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The Nordic Marine Instruments Nordhavnen combines a functional diving watch design with Danish culture. As a lover of Denmark, I immediately took notice. And who is actually behind the new brand NMI?
From blog to own watch brand
We all can understand it. You’re interested in watches, you buy some, you read up on the subject, you buy some more, and before you know it, you’re an expert and the owner of a considerable collection. It’s easy to understand why you want to share your passion for watches with others. That’s pretty much how it all started for Mick Jørgensen. In 2013, the Dane founded the successful Instagram account @wristporn, which today – almost 10 years later – is followed by 179,000 watch fans from all over the world. The next step followed in 2014 with the website WatchBandit, through which Mick Jørgensen himself became a provider. WatchBandit is now the first port of call for microbrands throughout Europe. I have also bought wristbands there in the past.
And what comes next? Actually, Mick Jørgensen could have been completely satisfied. However, things often turn out differently when, firstly, you are a watch lover and, secondly, you have built up momentum. Now comes the third step. The foundation of a watch brand. A logical consequence, right?
Danish mentality meets functional diver design
Nordic Marine Instruments, or NMI for short, is the name of the latest project with which Mick Jørgensen has fulfilled his dream. In the premiere watch, the Scandinavian, or more precisely the Danish mentality is deeply rooted. That means fine materials, craftsmanship and a minimalist, functional design, dominated by a lot of stainless steel. These are the ingredients that should make the recipe a success. When choosing the name, Jørgensen opted for Nordhavnen. Today, the port of Copenhagen is primarily home to container logistics. Mick Jørgensen used to go fishing and swimming here with his father and brother.
Anyone who founds a watch brand out of passion goes about this business with the greatest possible perfectionism. Expectations for the Nordhavnen are therefore high, even though it is the Dane’s debut work. Anyone who knows the history of Mick Jørgensen will hardly be surprised that the founder is not satisfied with just one watch and is planning for the long term. A complete collection is to be developed from the Nordhavnen. Others could follow in the next few years. Diving, tool, and sailing watches – Jørgensen never runs out of ideas. Whether the Nordhavnen can lay the foundation for the next success story, I want to find out in this watch review.
My first impression of the Nordic Marine Instruments Nordhavnen
Even before the market launch, I was allowed to wear the Nordic Marine Instruments Nordhavnen on my wrist for a few days and test its quality. The down-to-earth and functional design with Danish roots and a penchant for vintage looks appeals to me right away. Diver models are a dime a dozen. The fact that even in 2022 a brand manages to create something new surprises me. The most striking feature of the Nordhavnen is without question the bezel, which is missing all markings except for the triangle. At first glance, this “measure” seems to take some getting used to. Bezel markings are a fundamental part of pretty much all dive watch designs. I find the omission very interesting.
Apart from that, the Nordic Marine Instruments Nordhavnen makes a very high-quality impression – calm, serene and focused. You don’t immediately identify it as a diver’s watch. As a result, you don’t get tired of it after a few seconds. In places, untypical elements like the small seconds at 6 o’clock, the dash-shaped indices and the five-link stainless steel bracelet remind me more of a sporty chronograph. Probably one reason why the Nordhavnen adapts so flexibly to any situation and I consistently like it on my wrist. Chronograph? Diver’s watch? Here, elements of both categories are taken and harmoniously blended. If you are looking for something different from the often copied Submariner design, you will find it.
On the wrist
For vintage watches, a compact size is the rule rather than the exception. And since the Nordhavnen combines retro styles, it goes without saying that the case measures just 40 millimeters in diameter. From lug to lug, it’s 48 millimeters. The Nordic Marine Instruments Nordhavnen keeps a low profile, it doesn’t show off. At the same time, it remains pleasantly slim with an overall height of 12 millimeters. Thus, the watch should be perfectly suitable for most wrists.
How the Nordic Marine Instruments Nordhavnen celebrates craftsmanship
The case doesn’t revolutionize the way we think about dive watches, but it does pick out certain details here and there that are combined to create a cohesive whole. It is made of 316L stainless steel, which NMI even certifies with marine grade. This is really something to be proud of. All surfaces look professionally finished and feel good. Satin surfaces alternate with polished ones and are separated by sharply cut edges. Special attention seems to have been paid to the case finish. The hand-applied black polish (called MØRKTM) rubs the surfaces against a diamond paste. This guarantees mirror-like surfaces, which look black from a certain angle.
At 3 o’clock, a crown protector shields the screw-down crown from sharp objects. The crown itself, as well as the six-screw caseback, are adorned by the Anker logo, which has been neatly engraved. This is how you establish the identity of a new brand!
The clicks of the unidirectional rotating dive bezel engage cleanly and have no play – an outstanding tactile feel! “What’s the point of a bezel without 60-minute markers?” some might ask. For the answer, you have to travel back in time a few decades. According to Nordic Marine Instrument, the ceramic bezel was inspired by the historical diving watches of former German underwater commandos. They were used specifically for military missions, which often lasted several hours. Thus, the elapsed hours are read.
With the Nordhavnen, you can theoretically dive to depths of 200 meters. What seems quite solid on paper, none of us will reach in reality anyway.
Swiss technology in a Danish watch
Inside the Nordic Marine Instruments Nordhavnen beats a Swiss heart. The Danish newcomer brand relies on technology from Sellita. Their SW261-1 comes with a power reserve of 38 hours at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour. The reason why NMI made this unusual choice is obvious. This automatic movement has a small second hand, which makes the Nordhavnen so unusual. I would not have expected something like this on a diver’s watch.
The subdial with radial finish is located at 6 o’clock. The small seconds replaces a central seconds hand. By omitting it, the wearer can read the time even better. Both the subdial and the outer ring with the minute track are slightly recessed. This makes the dial look more vivid and interesting. The readability during darkness is impressive. NMI has equipped the indices with BGW9 Super-LumiNova, which glows evenly and brightly.
In total, Nordic Marine Instruments gives its Nordhavnen three different dial colors. Besides my classic black shade, the diving watch will also be available in blue and white. The different color schemes were inspired by Danish fishing boats that used to anchor in Nordhavnen, which gives the watch its name.
The Nordic Marine Instruments Nordhavnen bracelet
If new microbrands want to assert and establish themselves on the market, it is also part of the job to produce sparingly. Unfortunately, this means that many manufacturers rely on off-the-shelf components. No wonder that at some point all models look the same. NMI has taken a different approach and decided during the development of the Nordhavnen to use individual parts exclusively in their own watch. A positive example is the bracelet, which has five links. The stainless steel surfaces of the links were alternately satin-finished and polished, creating an exciting overall look.
Still, functionality is the main focus. During the test days, the bracelet convinced me with a good wearing comfort and secure hold. The diver’s extension of the folding clasp should also not be missing in any case. If you really want to wear the Nordic Marine Instruments Nordhavnen over a wetsuit, the adjustment option provides valuable millimeters.
My conclusion about the Nordic Marine Instruments Nordhavnen
With enough creativity, performance and quality, it is still possible to launch a diver’s watch in 2022 that is unconventional and eye-catching. Nordic Marine Instruments proves this with its debut timepiece, the Nordhavnen. Its original design stands out noticeably from conventional competitors. The ideas behind it (think of the bezel or the sub-dial at 6 o’clock) are not new. However, NMI puts them together to create an interesting overall movement. The secret star of the watch, however, is not directly visible. The keyword is quality. You have to experience it, and the best way to do that is on your wrist. High-quality workmanship and first-class materials show how important traditional craftsmanship is to the makers.
Last but not least, the Nordic Marine Instruments Nordhavnen is characterized by the Danish identity. The diver’s watch embodies calmness, functionality and straightforwardness.
Each of the three color variants will be limited to 99 copies each. The regular retail price is USD 1,299.00 However, you can already pre-order the watch for USD 999.00. If you sign up for the newsletter, you will save USD 150.00. Below you will find the most important links to the watch.