Swiss-Danish watchmaker Linde Werdelin (‘LW’) may not be an every-household name. What the watch brand lacks in usualness, it overcomes with extreme engineering and cosmopolitan allure. Lauded by divers, mountaineers, and armchair horologists alike, Linde Werdelin watches are limited-edition, adventure-bound timepieces. Though shy of 20 years old, the watchmaker is revered in the world of horology, too. And rightly so.
Attempting to script a word-count-limited entre to the acclaimed maker’s in-depth collection borders on daunting. The versatility and the functionality of each series mean that styles and price points are hardly simple to summarize. But stick with me, and I can assure you that you’ll be glad you did. Let’s debrief you on some of the finest rugged wares this side of Y2K.
Linde Werdelin (Not So Humble) Beginnings
Perhaps it’s thanks to two well-known mountaineers, Conrad Anker and Leo Houlding, that Linde Werdelin rose to fame. It wasn’t so long ago (June 25, 2007) that the extreme duo claimed the first truly free ascent of Everest’s North East Ridge. And on their wrists? First-generation Linde Werdelin Biformeters. The watchmaker was just 5 years old.
The universe of extreme adventure is an uncial one — every ounce of gear must be essential to the endeavor’s success or eliminated. To keep the Biformeter watches exceptionally light for Mt. Everest, LW engineered an ancillary readout system, dubbed ‘The Land Instrument’: “Measuring heart rate, temperature, altitude, weather, and compass readings, The Land Instrument principally kept the expedition team safe, whilst monitoring how the body reacts to extreme conditions.” Think a smartwatch, except exceedingly more precise, and with all of its computational faculties outsourced to a much larger digital instrument.
Later generations of the Land Instrument are known as The Rock (specific to snowsports and alpinism) and The Reef (specific to diving). Common to every one of LW’s watches is a specialized dial that interfaces with both extraneous instruments.
Not dissimilarly, the wristwatch evolved, too. The Biformeter Founders watch, launched in 2006, developed into the 3 Timer Series (founder’s legacy), the Oktopus Series (water), and the Spido Series (land). Why don’t we sample a little of each?
3 Timer Series
Closest in likeness to the original Biformeter Founders watch, the 3 Timer collection is, perhaps, LW’s most cosmopolitan series. True to the collection’s name, each submodel lets the wearer keep track of three separate time zones simultaneously. It does so via three in-situ timekeeping readouts: a stage-set 12-hour dial, bezel-set 24-hour dial, and GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) function.¹
At present, you’ll find nine 3 Timer submodels gracing LW’s site, commanding between $6,433 not exceeding $7,802.
Perhaps the most boast-worthy model is also the most understated – the Labassa Wolfe x Linde Werdelin All Black 3 Timer. Limited to nine productions, the collaborative piece is stainless steel. It features a black guilloche dial, black-laden indexes, diamond-cut hands, and black Luminova applique water-resistant up to 300 meters (985 ft).
Off the cuff, the showiest of Linde Werdelin’s collections is the Oktopus Series. But good looks are not for lack of function. If anything, an Oktopus watch’s appearance is a hint into its nuanced inner workings.
With this series of diving watches, we see The Reef instrument’s full capabilities come to life. A diver’s rendition of LW’s original digital ancillary device, The Land Instrument, The Reef’s on-board computer work in tandem with any of the Oktopus dive watches to provide the diver with crucial metrics: depth, time-lapsed, and calculates the remaining oxygen.
Presently there are 12 submodels of Oktopus dive watch collection available for purchase. Each collection member is water-resistant up to 300 meters (985 ft) and offers features befitting a professional diver, like super-luminescent accents, which glow bright in dark waters.
Five of the 12 submodels belong to the Oktopus Moon branch of the series, so named due to the watches’ in-house moon phase complication. This complication allows the wearer to “track the full moon and plan the best time for night dives.”² Moon dive watches beckon between $15,037 and $34,175 (a price reserved for the elusive Moon Gold 3DTP Carbon ticker).
The remaining seven submodels belong to the Oktopus Double Date branch, which sweeps stylings and price points broadly – beginning with the relatively pragmatic titanium Deep Sea ($9,569) and ending with the elaborately hand-etched, gold-inlaid Volcano ($26,656).
Of heartfelt notoriety, and not on offer to the public, is LW’s recent collaboration with the Danish Naval Special Operations Force known as Frømandskorpset (Frogman Corps). As an elite unit of the Danish forces, the Frogmen are few and far between, and the collaborative timepiece was commissioned to immortalize the Frømandskorpset brotherhood. Upon retirement, members of the Corps receive their very own Oktopus Frogman Dive Watch.³
Spido LW watches are built to vanquish the unnecessary, hold fast to precision, and deliver in the most harrowing of conditions. The Spido Series comprises two variate submodels – the ascensionist’s SpidoLite and the slope expert’s SpidoSpeed. Both branches of the Spido collection embark on “a continuous journey of weight optimization and a philosophy of no compromise – everything is removed unless essential to the function or strength of construction.”
Many configurations and material combinations are found among the 11 Spido Series watches. What distinguishes a Spido timepiece from its brethren series is the ultralight skeletonized plates and movement. The stripped-down aesthetic is a product of functionality. All 11 watches offer water resistance up to 100 meters (328 ft).
From the SpidoLite branch extend six submodels. It’s a small collection with a wide market berth — ranging in price from $10,260 for titanium configurations to $25,322 for the premier SpidoLite Gold 3D Movement watch. Similarly, the snowbound SpidoSpeed branch offers five distinct submodels, wide-ranging in the price — $13,003 for the stainless-steel favor; $32,166 for the SpidoSpeed Gold 3D Movement.
Alloy Linde Werdelin Metal – Purposeful. Proprietary.
Wristwatch designations aside, there’s something else from Linde Werdelin’s slight but abundant history worthy of particular note: Alloy Linde Werdelin (‘ALW’). ALW is a proprietary iridescent metal alloy spun from aeronautics and forged in LW’s pursuit of unseen lightness and tenacity.⁴
According to Linde Werdelin’s website, “ALW…has been subjected to a 25-micrometer treatment (standard treatments are usually only 5 micrometers in-depth), creating a protective layer and making it twice the strength of steel while remaining half the weight of titanium.” This opalescent metal’s secret lies in its porosity: “The treatment can go so deep because of the porous structure of ALW; it essentially absorbs the treatment like your hand would absorb skin cream, which results in a protective layer that is highly resistant to dents and scratches.”
All for a wristwatch? That’s a dedication to your craft, ladies and gentlemen.
Linde Werdelin Limited-Edition Watches – Maybe Not So Rote
We here at Improb are not strangers to horology — in fact, seldom are we excited to see yet another luxury watch brand assignment float across the editorial calendar. But there are exceptions to the norm. And Linde Werdelin is not just another watchmaker. Unlike many of its contemporaries, this company will never race to the proverbial bottom; Linde Werdelin watches are exquisite, proud, and complex.
The partnerships, technologies, and ideas that LW seems to bloom from, with, and embolden the brand with something quite rare, I think – that of actual, red-blooded genuine functionality. Expensive? Sure. But, refreshing, too. Don’t you think?
What Is a GMT Function And How Does It Work? – Chrono24
Linde Werdelin – Oktopus MoonLite – Time and Watches
11 Watch Brands That Make Their Own Metals – WatchTime