Introducing the Atelier Holgur Frømand: The divers’ watch, redefined
26 October 2022
Atelier Holgur is pleased to unveil the Frømand, a model that redefines the divers’ watch genre by encompassing many luxurious features seldom found on subaquatic-themed timepieces.The company looks at horology from a different perspective, keen to deliver quality and value with a responsible approach to commerce.
In the beginning
Divers’ watches first appeared in the 1930s and were originally intended for commercial and military use. While they were water resistant, they differed aesthetically from the modern-day divers’ watch we have since grown accustomed to. Indeed, this latter genre of watch emerged in the 1950s, coinciding with the rising popularity of scuba diving, a subaquatic activity that transcended mere commercial and military use, to encompass recreational diving.
The typical characteristics of a divers’ watch include a unidirectional bezel often equipped with a count-up scale, a screw-down crown, a screw-in solid caseback, a very legible dial endowed with a high degree of luminescence and, of course, impressive water-resistance.
Times are changing
Times are changing as more horophiles seek the qualities of a divers’ watch without feeling a need to get their hair wet. The so-called ‘desk diver’ appreciates both the appearance of a divers’ watch and the functional benefits its specification confers. For example, a water-resistant watch is highly useful should you wish to sail, swim or simply shower. Likewise, extraordinary legibility is equally useful on terra firma. There is much wisdom in a landlubber owning a divers’ watch.
Atelier Holgur is pleased to unveil the Frømand, a divers’ watch that is equally at home complementing a lounge suit or jeans as it is underwater (water-resistant to 300m). It proffers versatility, functionality and a notable degree of style. The name, Danish for ‘frogman’, celebrates the military divers of yesteryear, however, the design language is contemporary, ideally suited to the here and now.
Practical but sumptuous
Historically, divers’ watches were utilitarian objects with functionality influencing their appearance. Although some designs have proved popular with desk divers, in some instances models have lacked eye appeal. Moreover, divers’ watches have often been devoid of luxurious touches.
Atelier Holgur believe that practicality and style are not mutually exclusive and that a divers’ watch can be luxurious. This philosophy is manifest with the Atelier Holgur Frømand, a model that redefines the notion of a divers’ watch. Legibility and luxury The dial of the Frømand is snailed and dressed in an inky shade of black, serving as a foil for the adjacent white accents. The hour and minute hands are black near the centres, but are predominantly executed in a brilliant shade of white, matching the colour of the indexes.
Atelier Holgur has applied three-dimensional luminescent material (green emission) to the hands, indexes and the small seconds indication positioned at 6 o’clock, granting superb readability at all times while adding depth to the composition.
A minute track, again employing white tones, hugs the edge of the dial, allowing the wearer to easily read-off the prevailing time. The bezel, presented in black DLC, is unidirectional and features a count-up scale that incorporates Super-LumiNova®, proving ideal for timing dives.
A Grade 5 titanium case
Measuring 40mm in diameter, the Atelier Holgur Frømand is housed in Grade 5 titanium. This lightweight alloy is corrosion-resistant, non-magnetic and hypoallergenic. Not to be confused with lower-cost Grade 2 titanium, Grade 5 titanium is composed of 90% titanium, 6% aluminium and 4% vanadium. It is stronger than Grade 2 titanium and can be polished. In this instance, Atelier Holgur has chosen to endow each component with either a polished or microblasted finish. The case, lugs, crown protector and buckle are all made of Grade 5 titanium.
This lightweight material is challenging to work with. It is incredibly hard, hence when milled using a CNC machine, it wears out tools far more readily than steel or noble metals. Besides the expense of replacing tools, it necessitates more down time, further heightening costs. Grade 5 titanium can be damaged with high milling speeds, and has even been known to catch fire, hence machining speeds must be reduced. It is for these reasons Grade 5 titanium is typically the preserve of costly timepieces.
Breaking with divers’ watch convention, the Atelier Holgur Frømand comes with two panes of sapphire crystal, one to the front and, unusually, a second to the rear that reveals a highly refined automatic movement.
A skeleton movement with a diver’s watch
A characteristic of Atelier Holgur is that it does not doggedly follow the pack. In this instance, it turned to Swiss high-end movement specialist, Schwarz Etienne to commission an automatic movement featuring a micro-rotor. This latter detail affords unhindered views of the beautifully appointed bridges. The movement is skeletonised and encompasses sandblasted finishing and hand polished bevelled edges. The screws have polished heads and, along with the jewels, sit in polished sinks. This beautifully refined movement surpasses what is typically found within most divers’ watches.
Assuming the mainspring is fully wound, the watch will run autonomously for 86 hours.
Land or sea, there’s a strap for you
The Frømand is equipped with an integrated strap bar, steadfastly securing the watch to the wrist, a useful attribute whether on dry land or underwater. Atelier Holgur’s strap system allows the wearer to easily swap between straps without the need for tools. The Frømand comes supplied with two straps made from recycled ocean plastic, produced by tide ocean material®. The first strap is fitted with a Hook & Loop fastener and pin system, allowing the wearer to view the movement to the rear. An additional single loop diving strap is also supplied with the watch. It is presented in teal with black edging and is perfectly suited to subaquatic action.
The watch is supplied in a box made from sustainable materials including bamboo wood and cork.
An empathy for marine life
Atelier Holgur’s founders, Matthew de Bakker and Asbjørn Simonen-Andersen care deeply about conservation and, in particular, marine life. As Matt explains, “We care passionately about the products we make in terms of design, quality and performance. However, we equally care about the impact of our actions on the planet. Over the coming months, we will complete negotiations with selected partners to fund initiatives to help protect our oceans and the various forms of life that inhabit our seas.”
Quite simply, Atelier Holgur envisages a world where commerce and the environment can happily co-exist.
A different mindset
Atelier Holgur believes a divers’ watch doesn’t have to be utilitarian and wholeheartedly embraces the notion of style. The Frømand is perfectly suited to subaquatic use, but robustness, water-resistance and legibility are equally valid on dry land. Employing a different mindset, Atelier Holgur has created a practical and luxurious watch with a distinctive character all of its own.
The initial version of the Frømand is limited to 100 pieces and is engraved with ‘THE FIRST 100’ on the caseback. It is available for order via the Atelier Holgur website and is priced at CHF 8,850, excluding taxes. Deliveries to start in Q1 2023.
About Atelier Holgur
Atelier Holgur was born out of a desire to build watches that could stand up to the rigours of life and adventure, incorporating high-end watchmaking materials and techniques to deliver a uniquely rugged yet luxurious experience.
Co-founded by Asbjørn Simonen-Andersen and Matthew de Bakker, Atelier Holgur is determined to carve out a niche in the independent watch market, while supporting ocean conservation efforts around the world. Harnessing Matt’s passion for design and horology, as well as Asbjørn’s watchmaking heritage, Atelier Holgur pays homage to Asbjørn’s grandfather whilst at the same time delivering distinctive watches suited to the present day and beyond.
Atelier Holgur Frømand
Limited to 100 pieces
“THE FIRST 100” Engraved on caseback
Retail price: 8,850 CHF excluding local taxes
Material: Grade 5 Titanium, polished and microblasted finish
Integrated strap bars
Unidirectional dive bezel in black DLC, 120 clicks
Water resistance: 300m / 30atm
Glass: sapphire crystal front/back with anti-reflective coating
Dial: snailing with 3D applied Super-LumiNova®, sub-seconds
Hands: Atelier Holgur sword style with 3D applied Super-LumiNova®
Schwarz-Etienne ASE 200 for Atelier Holgur
Skeletonised, microblasted with hand polished bevelled edges
Self-winding mechanical movement
Power reserve: 86 hours
Winding rotor: micro-rotor with bi-directional winding
Frequency: 3 Hz (21,600 Alt/h)
Movement parts: 198 Movement jewels: 33
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds (hacking)
Straps Supplied with two straps made with tide ocean material® (recycled ocean plastic)
- Daily wear strap with Hook & Loop fastener and pin system
- Diving single loop strap with Hook & Loop fastener adjustment