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Nordgreen - Attractive and Ethical Minimalist Watches from Denmark

Posted on April 16 2021

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Nordgreen Minimalist Watches

Younger consumers want customised products. They want to be treated as individuals. They don't want the Netflix home screen to show them the same movies as everyone else.

They want it personalised, and they're willing to pay for it.

Studies have shown that consumers will pay up to 20% more for a customised product.

But it's not a need that watch brands tend to cater for.

Nordgreen is one of the few who do.

They boast that their watches are ethical and eco-friendly. Carbon neutral and sustainably packaged.

They also allow you to customise your watch.

Let's take a closer look.

Nordgreen's Customised Minimalist Watches

Minimalist watch brands need strong selling points. Trust me, I'm as bored of bland Scandinavian watches as you are. The plain, utilitarian models blend into each other after a while. Very few leave a lasting impression.

Nordgreen has been one of the only brands to attract my attention.

The reasons are straightforward.

  • They have ethical business practices
  • A famous designer
  • Allow customisation

Let's take each of these in turn.

Central to the ethos of the brand are ethical considerations. These are varied. They include sustainable packaging, responsible manufacturing and a business that is carbon neutral.

They also have a Giving Back scheme. And even that allows for customisation. You get to choose which of their partnerships you'd like to support. Your donation can prioritise health, education or the environment.

The second point to consider is the watch designer. For me, having a named designer is a winner for the brand.

Although originally launched on Kickstarter, Nordgreen has recruited the award-winning Danish designer, Jakob Wagner. You'll have most likely heard of him through his designs for Bang and Olufsen.

The first two points are cool features that help justify your purchase. But the real USP of Nordgreen is the customisation side of their watch business.

They allow you to choose the size, colour and strap of your watch.

It's what younger, active buyers desire and Nordgreen is one of only a handful of companies that offer this.

They give you a great choice too. The case could 34mm or 40mm. It could be Rose Gold or Gun Metal. The dial could be black or white. Or even blue.

You could finish the watch with a traditional bracelet, an aged leather strap or an eco-friendly vegan option.

And that's the appeal of Nordgreen. When it comes to your watch, you have the final say.

The guys at Nordgreen have offered my readers a 15% discount. It doesn't expire either. Explore their mens watches and use code 'CHRON'.

Nordgreen Native Watch

For a minimalist watch to catch your eye it needs to offer something different. It's too easy for clean, simple designs to become generic.

That's why I tend to be more a fan of German Bauhaus watches than Scandi minimalism.

But the ability to customise your watch gets around that. With the Native, I've tried to beef up the design a little.

The Native is inspired by Jakob Wagner's home city of Copenhagen. It is a model designed for balance and what Wagner describes as being human-centric.

But that vision - to create a watch for everyone, everywhere - can be difficult to pull off. It's hard to make that type of watch distinctive.

So on my design, I simply replaced the leather band with a canvas military strap. I took the largest case available and added the olive NATO strap.

The result is still a modestly-sized minimalist watch. But it's got some colour, a touch of ruggedness and is now more versatile.

And yes, it is priced more than brands that don't allow you to customise your watch.

Nordgreen Native

  • 40mm Diameter
  • 8.35mm Thick
  • 20mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Quartz movement
  • 30M Water Resistance

Nordgreen Philosopher Watch

The Philosopher is more distinctive than the Native and has a busier aesthetic. It's still a spartan design, but the addition of a chapter ring makes the watch more appealing.

The basics are still here. The straightforward case, uncomplicated dial and simple hands.

But the small changes - the asymmetrical second hand with an orange tip for example - enhance and improve the appearance.

Even the discreet date window is enough to catch the eye.

The overall effect is of a more sophisticated piece. And by choosing the chunky stainless steel bracelet, the watch feels less minimalist.

Of the dial colours, the black works best here. Although I was tempted to use a Gun Metal case, in the end, I opted for regular stainless steel.

As with other Nordgreen watches, the case back is decorated and has a unique serial number. You can use this to specify which Giving Back partner your sale will benefit.

I like that. The more choice the better.

Nordgreen Philosopher
  • 40mm Diameter
  • 7.8mm Thick
  • 20mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Quartz movement
  • 30M Water Resistance

Nordgreen Pioneer Watch

Of the three Nordgreen men's watches, the Pioneer looks the least like a generic Scandinavian piece.

It's bold, busy and masculine.

If you're shopping for this style of watch, but want more character than is standard, the Pioneer could be your best bet.

It's chunky.

Compared to other minimalist watches it's substantial. The case is 42mm wide and it also has the additional width of the chronograph pushers.

And look at the lugs. They're prominent and have a vintage charm that you don't often see on Scandinavian designs.

I've doubled down on these features and added a steel bracelet. That and the case both have a Gun Metal finish.

To keep things interesting I've chosen a contrasting white dial.

I'm really happy with the result.

This is the Nordgreen watch that will most appeal to watch geeks. It's thicker than the other models, has a domed sapphire crystal and chronograph functions.

The dial is still minimalist - for a chronograph - with the only colour again being the tips of the hands.

This the most masculine watch in the Nordgreen stable.

Nordgreen Pioneer

  • 42mm Diameter
  • 11.9mm Thick
  • 20mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Quartz movement
  • Domed Sapphire Crystal
  • 50M Water Resistance


It takes a lot to stand out from the minimalist watch crowd.

But Nordgreen has cleverly identified their target customers. They know that they're young, environmentally conscious and care about business ethics.

They also know that they'll pay a premium to customise their products. This customer doesn't want to wear the same as everyone else.

How does this work in practice?

From top to bottom, Nordgreen runs an ethical business. The packaging is sustainable. The whole business is carbon neutral and they offer vegan options for straps.

And part of that customisation means that you have a say in what good cause the company makes a donation to.

Whilst I'm not normally a fan of Scandi minimalism, I can appreciate what Nordgreen have achieved. I'm sure you can also empathise with their mission.

So follow some of the links in this piece. Play around with their customisation tool. You might be surprised with what you come up with.

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