Time and space are inseparable concepts, and the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard makes that perfectly clear.
With the exception of a few permanent settlements (the northernmost in the world) Svalbard is space shaped not by man, but rather by wind and rain, ice and sea. Time itself designed the Svalbard islands, and what masterpieces they are. Wild, remote and profoundly inhospitable, the islands will only reveal their unparalleled beauty to those brave enough to head north in search of it, despite the dangers lurking beneath the northern lights. Despite the blizzards slowing everything down to the point where it feels like you’re only moving in time, not in space.
The landscape remains unchanged when all is white in all directions. All dimensions disappear, except for the fourth. Time always remains. That’s when your BRUVIK Svalbard timepiece will let you know, down to the millisecond, just how much time has passed since the last time your eyes sought rest at your wrist. And then, when the weather clears and you finally spot one of Svalbard’s majestic mountains on the horizon, you’ll know that it was time well spent.
After visiting the arctic archipelago of Svalbard, designer Rune Bruvik knew that the islands would someday inspire a range of watches.
Years later, sitting in his office wearing the finished prototype on his wrist, he immediately fell in love with the watch. What he didn’t quite know was whether or not he had succeeded in capturing the wild nature of the landscape in such a sophisticated piece of design and engineering. The uncertainty was to be short-lived, and when he brought the watch to Svalbard in august 2013, he knew with absolute certainty. The watch was home. Here’s Rune’s own account of the journey to the northern end of Norway.
Rough, tough, empty and vast.
When you first arrive at Svalbard it’s like step- ping onto the surface of the moon. The landscape resembles nothing you’ll find anywhere else in Norway – or anywhere else on Earth, for that matter. It genuinely seems out of this world, and the stark contrasts of the characteristic Svalbard mountains – black volcanic rock at the bottom, partially covered by the blindingly white ice and snow – lend themselves effortlessly to a watch design.
The challenge is to do the landscape justice. Svalbard is ravaged by weather, worn by time. Rough, tough, empty and vast. Extremely vast. All this became part of the watch, and, to my relief, the finished product really seemed at home at Svalbard. The watch that had felt so good, so right, in the urban surroundings of the BRUVIK main office, felt equally good in the surroundings that inspired it. Slightly better, even. That was the most pleasing thing to me, personally. That as- sured me that we had succeeded.
Another goal of the trip was to capture photographic evidence of the landscape that inspired the watch. Photographer Hanne Feyling is a resident of Svalbard, and hiring her would prove to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Knowing the islands like her own back pockets, she knew the perfect place and the perfect time to capture the perfect photograph.
20 minutes by car from Longyearbyen, the capital of Svalbard, just past the abandoned coal mine creatively named Mine 7, Feyling had found her location. She also knew when the light conditions would be at their best, early in the morning. Therefore, before the break of dawn, we had already collected our canine escorts, two magnificent gruskies (a mix between Greenland dog and husky), a power generator, a rifle for protection against polar bears, and we were on our way.
Upon arrival a sense of awe struck the entire crew.
Upon arrival a sense of awe struck the entire crew. This was exactly what we came for. Majestic mountains, clear skies, no sign of civilization or, lucky for us, polar bears. That day, the session lasted for three hours, but in my mind it’ll remain for much longer. In fact, I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. But if I do, I’ve got the pictures to remind me. And the watch, of course, to which I made one small adjustment upon returning home. The final piece of the timepiece puzzle, if you will, but I’ll keep that change as my little secret. Rest assured, it didn’t only make the watch better, it made it whole. I hope you’ll enjoy it.
Yours truly, Rune.