Michelsen Arctic Explorer by Michelsen Watchmakers (The Official Timepiece of the Solo to the South Pole Expedition)

Iceland based watch business group Michelsen Watchmakers has unveiled the Michelsen Arctic Explorer timepiece, which is dedicated to frequent travelers and outdoor enthusiasts. This model features the traditional three hands and a calendar but with an additional 24-hour hand and a rotatable bezel. These features allow the wearer to read three different time zones, two of which work simultaneously and the third one to figure out time difference.

The 42mm watch case is made from high quality 316L stainless steel. The steel case is tough and waterproof, a feature tailored specifically to the requirements of outdoor enthusiasts. The white dial is highly visible with big numerals and indexes while the unique arrow-shaped hands are robust and black, which creates great contrast against the dial to maximize clarity. The movement is automatic and was chosen specifically for this expedition due to its high reliability (ETA 2893-A2 Top execution). The selected movement is resistant to extreme cold and the lubricating oils can withstand temperatures up to -50°C. This renders the movement’s accuracy more precise compared to standard movements. A nylon strap was chosen for maximum comfort and its incredible strength.

Three dial colors are available – white, black and blue.  The white dial is highly visible with its robust black hands, which creates great contrast against the dial to maximize clarity. The 24-hour hand features an orange arrowhead.

The black dial has all the attributes of a sport watch yet elegant and classy, so it fits every occasion. The 24-hour hand features a green arrowhead. The blue dial stands out from the crowd, being not as traditional as the white and black dials.

Various strap options are also available. The watch is delivered with a leather strap and a strong nylon strap or a high quality Italian made rubber strap is provided as a standard offering. Several versions of handmade leather straps in calfskin, shark or highly unique Icelandic spotted wolffish skin are available.

Solo to the South Pole expedition
On January 17th, Miss Vilborg Arna Gissurardóttir, an intrepid young Icelandic explorer, finished her solo expedition to the South Pole. This incredible journey took Ms Gissurardóttir 60 days and she covered a total of 1’140 kilometers (19 km per day) in harsh and challenging weather conditions such as strong headwinds, treacherous skiing conditions, zastrugi and temperatures of approximately -40°C. She was the first Icelander and only the 9th woman in history to walk to the South Pole alone without any outside help. To survive such a journey, you must depend on solid and trustworthy gear. With this in mind, Ms Gissurardóttir appointed Michelsen Watchmakers to provide her with a reliable timepiece to help her keep track of the time.

Miss Gissurardóttir was equipped with a Arctic Explorer watch presented by the masterwatchmaker Frank Michelsen, owner of Michelsen Watchmakers. After the completion of her journey, Ms Gissurardóttir complimented the Arctic Explorer about its performance and reliability.

Michelsen Watchmakers
The story of Michelsen Watchmakers goes back to 1909, when the first Michelsen watchmaker established his business in a small town in the northern part of Iceland under the Michelsen name. Eventually, this family enterprise became one of the leading watch companies in Iceland. The Michelsens are known for their professionalism and excellent craftsmanship, which has given them a solid reputation as their more than 100 years of history, confirms where the knowledge and the know-how have been passed on from one generation to another.

In the spacious Michelsen shop at Laugavegur, the main shopping street in Reykjavik, they offer a wide assortment of many internationally known watch brands such as the world famous Rolex, RJ-Romain Jerome, Tudor, Movado and their own brand, Michelsen Watchmakers. Among other well known brands they have Rosendahl, Armani and Jorg Gray to name a few. In jewellery the Michelsens offer an excellent selection from Scandinavias‘most famous designer, Georg Jensen, and of course Icelandic designed and handcrafted jewellery in silver and gold.

On December 1st 2009, to mark the centenary of Michelsen Watchmakers in Iceland, the shop launched their first anniversary watch under the name MICHELSEN WATCHMAKERS. This series was featured in a numbered and limited edition of 100 pieces. The Anniversary watch series was outstandingly successful so the project was kept alive. For the initial three models, the Michelsens worked with an established Swiss brand but the Arctic Explorer is the first watch designed by their own watchmakers. All Michelsen watches contain high quality Swiss mechanical movements and all components are manufactured from high quality materials widely used in the watchmaking industry. As a further testament to their standards of craftsmanship, exotic materials are occasionally offered, for instance the handmade Icelandic spotted wolffish straps.

Reykjavik 1909 collection was launched in 2009 on their centenary and it marked a new beginning for the company. It was the first watch production from Michelsen Watchmakers for over 70 years. They were made in a limited, numbered edition and priced very reasonably. Their third collection, 64°N/22°W is named after Reykjavik’s official geographical coordinates. These exclusive watches were made in a limited, numbered edition of 333 pieces, 111 pieces of each colour of dial; black, silver and lava-grey.


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