In a previous blog post I mentioned my family’s Norwegian roots. The family name ‘Rockne’ came from a group of my ancestors centered around Voss, Norway. So, naturally, I have a fondness for Norwegian art, culture and timepieces.
Von Doren was founded by Oyvind VonDoren Asbjornsen and the watches have a distinctive, high-quality aesthetic with a nod to vintage style. Soon, the company will be officially launching the Grandmaster Mark II, a unique and elegant watch with a robust yet refined design.
We sat down with Von Doren’s creator to get a better feel for this innovative company and its boldly elegant product line.
Q: How would you describe the Von Doren watch aesthetic?
A: Clean lines, Art Nouveau inspired distinct design with a touch of vintage flair.
Q: What was your inspiration for the Grandmaster Mark II?
A: The Grandmaster Mark II is inspired by the game of chess. This, in my opinion, handsome timepiece reflects the game of chess itself – it is a resounding victory born of patience and the application of knowledge and skill.
Q: Tell us about the first time you envisioned the Von Doren Watch Company.
A: It all started at the age of 12, when I inherited my great-grandfather’s Swiss watch. I spent countless hours reading and becoming more and more fascinated about the universe of watches. I soon realised that I wanted to make my own one day. I wanted to create something that lasts. Something that can transcend generations and will be passed on for my children’s children when I’m gone. So that they might experience the same awe and fascination that i did.
In these days, with the digital revolution and all that, where one innovation succeeds the other, constantly creating obsolete products and over consuming – I love the idea of creating a product that consists of quality mechanical parts, something concrete. A product which is unaffected by the technological innovation race, but based on almost 100 year old fine mechanical engineering – product with a soul and heart, an open one, that is.
Q: What is your daily inspiration?
A: Art, passion and craftsmanship of high standards. For example we have entered a cooperation with what might be Norway’s most renowned strap maker; Atelier Petrov. This Oslo based leather-master; Mr. Petrov has made a limited amount of very high quality luxury straps. Working together with him in his atelier was also very inspiring.
I can also be inspired by a beautiful game of chess and film and literature.
Q: What surprises are in store for fans of Von Doren?
A: As we recently launched our limited edition Grandmaster Mark II – this will naturally be in focus for a while. The watch is limited to 200 open heart and 300 regular dials. As we only created these few, I feel I almost have a personal connection to them, and therefore it’s important for me that the right people buy them. By that i mean that a person purchasing a Von Doren timepiece can appreciate the time and effort put down in creating them. That they can value the design aesthetics of it. That this is a watch that will be taken good taken care of, and used – And not locked down in a bank-box somewhere. But as far as surprises goes, we like to keep them as just that – surprises. But i can reveal that we are playing with the idea of a watch that would work very well below sea level….
Q: What is the state of the luxury watch industry in Norway right now?
A: The way I see it, this a growing market. For a lot of people there has been an increased interest in the horology-field. The challenge earlier years was that people had nowhere to go, or to talk to, but now with social media, It’s much easier for people to connect – I’ll give the digital revolution some credit as such.
Q: Finally, what one quality must every artist possess?
A: Passion – A profound passion and patience is a must. If you’re in it for anything else, it most likely will fail. If you are driven by the ambition for profit or fame i don’t think you will last long. Passion and, of course skill, and a will to excel is the most important.
To learn more about VonDoren watches, visit vondoren.com