Next we meet Jorn Werdelin, Co-Founder of Linde Werdelin, a brand founded by Jorn, a former investment banker, and his life-long friend Morten Linde, a product designer.
The origins of Linde Werdelin go back to the 1970’s when the two boys met in primary school and quickly became lifelong friends. Morten’s family was in the furniture retail business and Jorn’s father was a third generation watch and jewellery retailer.
We are delighted to share Jorn’s views on the business and future direction of the company in these difficult and challenging times.
MWM: How is business?
JW: It’s actually not too bad! The main reason is that back in 2015 we had our own ‘coronavirus moment’ when the luxury retail sector took a sharp downturn – we actually grew by 40-50% in the year.
There was huge uncertainty but we dug ourselves ‘out of a hole’ by re-thinking (pivoting) our business. We focused on ‘direct to customer’ sales which was much more sustainable. We have also launched our pre-owned offering and servicing our current customers is paramount.
MWM: What are you currently working on?
JW: We have just launched our latest collaboration with James Thompson AKA Black Badger – the Oktopus Blue Sea (below). We are now planning our launches for 2021. We try and do up to 6 series per year. There is something quite different and special planned for May – this will be connected with the ‘actual universes’ we work in, such as sustainability.
MWM: Tell us something we don’t know about Linde Werdelin?
JW: The forerunner to the SpidoLite collection – inspired by a team of explorers climbing Mount Everest – the ‘Trigon’ which was created from existing titanium cases in a limited series of 20 pieces in 2008. They were sold exclusively online and have never been seen again!
MWM: Which watch do you wear?
JW: Right now I’m wearing the Oktopus Volcano designed by Johnny Dowell, inspired by the toughest terrain and crafted with the strongest material. It’s a lovely artisanal piece – each one is very individual.
MWM: Apart from your own brand, which watch would you like to own?
JW: On my bedside table is a Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso 8-day power reserve – first iconic sports watch. I also admire the Urwerk brand. They are one of the few brands that can get away with something so different.
MWM: What do you like best about the Watch business?
JW: I love the fact that a watch is such an interesting product to make. It is often a true reflection of your own views on what your watch should look and feel like. It is an industry full of interesting characters – good and bad. I enjoy the personal element and commitment to the business, you often see in the independent brand sector – mainly driven by passion. It reminds me of the good things from my childhood, as my grandfather and father were in the watch business.
MWM: What don’t you like about the Watch business?
JW: There is so much nonsense and lies about what certain people can do or achieve which is sad. This can lead to a lack of authenticity and honesty. If this wasn’t so prevalent, the industry wouldn’t be where we are now. There are too many ‘ego driven’ decisions at some of the bigger brands and groups
MWM: What is next on the horizon for you?
JW: We see a slight diversion in how people view us as a brand – we want to put the emphasis on our own universes. However, we are keen that we stay true to the work we have completed and look forward to building on what we are now doing.
Jorn Werdelin is a Friend of MrWatchMaster