Rebirth of a Century Old Independent Watchmaker

After being dormant for more than sixty years, the Siduna name comes back to life at the hand of two watchmaking professionals.

The story of Siduna began towards the end of the 19th century in the Swiss watchmaking town of Bienne. A few decades prior, North American watchmakers had developed an optimized process that allowed them to mass produce pocket watches and agressively price them on the market1. The Swiss factory that would later manufactured Felca and Titoni watches came up with a solution to cut cost without compromising quality.

hauptbahnhof 1864

Firstly, Siduna pocket watches used a single movement (mechanism) design that came in two differents levels of cosmetic refinishing: standard and Chronometer grade. The same movement was also used in private label watches made for the prestigious house of Garrard & Co. in London, UK. Secondly, the factory was sourcing metal cases abroad, from industrial hubs like the silversmithing Swedish city of Boliden or the Rodi & Wienenberger factory in the German steel capital of Pforzheim2. Despite these workarounds, Siduna pocked watches featured all the bells and whistles of the time, such as a Breguet overcoil spring, and they were awarded multiple medals at the Exposition Universelle for their quality.

Siduna gold plated watchExample of a Siduna with Chonometer grade movement and 40 micron gold plated case from Rodi & Wienenberger.
Siduna hall, circa 1930's.

Siduna became one of the early adopters of Staybrite, a hard chromium-nickel steel alloy developped in 1924 by Firth Brown Steels. In 1929, the Danish company Siduna Aktieselskab was incorporated at the old square Gammeltorv 22 in downtown Copenhagen, thus cementing the brand's production in the Baltic region.

Gammeltorv og Caritiasspringvandet caPhoto credit Christian Neuhauss, Copenhagen Museum, reproduced under fair dealing (s32)

By 1946, a trademark registration was filed with the United States Patent Office by C. Gotterup, who was acting director of Siduna AS and sister company Nordisk Urfabrik Aktieselskab in Copenhagen.

Siduna trademark application 1946

Staybrite was difficult to engrave but similarly difficult to scratch, so it became broadly used by the Swiss industry as grade SAE 304 until the appearance of grade SAE 316L (which had a slightly higher content in nickel and chromium). Siduna went on to release sensibly priced 18K gold wrist chronographs with Landeron movements before falling into oblivion shortly before the Digital Age.

Siduna 18k rose gold with Landeron 51
Example of a hollow 18K rose gold chronograph made in private label for numerous brands, of which Siduna.
The hollow construction and the Landeron 51 movement allowed to offer this watch at sensible prices. Siduna hall, circa 1960's.

In 2006, a Stockholm watchmaker by the name Folke Bertil Ingerlund re-activated the trademark nationally to keep it alive until his retirement in 2017. By then, former chief designer Francis Jacquerye took interest in Siduna after relocating with his family to Landskrona, Sweden, only 27 km (17 miles) away from the historic headquarters of the Danish company. Having become a vintage design expert while helping Swiss brand Longines to position itself at the "forefront of today’s vintage renaissance" (as Watchtime's Caleb Anderson puts it), Francis Jacquerye decided to use the connections from his years spent in Switzerland and the help of Swedish watchmaker Peter Wadbro to independently produce mechanical watches in Scandinavia with Swiss movements, just as Siduna started doing almost 90 years earlier.

1. How Switzerland Came to Dominate Watchmaking by Victoria Gomelsky for the New york Times
2. Mikrolisk, the horological watch index by Dr. Andreas Schröter