New Years is right around the corner. Do you know what that means?
People are getting their outfits together for those Gatsby Roaring ‘20s parties.
My favorite thing about those dress-up parties is seeing how many people wear clothes from the ‘40s, ‘50s, and ‘60s.
In another 20 years, we’ll all be wearing MC Hammer pants and neon jackets to our New Years Gatsby parties.
But I’m not a stickler for history anyway. I love celebrating a new year by looking back to decades past.
This year, I’m finally showing up to those Roaring ‘20s parties with an appropriate timepiece—no, it’s not a Flava-Flav clock, that’s not for another 20 years, remember?
I’m rocking a Bjorn Hendal.
In this review, I’m going to break down what makes this Swedish watchmaker the best choice for spicing up your modern look with a hint of vintage.
Plus, you’ll learn some amazing facts about moose. You don’t want to miss those, do you?
What is Bjorn Hendal?
Bjorn Hendal is a relatively new Swedish watch brand founded in 2014. They’re on a mission to recreate the classic look of chronographs from the ‘40s and ‘50s, but with a few tweaks so they fit seamlessly into today’s fashion.
BH is a subsidiary of the high-end, custom timepiece brand, Blancier. Don’t worry—you won’t see the same $10k+ prices you’d find with a Blancier, but the same experience and knowledge are behind Bjorn Hendal.
My watch collection is filled with hard-edged, sleek modern looking pieces. But sometimes I like to break out of that look.
So I reached out to Bjorn Hendal to see if I could get my hands on a few of their vintage-inspired chronographs. They sent me their bestselling Varberg Chronograph and their Varberg Flytande 24.
Bjorn Hendal Varberg Chronograph Review
I’ve never seen packaging quite like this. Both watches come in a leather box with a padded felt insert. Rather than storing a pamphlet inside as many brands do, they add a simple card featuring a QR code that brings you to the manual.
The box is a little difficult to open, but I like that it’s a snug fit. Nothing’s worse than a flimsy box.
Ultimately, these boxes look great on my dresser and I’d say they’re some of the nicest in my collection.
The Varberg Chronograph has a 44mm, 18-carat gold plated case that measures 5mm thick. When you include the caseback and the domed crystal, the timepiece gets up to 13mm thick.
Wearing this watch, I’m drawn to the bright gold, but it’s not over-the-top because the case is quite slim. The height from the caseback creates separation from the wrist, and the domed crystal adds bulk in a subtle way.
I’ve never owned a timepiece designed with such a prominent caseback and crystal. It’s a subtle show-off and looks great.
My version of the Varberg Chronograph has an eggshell white dial and brilliant blue indices. The metallic royal blue color of the hands against the gold and white is a unique combo.
I like the white dial because it gives off that antique vibe, especially with their cursive branding at 12 o’clock.
As a chronograph, the Varberg has three subdials—a 60-second, 60-minute, and 24-hour dial. All three subdials track well and I haven’t seen any issue in my first two weeks of testing.
They’ve kept things very simple for this chronograph—just two button-pushers and a three-position crown. The pushers don’t have that satisfying click that I like, but they’re solid and sturdy.
The crystal is where this piece really shines. The Varberg features a fairly steep domed Plexi crystal. This sort of crystal was popular in watches from the ‘40s and ‘50s and really sets Bjorn Hendal apart.
The Plexi crystal has its positives and negatives.
On one hand (pun intended) it’s much easier to scratch Plexi as it’s acrylic. It’ll eventually show some wear and tear, so you’ll need to pick up polishing compound and go over it every year or so.
On the other hand, the domed crystal is what makes the antique look. If they were to try and create the same structure with sapphire, the cost would likely go up several thousand dollars.
The guys at WatchBox Studios have a great video comparing Plexi and sapphire crystals if you’re interested in diving deeper.
The only information available on the Bjorn Hendal site regarding the movement is that it’s Japanese quartz.
(Note: I asked Bjorn Hendal about their movements—they’re from Seiko.)
Many watchmakers include specific information about their movements, including the caliber. Even though they don’t have these specs available, it’s safe to assume they’re using a high-quality movement.
It’s hard to go wrong with Japanese engineered quartz movements. They’re reliable, accurate, and a great value.
Ok, this is where the review might slide off the rails a bit—but Bjorn Hendal has awakened a deep passion in me.
A passion for moose.
Their caseback has a laser-etched moose with a Swedish flag superimposed on it. At the risk of sounding ignorant, I didn’t know Sweden had moose.
My sister-in-law pointed out that, had I seen Frozen, I would have known about Swedish moose. Well, I did see Frozen, but I never put the puzzle pieces together until Bjorn Hendal’s caseback.
In fact, there’s more moose-density in Sweden than anywhere in the world. And here I thought moose were only a North American thing. I had a Swedish roommate in college and he never told me anything about moose. My mind was totally blown.
I called a buddy in Alaska to confirm some of my newfound moose-knowledge, but he wasn’t in the mood for jokes. Apparently, moose will seriously hurt you. They’re not as cute and cuddly as I assumed.
There’s so much out there I still don’t know about moose, but I’m willing to learn.
I must say, the caseback got me thinking about a topic that spurred many ridiculous conversations, and so I love it for that reason.
Besides the moosy-ness of the caseback, it’s classy and looks great.
Strap and Wearability
The strap was a bit of a letdown for both the Chronograph and the Flytande. I would’ve liked to see more attention on the band, especially considering the quality of the rest of the watch. The bands weren’t uncomfortable, but they felt thin.
I did like the shape of the buckle on the band, though. The rounded shape reminded me of some of my grandpa’s watches, which is what Bjorn Hendal was aiming for with their vintage designs.
My Overall Thoughts on the Varberg Chronograph
What I Like
The crystal shows their commitment to vintage style. It’s unique, interesting, and really brings the whole watch together.
The blue indices and eggshell dial against the gold case make for an unusual look I haven’t seen anywhere else.
It’s plated with 18-carat gold—ballers only.
What I Don’t Like
The strap didn’t feel like it worked with the watch. I’ll probably get a different strap because the timepiece itself is great.
I’d like to see more information available, specifically the movement manufacturer and caliber.
The Bjorn Hendal Varberg Chronograph is a one-of-a-kind watch that showcases the vintage design of 1940’s timepieces. Details like 18-carat gold plating and a domed crystal make it stand out.
While I felt the strap didn’t quite match the quality of the watch, it’s an easy issue to fix.
The Varberg Chronograph is a great option for formal occasions.
So if you have any fancy new years parties coming up, or if you’re just into flashing a gold-plated beauty, check out this modern adaptation of a classic.
Bjorn Hendal offers up a throwback to bygones past with its Varberg Chronograph, and while the strap is a bit of a letdown, the vintage inspired quality is hard to find elsewhere for the price.
Bjorn Hendal Varberg Flytande 24 Review
The Varberg Flytande 24 has many of the same features as the Chronograph, including a 44mm case with a domed crystal. Not to repeat myself, but I like how this watch rises from my wrist and stands out. Even with a 13mm thick profile, it doesn’t look over-the-top because the design is subtle.
No button-pushers here, just a bulbous crown. I really like the shape—similar to a pocket watch. The crown sells it.
The dial features lume-painted Arabic numerals and hands, as well as a 24-hour subdial. I picked up the navy-blue dial on a silver case and it looks fantastic. The lume on the numerals gives them a slight green tint the overall style is really nice.
The Flytande 24 has a sweeping movement with four ‘ticks’ per second. This one is also Japanese quartz, though I’m not exactly sure which caliber.
The sweeping motion is a great throwback to vintage horology. While most quartz movements only tick once per second, Bjorn Hendal has gone the extra mile to give embrace the old-school style.
My Overall Thoughts on the Flytande 24
What I Like
The bulbous crown has a really cool look that is reminiscent of pocket-watches from the past.
I like the green-tint imparted by the lume pigment. It gives the dial a great contrasting blue and green colorway that’s totally unique.
The sweeping movement is a subtle touch and a nod to vintage horology.
It’s a great style for a dress watch, but it can be worn as a casual timepiece, too.
What I Don’t Like
Again, the strap here felt like it didn’t match the quality of the watch.
I had the same issue finding more detailed information about the Flytande as I did the Chronograph.
The Bjorn Hendal Flytande 24 has all the makings of a classic watch. They’ve gone all-in with the details to relive a great decade in horological history.
From the sweeping movement, the unique crown, and the domed crystal, it really carries a vintage feel.
The Flytande is a solidly built timepiece that works equally well dressed up with a suit or as the statement piece in a casual outfit.
As with the Varberg Chronograph, the strap doesn’t feel like it’s on par with the watch. But the timepiece itself is so unique that I’m more than willing to find a band that compliments it.
The Flytande is a solidly built timepiece that works equally well dressed up with a suit or as the statement piece in a casual outfit. As with the Varberg Chronograph, the strap doesn’t feel like it’s on par with the watch. But the timepiece itself is so unique that I’m more than willing to find a band that compliments it.