The northern lights are one of the most spectacular sights in the world, a beautiful and unique experience predominantly only seen around the Arctic and Antarctic regions. And the watch I’m introducing you to today is a beautiful and unique watch in the micro brand world from the Swedish brand Alf watch company; the Norrsken (stands for Northern Lights in Swedish).
Their Instagram tag line tells you what you need to know about Alf watch company; they are a Swedish micro brand selling unique mechanical watches for ordinary prices. Formed in 2015 by Samuel Petersson, he set out to do just what the tag line suggests. After 3 years of development he successfully launched the Norrsken on Kickstarter and fulfilled the orders earlier than promised. Samuel is currently working his second design, the ‘Evo’ which will be launching early 2020.
From my short time exploring watches and checking out brands on Kickstarter it is not often that I see a square automatic watch of quality. But that’s exactly what the Norrsken is. A modestly priced piece of quality on your wrist from a young company trying to make a mark in the watch world.
Powered by the Miyota 8245, a workhorse of a movement with a sub-dial that beats away at 21,600bph and has a power reserve of 42 hours but does not hack, the Norrsken has a 40mm wide 316L stainless steel case and sits very nicely on the wrist. I’ve had a few watches with the Miyota 8245 powering them before and I haven’t been a fan because of the stuttering seconds on them (although timekeeping wasn’t the problem, it was more from an aesthetic point of view), this wasn’t an issue on the Norrsken because of the sub dial. It moved smoothly around the dial happily and without stutters.
The Norrsken thankfully comes equipped with an AR-coated sapphire crystal increasing legibility even more which seems to be becoming more common in micro brands and that can only be a good thing. It only has a water resistance rating of 5ATM which is enough to withstand splashes and rain, but I certainly wouldn’t be showering with this watch on or taking it to the pool with me.
On a watch that translates as The Northern Lights the lume has to be strong and bright and I’m very happy to say that the Norrsken does not disappoint here. A little charge with a torch and the dial lights up with the beautiful Super-Luminova that the cut-out indices are filled with.
Alf watch company have decided to use a sandwich dial for the Norrsken, which was introduced into watches between the 1930s and the 1940s and was purely functional back then. It meant more luminous material could be used and the brightness improved greatly. In the case of the Norrsken (blue variant) the outer layer is a deep blue matte colour with the lumed hour hands marked around it, outside of that is the minute track. The inner layer of this dial is lighter and vertically striped giving a beautiful contrast between the two. Overall the dial is very uncluttered and appeals greatly to me, the only writing seen on the dial is the company name ‘Alf’ and the company logo which just screams Scandinavian to me. And of course, on the inner dial sits the small sub dial just slightly off to the right and does not look out of place at all here.
The whole way around the square case is the same hour markers that feature on the dial and they create a nice texture on what would normally be a smooth finish. Adorned on the ridged and easy to wind crown is the companies logo, it’s a nice size and is easy to grip and wind whenever needed.
The case back however, is rather boring, I’m assuming that because of the basic movement inside the watch, Alf watch company have decided to use a solid case back here that features the companies Scandinavian logo in the middle of it. On a nicely detailed watch the case back is not something I’ll be eager to turn over and stare at.
For me, the biggest let down on this watch was the strap. When I first seen this watch the strap was something that instantly appealed to me. The beautiful blue used on the dial features on the strap too and is nicely stitched white the whole way around. But when I got it on the wrist it felt cheap, and very stiff. It was also just slightly too big for my wrist, an extra hole was needed for it to fit better for me. At this price point it isn’t going to be perfection, so all in all a minor niggle in an otherwise excellent watch.
I really like what Alf watch company are doing; making quality watches at more affordable price points. The Norrsken is a beautiful addition in the crowded micro brand world. With a design rarely seen at this price point I think that Alf watch company are doing lots of things right and I really look forward to the 2020 release of the Evo model.
For more specs, details, and colour variations please visit Alf’s official website here.