Iceland’s oldest watch company

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Watches are our passion.

If you want to have a watch you won't see on every other wrist, we're a good choice.

Every Michelsen watch is individually tested and goes through very strict quality control, performed by our highly skilled watchmakers, Frank and Robert, to meet their high standards of quality, for your expectations to be fulfilled. At Michelsen, passion for watches and watchmaking is everything, the personal feel and exclusivity of their timepieces is evidenced by their reputation and their quality service for more than 100 years.
The process
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about

Meet the team
Frank Ú. Michelsen
Frank Ú. Michelsen
Master Watchmaker & CEO
Róbert F. Michelsen
Róbert F. Michelsen
Watchmaker & Designer
Magnús D. Michelsen
Magnús D. Michelsen
Marketing & Sales Director
Frank M. Michelsen
Frank M. Michelsen
General Manager & Finance
Why Michelsen?

Iceland is littered with active volcanoes, massive glaciers, boiling hot springs, frigid ice, northern lights and midnight sun.

Perhaps because of these extremities, the Icelandic people have flourished in creativity, culture and art. Despite being a small country with inhabitants of around 320’000, we are the home of artists such as Björk, Sigurrós and most recently the band Of Monsters and Men which is becoming a global hit.  We are home to the oldest parliament in the world.  We pride ourselves an egalitarian society upholding liberty, gender equality and human rights – home to the first female president in the world, the first openly gay prime minister and gun-free police.
Since we are also so small and peaceful, there is no need for an army but we are descendants of bloodthirsty vikings and we have won the World’s Strongest Man competition a few times, so if necessary we can fight back under leadership of one of the most loved Icelanders, Gunnar Nelson, a high-class and never-beaten mixed martial arts fighter. There might be one minor drawback in our rather unappetizing traditional food that includes fermented shark, boiled and cured ram’s testicles, singed sheep’s head and whale meat.
It was in this frigid and inhospitable landscape that the Michelsen company was founded. In 1907, a prospective young Danish watchmaker, J. Frank Michelsen, came to Iceland for work. Shortly after his arrival, he fell in love with a beautiful local maiden, and never looked back. The story says they settled down in Sauðárkrókur, North-Iceland, where J. Frank established his watchmaking company and had tons of babies with his new wife.
Lets fast forward to today so you don’t think this is some kind of a Disney love story.  We continue to be a family owned company and are into our fourth generation of watchmakers. From the beginning, the Michelsen watchmakers’ family history has been closely interwoven with the story of Icelandic trade as one of the leading watch companies in Iceland. The Michelsens are reputed for their professionalism and excellent craftsmanship. It is this professionalism and standard of craftsmanship which has kept their business running for more than 100 years where the knowledge and the know-how has been passed on from one generation to another.
Built on the bedrock of Swiss watchmaking and their watchmaking heritage, Michelsen Watchmakers is now setting out to build its own range of watches inspired by Björk, waterfalls, extreme weather and the quirkiness only possible with the Icelandic people. If you are looking for something different, exclusive and unique, in this big ocean of watch brands, a Michelsen watch could be the watch for you.
The watchmakers

J. Frank Michelsen

J. Frank originated from Denmark and was already an established watchmaker when he came to Iceland and founded the Michelsen company. J. Frank was very skilled with his hands and was curious about many things. He also worked as a goldsmith, imported and sold soap, began to breed pigs at Sauðárkrókur, his home town, and was also the chief of the village fire service. J. Frank used to sell pocket watches that carried his name but due to World War II the production came to a halt.

Franch Michelsen

Franch learned watchmaking in his father’s company and the Danish Watchmakers School in Copenhagen. He graduated with the highest mark, “ultra godt” meaning “extremely good”. After graduation, he worked for the royal watchmaker of the Danish court and repaired watches that belonged to Queen Alexandrine.

When Franch returned to Iceland in the 1940‘s, he opened another Michelsen store in Reykjavík. Franch was an excellent craftsman, known for his high skills, leadership and professionalism. He taught his trade to twelve young apprentices, including one of his sons.

Frank Ú. Michelsen

Frank learned watchmaking from his father and at the Technical College in Reykjavík. In 1978, he became the first Icelander to attend and graduate from the famous WOSTEP school in Switzerland, studied under Swiss watchmaking legend Antoine Simonin. For thirty years he had the privilege of working side by side with his father. Frank is renowned in Iceland for his quality work and friendly attitude and regularly attends refresher courses to maintain the high quality standards this trade demands. Frank was the secretary for the Icelandic Association of Watchmaking 1988 – 1998 and their chairman from 2000 – 2005.

Róbert Michelsen

With the heritage behind him, Róbert followed in the footsteps of his ancestors. Róbert, who has been picking up the trade since six years of age, graduated from WOSTEP Full Training Course with the highest score in his class. He has since become a teacher at a high-level, independent watchmaking school in Switzerland, teaching the next generation of watchmakers and learning from one of the best watchmakers. His know-how and skills, attention to quality and detail, ensures the quality of the Michelsen watches. Robert oversees the Michelsen production in Switzerland.
FAQ

Where can I buy a Michelsen watch?

At the moment our watches are exclusively sold in our shop in Reykjavík, Iceland. We sell and ship worldwide from Iceland.

How can I buy a Michelsen watch?

Michelsen watches are sold in our store and on our online store, www.michelsen.is, where you can see the prices in Icelandic Kronas (exchange rate is close to: US$1 = 120 IKR, €1 = 155 IKR). Please note that the prices include the 25.5% Icelandic VAT, which will be deducted when you go through checkout. It is possible to pay with all of the major credit cards, but for a wire transfer you have to send us an email or call us.

How does the Tax Free work?

When tourists buy a Michelsen watch in Iceland they are entitled to a 15% Tax Refund. In our store you pay for the watch which includes the VAT, we give you a Tax Free check and you claim your refund, in cash (don’t worry, the refund is not in Icelandic Kronas) or get it back in your credit card at the airport when leaving Iceland. Our partnership Tax Free company is Global Blue, the world’s largest Tax Refund provider.

How does the special export price and shipping work?

When we ship our watches overseas you don’t pay any tax in Iceland. You get 20% lower prices than when buying in shop (unless you’re entitled to Tax Free). Taxes and charges apply for your country. You pay for the shipping to your location which includes shipping, handling and insurance for watches while in transit. We use Iceland Post or, in case of express shipping, UPS.

How does the guarantee work?

Your watch has a two year guarantee if it can be traced as a manufacturing defect. This guarantee does not cover crystal, case, movement or steel/leather band caused by accidents, bad treatment or normal wear.

Where can I find service for my Michelsen watch?

We have Authorized Michelsen Service Partners offering after sales- and guarantee service on both East- and West Coast in the US, in Canada, the UK, Australia, Denmark (Scandinavia), Iceland and Switzerland where Robert Michelsen, one of the watchmakers of our company, personally services all watches in Central Europe. We are constantly expanding our network of Authorized Service Partners, for your convenience.

Why does it say “Swiss Made” on the dial?

Unfortunately Iceland does not have the necessary facilities to produce watch parts nor the necessary knowledge for such a specialized production, so we naturally use Swiss Made movements and Swiss companies to produce the parts on our behalf. Robert Michelsen, 4th generation Michelsen watchmaker and a WOSTEP Certified watchmaker (Swiss diploma), is based in Switzerland and he oversees and handles the production, guaranteeing the quality of the Michelsen timepieces.

Does your pricelist include watches with straps?

Yes, the prices demonstrated in our pricelist include watches with either handmade Michelsen leather straps, Italian made rubber straps or NATO straps. We also offer deployant buckles.

Be inspired

Solo to the South Pole

An amazing feat

On January 17th, Miss Vilborg Gissurardottir, an intrepid young Icelandic explorer, finished her solo expedition to the South Pole. She was the first Icelander and only the 9th woman in history to reach the South Pole alone and on foot without any outside help. This incredible journey took Ms Gissurardóttir 60 days and she covered a total of 1’140 kilometres, 19 km per day, (708 miles, 12 mi per day) in harsh and challenging weather conditions, strong headwinds, treacherous skiing conditions, zastrugi and temperatures of approximately -40°C (-40°F).

The watch did very well. I had it strapped to the outside of my jacket all the time, next to the compass. The watch was unprotected and exposed in extreme weather conditions.Ms. Vilborg Arna Gissurardóttir, South Pole Explorer
To survive such a journey, you must not only depend on a positive mind and determination, but also on a solid and trustworthy gear. With this in mind, Ms Gissurardottir appointed Michelsen Watchmakers to provide her with a reliable timepiece to help her keep track of the time. It was our honor to present her with our Michelsen AE watch which is tough and waterproof with an additional time zone, robust hands and dial with big numerals and indexes to maximize clarity. The design is tailored specifically to the requirements of outdoor enthusiasts and the perfect companion for a South Pole explorer such as Ms. Gissurardottir.

For Ms. Gissurardottir‘s watch, the movement was chosen for its high durability and reliability, but to make sure the movement would survive the journey, special oils were used that can withstand extreme cold or to -50°C. The watch went through thorough tests and several experiments to simulate the conditions on the South Pole. However, the big test was during the expedition on the South Pole and as expected, the watch survived and according to Ms. Gissurardottir, met her expectations.

contact

Get in touch with us

Send us an email, call or visit us at:

Shop & workshop
Laugavegur 15
Reykjavik, 101
Iceland

Phone: (+354) 511 1900
Fax: (+354) 511 1901
E-mail: info@michelsenwatch.com

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