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Interview with Charlotte Jorst of Skagen

Skagen Watch Talk

I was recently contacted by the public relations firm from Skagen, a Danish company that’s been producing minimal dress watches for many years. Several of my friends wear them happily, so when they offered us a chance to email questions to co-founder Charlette Jorst (pictured) I was happy to accept.

As a bit of background, Skagen watches are typically quite slim, with a characteristic spare face and quartz movement. Most are dress-type watches that make good all-around wearers, and are very well priced at under $200. As such, they seem excellent candidates for Watch Report.

Their PR firm has also loaned a couple of watches for review, so please keep an eye out for those here on WatchReport.

Can you tell us a bit about the history of how Skagen watches came to be?

My husband and I started pounding the pavement in New York City with watches that companies could add their logo to.  The designs of the watches were received really well, and many vendors wanted the watches without a company logo, that they could sell at a retail level; and thus, Skagen Denmark watches came to fruition.

A look at the Skagen line shows a focus on clean, minimal designs, often very thin. Can you describe your design aesthetic?

What’s most important to you in the design of a watch? Organic design and simplicity are the most recognizable features of our products and represent a staple of modern, minimalist design. Our watches are well known for their slim design and manufacturing excellence.

Skagen seems to keep affordability firmly in mind. Do you ever consider going upscale with, say, precious metals, sapphire crystals, or similar? 

What many customers don’t know is that these upscale ideals that you discuss are actually already a part of the Skagen Denmark line.  For instance, we feature genuine diamonds on our ladies watches in the Swiss Movement Watch Collection.  And the price point for those timepieces is still very affordable.

According to your company history, you overcame significant obstacles as a company. Can you share some of those with our readers? 

While we were still in New York starting out, our first big customer, who bought 300 of our watches, went bankrupt and didn’t pay us for the product. We saw a silver lining in the situation because he sold out of all the watches so fast.  We knew we were on to something at that point, and persevered.

2009 is the 20th anniversary of Skagen. Do you have special collections or models to announce?

We have designed collector’s edition watches in stainless steel.  They are elegant, slim and signature Skagen.  They will be numbered and will have our signatures on the back.  We will launch these watches in stores in our Fall 2009 Collection, so you will have to stay tuned for more information!

You’ve made watches with quartz movements to date. Do you plan to introduce solar powered quartz or mechanical models? 

Skagen launched Automatic Movement watches in 2007 with a great response from our Asian and European markets.  We also launched Radio Controlled watches in Europe.  Development on the latest technologies is always a goal of ours.

How do you get feedback from your customers? Do you have forums online? 

We have a terrific following of loyal customers.  They submit their testimonials at our website, www.skagen.com.  And to honor our loyal fans for 20 years of support, we will be launching a customer contest next year, where people can tell us their story, about how Skagen Denmark products have
inspired or influenced their lives.  The winners will get a trip to Skagen, Denmark!

Anything else you’d like to tell our readers? 

Skagen also has a line of stainless steel jewelry and a collection of sunglasses that are being well-received internationally.  We are launching a line of wall clocks in Fall 2009 .  It is our dream to see Skagen on everyone’s wrists, and now on the walls of everyone’s homes!

By Paul Hubbard

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