Halda Watch Co – a space adventure

Halda Space Discovery is a true space adventure. The dream team of our age has created a watch which contains unique features and functions – and which resembles no other watch ever seen before.

It’s a strong team: Swedish NASA-trained astronaut Christer Fuglesang tested the watch in extreme conditions during his latest voyage into space. Watch innovator Mikael Sandström (from the prestige brand of Sjöö Sandström) is behind the concept, vision and entrepreneurship. The Swedish design company No Picnic found the obvious link between exterior design and technology. Finally there is the longstanding classic Swedish innovation company, Halda, which once manufactured watches. 

When Mikael Sandström’s dream to once again manufacture watches under the Halda brand became a reality in 2009 he gained the world rights to the name Halda Watch Co, and the team was then complete. 

But the journey had already begun six or seven years ago. Mikael Sandström wanted to make a watch that would astound the world. 

“The vision was a watch for all of life’s situations,” he says. “A watch that could be worn every day, to work, and in extreme conditions.

“It was important that these were not just beautiful words. The watch had to have functions that really helped, solved tasks, filled needs. For real.” 

Clear demands

The requirements for the watch were thus clear right from the start. Three years ago Mikael began looking for designers. 

“I didn’t want them to have any previous experience of watch design – then the watch usually ends up being round and conventional. Of course, making watches requires a lot of passion for them and that’s something I’m contributing. I also wanted to work with a Swedish company – because Swedish design is world class and because it feels right to work within the country.” 

With SVID’s help Mikael soon found No Picnic in Stockholm. Andreas Lundquist, senior designer for No Picnic, says he really did not know much about watches before he began working on the project. 

“We’re used to working with widely differing products that we really don’t know much about before we start,” Andreas says. “In this case that was an advantage because we could come in without any pre-existing ideas and create something unique.” 

In order to understand and focus on the complexity and challenge of the product, No Picnic wrote an extensive design brief. This work took time and required a close dialogue with Mikael Sandström throughout the process. 

While No Picnic was continuing its development work Mikael was looking for a sufficiently tough and challenging text environment for the watch. The tougher and more extreme, the better. 

“I thought that the heroes of our time are astronauts. So we should test the watch in space, which is the most extreme environment you can test a watch in.” 

Contact was made with the Swedish astronaut Christer Fuglesang. He liked the vision behind the space watch. A prototype was developed in time for his latest trip into space. After he returned, he suggested improvements and adjustments to both the form and the function. 

“For real!” says Andreas Lundquist of No Picnic. “Everything we’ve done has been governed by those words. “Now design, technology and function have really merged together in an optimal way.” 

Text: Bosse Jönsson Photos: No Picnic, Halda Watch Co, NASA

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Halda Watch Co

Location: Tullinge

Business: Develops, produces, sells and markets watches

Launched: 2002.

Main owners: Mikael Sandström and Mika Kettula

Sales: SEK 5 million

Number of employees: 4 (2 full time and 2 part time)

Design consultants: No Picnic

Halda Space Discovery

The watch has two separate modules that the user can alternate between – analogue and digital. The mechanical time module is like that of a classic watch. The Dane Svend Andersen, “who is one of the world’s leading watchmakers”, has developed the movement in the watch to satisfy even true connoisseurs. The digital part of the watch is the most advanced ever to be used in a watch.

The planned launch of the watch is the first quarter of 2010. The price will be about SEK 80,000 and orders have already been placed.

Tips: It's a matter of time

- Start in time. That was an important lesson from the journey to produce the space watch.

- Then take lots of time to work through and test the product.

- Do it properly, otherwise it’s easy to make mistakes.

- Develop physical, full-size prototypes. Just seeing the object as a 3D image on screen does not provide enough of a feel for it and information about it. It was important to see and feel the watch, so steel prototypes were also made.

Tips: Make the most of the added values

- First do a thorough analysis of the aim and target group.

- It’s a good idea also to do a target group survey.

- Make the most of the added values that emerge from the project. They can lead to new working methods or to adapting premises and products.

SVID, Swedish Industrial Design Foundation | Svensksundsvägen 13, 111 49 Stockholm | info@svid.se I +46 (0)8 406 84 40


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SVID, Swedish Industrial Design Foundation | Svensksundsvägen 13, 111 49 Stockholm | info@svid.se I +46 (0)8 406 84 40