Gabriella Le Breton

10 Oct 16

The Ski Instrument

Gabriella Le Breton

10 Oct 16

There aren’t many men who survive a near-death ski accident and resolve to start designing watches. However, after skiing off a cliff and breaking his back, enjoying some quality thinking time whilst dangling on a rocky ledge waiting for help, Jorn Werdelin determined to help prevent others from getting into similar scrapes by creating a very clever ski instrument.

Werdelin roped in his designer pal, fellow Dane Morten Linde, and together they launched Linde Werdelin in 2002, unleashing a small revolution in the luxury watch world. Their mission was clear from the start: they would design big, bold and futuristic-looking analogue watches with attachable digital instruments which would log mountain and diving activity:; the Rock and Reef respectively. In creating two separate components, Linde Werdelin recognised that analogue can’t be beaten for accurate time reading while digital technology is required for all the assimilation of technical data that the Rock delivers. The Danish duo predated smartwatches by a decade and set a serious challenge to the staid designs of traditional luxury watch companies with their angular, faceted designs and whacky colour schemes. Working with comic book illustrators and tattoo artists, Linde Werdelin’s approach to watch design was a serious game-changer, delivering extremely grown-up boys’ toys in an unprecedented industrial style.

We’re here to discuss the Rock, but you need a Linde Werdelin watch to affix your Rock to so, in brief, there are two primary Linde Werdelin collections: Oktopus for water people and Spido for mountain lovers. There are currently 13 Spido models, ranging from the SpidoLite (from CHF 10,500/£8,300) to the SpidoSpeed (from CHF13,000/£10,260), available in different colours and specs. Each series is a limited edition, comprising 75 or 99 individually numbered pieces. Arguably best for dedicated powder hounds is the SpidoLite 3DTP Carbon, ringing in at CHF20,000 (£15,800).


Linde Werdelin’s lightest watch, with a skeletonised outer case of just 3.8 grams, it’s made using the company’s pioneering 3DTP carbon- fibre manufacturing process: carbon “ingots” are produced by layering multiple sheets of pre-preg carbon fibre to create an ultra- strong carbon structure and then milled on a multi-axis computer-controlled machine. The resulting grained fibre can be shaped without delamination, creating a super- lightweight yet incredibly strong case for the intricate Swiss-manufactured, 20-jewel movement within.

Having shelled out nigh-on £16K for a watch, you’ll want to keep it safe while you’re leaping out of helicopters and hucking cliffs, so enter the Rock. Milled out of a single piece of aviation- grade aluminium with an anti-scratch mineral crystal face, the chunky Rock protects your timepiece for a mere CHF1,500 (£1,200). It also gives accurate temperature readings at various altitudes, noting freeze levels and alerting you when they drop below -12°C to avoid frostbite. It features a barometer, showing weather trends, an altimeter and an inclinometer, complete with avalanche warnings when critical inclinations are sensed. There’s also a three3-axis compass, which uses specifically tailored aerospace algorithms to monitor your movements and performance, recording them onto your logbook, which can then be uploaded wirelessly to your computer or phone. Oh, and it tells the time, which is always handy.

Top price: CHF33,500 / £26,450 for the SpidoSpeed Gold with Rock

Bargain price: CHF1,500 / £1,200 for the Rock