (long, long, looong) road re opened that day we were close to the airport, we got to our flight with half hour to spare but we were not allowed on the plane and it departed without us.
After some argueing (we were not the only ones to miss our flight) we were offered room at a local hotel and a return the next day (Icelandic express only have one flight back to the UK a day :? ) so guess what we did? Yep back to Gilbert and Sigurdur to buy me a JS Frisland God :D
JS watch Co Frisland Goš
The JS Frisland God is not the only watch to use volcanic ash as a dial, there is also the Romain Jerome Eyjlafjallajokull:
Not suprisingly this was also on sale in Iceland (a bit further down the street at a rolex, tudor dealership. As a side about watch buying in Iceland i noticed the country is dominated by Tissot, Certina and Reymond Weil with major brands such as Breitling only available at the airport) I found the Romain Jerome woefully unimpressive - looking almost plastic in reality and so on to the Frisland God then.
The Frisland Gods ash for the dial also comes from the volcano Eyjlafjallajokull (the only Icelandic word i learnt in my time out there - it is a notoriously hard language to learn) that errupted in 2010- causing all manner of chaos:
So far about 10 Gods have been made but the production run is not limited. All JS watches are however, very limited in execution. For example less than 1500 Frisland cases have been made since the companies inception. The story behind the watch from the people who made it:
About the name, I can only say that it is in line with our philosophy i.e. the names of our watches mean something in historical, social and even artistic sense...and we enjoy coming up with the story“s and the names alike. The production run has not been decided, if we look at volcanic activity in Iceland through history I am pretty sure that we will have no shortage of ASH!! But the production is quite complicated so that will be the deciding factor. The price is in line with Frisland plus the added cost of the dial, we have been trying to keep the prices stable for the last few years.
The story behind the watch is a story of enthusiasm, friendship, talent and the Christmas spirit (you look puzzled!). We sent our dial-maker ash from Eyjafjallajökull and a book about the volcano (plus some chocolates, of course) for Christmas to show to his kids. Him being a talented watch enthusiast found a way to make a dial from the ash, we had earlier decided not to jump on the volcano marketing bandwagon. When seeing the magnificent texture and finish on the dial we thought this was too good not to go ahead with. We were sitting at the JS Watch co. headquarters (my kitchen) drinking coffee and speculating on a name and story to compliment the dial when my uncle, a retired schoolteacher came by for a cup. He came up with the idea that in pagan times Icelanders believed that when a volcano erupted the GOŠ were angered with us humans. Hence the name.
JS Watch co
And so onto the pictures: