A quiet, colorful city at first glance, Reykjavik bubbles with creativity—just like the geothermal activity under its feet. As the cultural hub of Iceland, the city houses every type of designer, from fashion to furniture and, in this case, watches. JS Watch Co. stands as Iceland’s only watchmaker, designing and assembling handsome timepieces in their unbelievably small workshop-meets-storefront on Laugavegur Street, Reykjavik’s main drag. Founded in 2005 by four friends—among them father and son team, Gilbert O. Gudjonsson and Sigurdur Gilbertsson—the modest company has developed a strong following, thanks in part to their clever brand identity, impressively developed in-house.
In anticipation of watch experts potentially growing anxious about the technicalities of a timepiece being “made in Iceland,” JS Watch Co. admits they only design and assemble the watches—though this is by no means easy. To match the craftsmanship to the design, the small brand works exclusively with high-quality manufacturers throughout Western Europe to secure precision Swiss movements and other essential components unable to be sourced in Iceland. Once acquired, each watch is assembled by hand in Reykjavik by master watchmaker, Gudjonsson. To further differentiate their timepieces, JS Watch co. finds inspiration in Icelandic history and contemporary culture, which is reflected in each of their designs.
For example, the classic Islandus 1919 pilot watch takes its name from the country’s first air show, which took place in 1919 as Air Iceland’s first plane embarked on its first flight. And again, the thick-rimmed SIF N.A.R.T. is designed as the official watch of the Icelandic Coast Guard, created to be reliable, durable and easily read.
With over 45 years of experience in watchmaking from Gudjonsson alone, the brand has a bright future ahead of them. Visit JS Watch Co. online to browse their styles and contact the brand directly for international purchasing inquires. See the slideshow for a closer look inside the workshop of JS Watch co.
Images by Graham Hiemstra