It’s a tall order for any brand to live up to the legacy of a truly remarkable designer, particularly when said designer is as legendary a figure as Henning Koppel. You can’t glance at a piece of Danish design without seeing his fingerprints all over it – his functional, minimalist approach and smooth organic shapes. Fortunately, Georg Jensen don’t have that problem. All they need is to go to their archives – which they did with this rather beautiful piece of watchmaking.
The Koppel GMT Power Reserve is, as you might have guessed, a revived design from the late 1970s by the late, great Henning Koppel and epitomises his functionalist look. There’s nothing superfluous here, not even numerals, which makes the entire dial the pure antithesis of cluttered. Thankfully the dot indexes are just big enough to keep things easy to read. I might be inclined to call the Koppel sparse – if it all worked just slightly less magnificently.
The case isn’t particularly big at 41mm but still gives the long, razor-thin hands ample space to sweep across the dial. The blue of the second hand also adds some much-needed flair to the otherwise pared-back design, yet without encroaching on Koppel’s unique style.
The case shape itself is simple and stunning, a perfect circle traced with a thin, precise bezel. The straight lugs jutting out add to that precision and give the whole piece a vintage feel, firmly grounding it in the tracks of that archival 1978 original.
The downside is that the movement too is not much more than functional. The Soprod caliber isn’t bad at all, far from it in fact. It comes equipped with a second-time zone display, date indicator and power reserve – it’s just that for the £8,400 price tag it feels like it should be more. Granted Georg Jensen isn’t really a watchmaker as such, but that hasn’t stopped many a company commissioning an in-house movement of their own.
That could be part of the reason it feels a little thicker than it should be. The yellow gold case and inimitably elegant dial seem to belong on an ultra-thin dress watch and, while the 12.3mm case isn’t unwieldy, a little bit shaved off would make all the difference.
Other than that, however, the Koppel has all the trappings of an exceptionally succinct, precise and charming classical watch, from the vintage design to the white enamel dial. It’s both functional and beautiful – exactly the kind of horological vision its original creator would have admired.
Price: £8,400; georgjensen.com