A history of remarkable craft

The story begins in 1845 when watchmakers Carl Matthæi and J. P. Christensen founded a watch company in Copenhagen. Matthæi Master of the Watchmaker’s Guild became personal purveyor to the Royal Danish Court supplying timepieces to King Frederik VII and Countess Danner. In 1919 watchmaker Axel O. Mathiesen took the helm bringing in new resources successfully renewing the company and initiating collaborations with some of the world’s finest and most important watch manufacturers in Switzerland. Axel Mathiesen built relationships with Jaeger-LeCoultre IWC and Omega by requesting specially manufactured timepieces and placing small orders from the collections of the respective brands.

Ole Mathiesen takes over

Born into a family of watchmakers Ole Mathiesen followed in the family’s illustrious watchmaking footsteps. After completing his apprenticeship in Denmark he gained working experience in Geneva with some of the most prominent Swiss watch manufacturers. In 1953 he was appointed managing director of the company Alvild Dahl Christensen and Matthæis Successors. And in 1957 he took charge of the family company.

Design of the classic icon

The 1962 Classic collection was designed with the clear intention of introducing an enduring timepiece – strong enough to find harmony in its own form never pretentious in form nor price. This collection subtly complements its wearer with a focus on the essential function: simply telling time. 60 years later these understated timepieces have stood the test of time and are universally regarded as an iconic Danish design classic.

MOMA

In the mid-1980s the Museum of Modern Art in New York decided to exhibit and sell the classic Ole Mathiesen watch. Ever since museums around the world have added this simple watch from Copenhagen to their collections. The Classic watch has earned countless design awards and is commonly featured whenever international contemporary art museums arrange exhibitions honoring Danish design icons. Although designed in 1962 the Ole Mathiesen watch could have just as easily left the drawing board yesterday – or probably even sixty years from today. The watch derives from the Danish design tradition that is admired and beloved internationally. In terms of style it is clear that these watches are closely related to the outstanding Danish design icons – all of which exude aesthetic logic and simplicity.

Design of the OMS

The OMS collection was designed with the intention to combine the aesthetics of an active lifestyle with Scandinavian design ideals. Within the framework of classic Scandinavian virtues and well-balanced proportions this collection symbolizes the philosophy of an active lifestyle. OMS is available in two sizes with a high precision quartz or a mechanical automatic movement. Attributes include numerous unique details — a matte brushed stainless steel case convex sapphire crystal screw-in crown and caseback that secures the watches from water damage to a depth of 120 meters.

Christian Mathiesen takes over

Christian Mathiesen takes the helm at the company. Christian establishes and oversees the design and research department.

The Classic prize

For decades the classical Ole Mathiesen watch has held a place in the hearts of Danes. Being a classic beloved by the public architects and design experts the Ole Mathiesen watch was honored with the Classics Prize 2004 from the Danish Design Center presented by His Royal Highness Crown Prince Frederik. The Classics Prize jury noted the Ole Mathiesen watch has been produced since 1962 without any change and that it represents an elegant combination of innovation and traditional craftsmanship of Danish design and Swiss quality. The Classics Prize has no application process – the jury is simply tasked with choosing a company or a product whose quality and design have held a timeless and stylish place in Danish design through the decades. The Ole Mathiesen watch clearly fits these criteria featuring the same quiet elegance for 60 years with a design that never tries to steal the limelight but rather enriches it.

Design of the Royal Marine

The aesthetic appeal of the Royal Marine is underscored by its timeless elegance. The Royal Marine collection was specially designed in 2008 to mark the honor of Ole Mathiesen being awarded the Royal Warrant “By appointment to the Royal Danish Court” that year. Royal Marine is designed in two sizes with a high precision quartz or a mechanical automatic movement. Attributes include numerous unique details: a slightly curved dial a convex scratchproof sapphire crystal and a screw-on back case that protects the Royal Marine from water damage despite its slim case.

By Appointment to the Royal Danish Court

In 2008 Ole Mathiesen was honored with the Royal Warrant – By Appointment to the Royal Danish Court. As a solid well-established company with an excellent reputation Ole Mathiesen is synonymous with traditional fine watch crafting and innovation. This tradition – the will and the ability to understand that a watch must be more than just an attractive possession – is why generation after generation is drawn to the small company in Copenhagen and its watches. It is a company with a rich history dating from Carl Matthæi in 1845 to Christian Mathiesen in the 21st century. Ole Mathiesen has carefully guarded its heritage and unwavering commitment to its customers. Today Ole Mathiesen is highly regarded as one of Europe’s most exclusive purveyors of the world’s finest handmade watches. Firmly rooted in this proud history they continue the tradition of crafting unique timepieces.

Design of the 1919 Heritage

The 1919 collection pays tribute to the year that first-generation Axel O. Mathiesen founded his watch company in Copenhagen. The 1919 Heritage is a watch that can be worn daily and on every special occasion striking a fine balance between modern and classic Danish design. Juxtaposing a vintage look with Ole Mathiesen’s pure lines the 1919 Heritage is a symbol of respect for the founder of the family business and a fitting tribute in honor of his legacy.

Design of the Navy Diver

Navy Diver Ole Mathiesen’s first dive watch stands out from most contemporary dive models. Inspired by vintage design it measures 40 mm in diameter and only 10 mm in height. The Navy Diver takes its place in Ole Mathiesen’s ever-evolving history: a dynamic dive watch with a solid yet discreet presence on the wrist. With its monochrome tone-on-tone in matte grey and matte black – at once simple and advanced – the harmonious design has the finished look characteristic of Ole Mathiesen with every detail marked by an uncompromising materiality.

Design of the 1919 Sportivo

1919 Sportivo celebrates the 100th anniversary of Axel Mathiesen founding his watch company in Copenhagen. The collection reflects the heritage and history of Ole Mathiesen. It represents the past and present with a look that is both sensible and modern. Taking an honest and authentic approach to the company’s aesthetic idiom the 1919 Sportivo collection embodies a younger ambience and spirit.

The 60th anniversary

Ole Mathiesen celebrates 60 years of the 1962 Classic by expanding the line with a new ambience of colors. As an homage to the original discreet version with line index these jubilee models show off with a sunburst marine blue an olive green and a rose champagne dial – taking their styling cues from the original while defending its status as a modern icon.

1919
1957
1962
1985
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2003
2004
2008
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2014
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2019
2022

Architectural drawings

The design process and visual identity of Ole Mathiesen watches are often characterized by reduction. It is not a matter of working until there is nothing left to add, but rather until there is nothing left to remove. Then the designer can focus on the remaining elements. The process is always an iterative back-and-forth between drawings and prototypes, and the company’s distinctive architecture drawings reveal the inner workings of simplicity and differentiated visuals – much like an urban architectural landscape.

1962 Classic Collection 

The architectural style and focus on details link the collections with the clear and timeless Ole Mathiesen traits. The pure lines of the 1962 Classic are recognized as the very essence of this round wristwatch that is now synonymous with Ole Mathiesen. Discrete and elegant it charms its way into each new generation with its timeless understated perfection.

1919 Heritage Collection

The architectural style and focus on details link the collections with the clear and timeless Ole Mathiesen traits. The 1919 Heritage – a tribute to Axel Mathiesen – is a combination of legacy and tradition and an exercise in uniting opposites. A cross between casual and classic the present and the past a vintage look the indisputable origin and the pure lines of Ole Mathiesen.

OMS Collection

The architectural style and focus on details link the collections with the clear and timeless Ole Mathiesen traits. The OMS collection was born as a casual interpretation of the Classic with focus on materiality and duality in the form with soft rounded surfaces shaped by raw matte appearance of brushed stainless steel.

Royal Marine Collection

The architectural style and focus on details link the collections with the clear and timeless Ole Mathiesen traits. A contemporary interpretation of the Classic the Royal Marine was designed to celebrate the appointment of Ole Mathiesen as a purveyor to the Royal Danish Court and Her Majesty the Queen of Denmark.

1919 Sportivo Collection

The architectural style and focus on details link the collections with the clear and timeless Ole Mathiesen traits. The 1919 Sportivo celebrates the 100th anniversary of Axel Mathiesen founding his watch company. With a new design that salutes timepieces from the 20th century the 1919 Sportivo also exudes a contemporary character and youthful spirit.

Navy Diver Collection

The architectural style and focus on details link the collections with the clear and timeless Ole Mathiesen traits. The Navy Diver stands out from most contemporary diver models owing to its vintage-inspired design and monochrome expression – tone-on-tone in matte grey and matte black – simultaneously simple and advanced this diver is in its element in the silent underwater universe.

Early designs

Selected designs from the 1960s and 70s of timepieces manufactured in limited numbers.

The Classic (1962)

Inspired by the creative spirit of 1960s Danish design  Ole Mathiesen set out to design a classic hand-winding steel watch – a timepiece he felt was missing. The watch marked the start of a watch brand an intellectual statement and ultimately an icon. The understated ultra-thin case and the slightly curved convex sapphire crystal exemplify what were to become the iconic Ole Mathiesen traits.

Art-Deco Rektangulare (1966)

Ole Mathiesen played with various geometric shapes in the mid-1960s. The circle became the feminine Ladies Ellipse  and the square the Rectangular Art Deco.Both models mirror the style of the iconic Classic from 1962 but with a clear reference to historic timepieces from the era when first-generation Axel Mathiesen founded his watch company.

Ladies Ellipse (1966)

Ole Mathiesen played with various geometric shapes in the mid-1960s. The circle became the feminine Ladies Ellipse  and the square the Rectangular Art Deco.Both models mirror the style of the iconic Classic from 1962 but with a clear reference to historic timepieces from the era when first-generation Axel Mathiesen founded his watch company.

The Gentleman’s Watch (1968)

The Gentleman’s Watch features subtle traces of early classic watches yet was perceived as modern at the time of its introduction in the late 1960s. The Alpha-style hands convey both a classic and sporty attitude while the Arabic numerals are technical with a hint of handwritten style.

Digital Jumping Hours (1969)

Ole Mathiesen developed his “Digital Jumping Hours” as a philosophical reflection on time. Although single minutes are not shown digitally (only units of five) the watch was groundbreaking in its construction and unconventional digital display. 

Jumbo Cushion (1971)

The Jumbo Cushion from 1971 is a typical early 70s design with a monoblock case reflecting the technological advancements of the era. This watch was the first model with a self-winding movement. Despite its bold character the Jumbo Cushion is designed with the same Bauhaus inspiration in mind as the 1962 Classic aiming for pure and clean lines that speak for themselves.

The Bubble Watch (1972)

The playful Bubble Watch was a waterproof watch cast in plastic long before Swatch entered the watchmaking scene. The watch featured a plexiglass “bubble” – hence the name – with an amazing magnifying effect. The watch proved to be a trendy unpretentious and fun accessory.

Regatta Racing Pro (1975-76)

Regatta Racing was designed for the International Knarr Championship as a professional instrument letting only the countdown function show in an easy-to-read oversize model. This special feature visualizes the remaining time and helps the helmsman obtain the best position reaching the starting line at full speed just as the starting gun sounds.

Guilloche Contemporare (1976)

Guilloche Contemporare are one of several “sport casual” models from the mid-1970s playing with contrasting styles featuring a sporty matte brushed case with a decorative polished guilloche bezel. The play of light in the bezel structure casts multiple reflections providing a striking contrast to the non-reflective matte brushed steel case.

The Design Collection (1985-90)

The Design Collection was a series of high precision quartz watches designed by a number of internationally renowned architects and designers. The case features a minimalistic cylindrical and industrial design to complement the graphic expression of the dial and the Ole Mathiesen trademark signature appears instead in simple block letters.

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