As usual, I am sharing pre-purchase decision making process, delivery experience and product commentary. This review is based on 2 months’ wear. Before we go into all the details, please be aware that I have tiny, flat wrist (13cm circumference) and that watch is an essential item to me. I have been wearing one since I was a kid. It feels naked to be without one. May sound a bit strange, but I strongly prefer non-smart analogue watch. Smart watches are not for me.
Disclosure: Nordgreen found my tiny blog from an old watch article and offered a watch of my choice in exchange for a review.
This review is broken down into sections 😉 Hopefully it will save you some time on finding sections that interest you the most.
Selection process (decision making)
Nordgreen’s smallest women watch is Infinity, 32mm. So yes, that was actually my initial choice. HOWEVER, I am a huge sucker for date dial watch. So Nordgreen Philosopher end up catching my eye. It is 36mm though. I checked my Casio Baby-G, which is around 42mm and I love it a ton, so I thought, hey, why not?
I already have 3 other silver watches, so my thought was to go for one that is either gold or rose gold. Their gold colour looked a bit too antique for my liking, so there I was, went in for the brushed rose gold.
My current collection of watches have these straps: mesh, 3 links, 5 links and fabric. So of course, I will go for a leather one this time. There have SOOOOO many strap choices though, that took the bulk of my time. Dark brown, brown, black, pink, grey… Was really impressed by the amount of strap choices. I completely ignore the vegan options of course. Vegan leather = plastic, no thank you. Stop calling it “vegan” please.
1 hour later… I decided on the grey strap. Seriously, they should just name it pale blue or strongly blue hued grey. My eyes are nearly perfect based on Munsell test (colour differentiation), so I am definitively calling this out as a mislabelling.
Nordgreen brand review
Nordgreen is a Danish brand. Comparing to the other Scandinavian fashion watch brands such as Daniel Wellington, Nordgreen design aesthetic is a lot more thoughtful and substantially more original.
If you visit Nordgreen’s site, you will see it instantly that although their watches are also minimalist, Nordgreen’s watches are a lot more refined. E.g. the textured dial, the crown design and branding, the hand shape, the bezel finish, the lug angle etc. When you look at a Daniel Wellington and a Nordgreen side by side for instance (I am comparing the most basic watch from each brand side by side), you can clearly see there’s a huge difference in attention to detail.
A surprising thing about Nordgreen is that their watches are designed by Jakob Wagner, a known designer (Bang & Olufsen). As a fashion watch brand, even though Mr Wagner has absolutely nothing to do with horology, it is still way better than the beyond generic look of DW’s watches. This definitely gave Nordgreen an authentic designer touch to the brand.
For more fashion watch brand comparison, refer to my older blog post 😉
***I am not purposefully ragging on DW, they just happen to be the most well known Scandinavian fashion watch brand and are similar price point as Nordgreen.
Ethics & social compliance
Nordgreen placed quite a bit of their site talking about their social compliance and production ethics. They highlighted that their supplier is “Danish owned” (China based factory). This implies that they perceive that their supplier’s superior production management ability stems from nationality. These type of subtle signaling is common in marketing. It is like Apple emphasises that their products are designed in USA (also made in China). Colonial sort of communication really. For such a “woke” looking brand, it was kind of disappointing that they chose to emphasis this.
It was actually this type of alarming wording that caused me to email Nordgreen to verify if they request that their suppliers have social compliance certification such as BSCI. Nordgreen have replied and I am relieved that they do audit factories themselves. So at the very least, Nordgreen does do audit and not just blindly trust their “Danish owned factory”. It is important to me that companies don’t just sell the idea of compliance but actually do the work.
Something else that raves me up? “Based on Danish labor practices” is totally marketing talk. I trust that I don’t need to explain why this is more a fantasy selling statement. What does “Danish labor practice” even means? Does it mean that the Chinese who works at the factory does the same hours and get the same pay as Danish worker? Let’s get real here, this is a heavily marketing BS statement.
Like many other brands, of course Nordgreen also have a donation program for a good cause (environment, education and health). Personally, I find this type of “we donate to a good cause” marketing a bit exhausting. Seriously, how much of the price goes to these good causes? f I am interested to donate to those causes, I’d donate directly. I’ve said this before, but I’d say it again. This type of “feel good” linked marketing does nothing for me in deciding whether I buy an item.
The delivery was fast, but UPS was lazy beyond comprehension and my watch ended up in a pick up point that was far from my place (more than 15min walk). I maybe petty, but in winter, seriously? Anywhere beyond 10min is too far.
I was HOME, okay, it was UPS that was too lazy to ring my bell? My letter box is enormous, why can’t they place it in my letter box? Instead of having it delivered straight to my home 3 days from order to delivery, it took a week before I got my hands onto my watch.
Packaging / unboxing experience
The box has this slightly rubberised paper finish that reminds me of unboxing Prada products. It can be the colour too. Prada’s is more purple of course. The heavy weight box and the embossed branding made the unboxing pretty luxe.
Inside of the box, the watch is flatly laid onto grey felt and kept in place by 3mm black elastic. Seriously sleek packaging. Amazing unboxing experience! Was totally not expecting this type of packaging.
With this type of packaging, this is an excellent gifting item. Easy to wrap too, because it is a rectangular box. *LOL* Seriously? How chic is this packaging?
Philosopher watch 36mm, rose gold
The brushed casing is just gorgeous. Lots of Easter Eggs that were not visible at the website. The bezel is textured, I guess that’s what make Nordgreen looks more sophisticated than the other fashion watches. The texture moderated the shininess giving the over all watch a more coherent look.
The hour markers are raised in brushed rose gold and the minute markers are flat in black. This combo looks better in real life than in photo because in photo, I couldn’t see the difference in height as clearly.
The crown is quite the winner. It has this unusual half toothed shape (the indentation is not all the way down to the base of the crown). I really like that. I don’t own any watch that has this type of crown shape. I find the tiny Nordgreen logo on the crown super cute. Love their attention to detail with this design.
The softness of the leather strap actually caught my attention first when I picked it up. I was totally not expecting that. Not lamb leather soft, but it is SOFT. The thread colour matching is amazing too. LOVE the strap so much.
On the site, Nordgreen states that it is “Genuine Italian Leather “. Please just state whether it is calf / cow / pigskin etc. Italian leather sounds fancy, but what does it mean? *LOL* Most older watchmaking brands (e.g. Tissot, Swatch, Seiko etc.) disclose their leather specifically in the description. Swatch even specifies both the top and bottom layer leather (love a bit of OCD).
So in short, this watch looks bloody fantastic!
My wrist measures 13cm (circumference). The watch is 36mm.
The length of the watch (from the tip of the buckle to the tip): 22cm
Okay, this watch was a bit too large for me. I think 32mm is really my limit. Clearly my fault on choosing the 36mm.
Wear test – 2 months
Wear and tear
Nothing broken, no visible discolouration and the leather was hardy enough to have no visible scratch. This is the COVID era, so we’re talking about hourly hand wash and sanitiser madness. I was a bit worried about my hand cleaning action discoloring the watch or the leather strap, but it turned out to be tougher than it looks. So from “ease of care”, yeah, Nordgreen Philosopher did good.
The watch was slower than my phone clock by almost 5 minute after 1 month of wear! Initially, I thought maybe I didn’t set the watch right. So I wore it for another month to verify if the watch was indeed slowing down It happened again 🙁
***This is highly unusual for a quartz movement watch. Quartz movement watches are usually very accurate. It is probably just my watch, bad luck, I guess.
Conclusion: do I recommend this watch?
When it comes to clean, yet detailed design, Nordgreen Philosopher does stand out among its competitors. If you’re currently considering a fashion watch, I’d say Nordgreen is a definite strong contestant. Their attention to detail in design is a lot more sophisticated than the other young fashion watch brands. Given that their packaging is so stunning, I do think that their watches make excellent gifts.
The thing that prevented me from proactively running out and tell all my friends to buy it is the crazy 5 minutes slow down per month situation that I experienced. Although I recognise that this is extremely rare with quartz movement watches, it still shook up my confidence to recommend this watch proactively to friends. It’s that “what if” that looms me.
If you are looking for a watch as an occasional accessory, then I would recommend that you check out my article on Which women fashion watch to buy?.
Otherwise, if you already have your heart set to get yourself a fashion watch around this price point. Here is a list of similar price point fashion watch brands (alphabetical order) for comparison sake. There are MANY more brands out there. Do your research to minimise post purchase regret 😉
- Daniel Wellington (Sweden) https://www.danielwellington.com/
- Kapten & Son (Swedish) https://kapten-son.com/
- MVMT (USA) https://www.mvmt.com/
- Olivia Burton (UK) https://oliviaburton.com/
- Rosefield (Netherland) https://www.rosefieldwatches.com
- Skagen (Denmark) https://www.skagen.com/
***Comparing fashion watch brands with watch maker brands are kind like comparing apples with oranges, so I only listed non-watchmaker background brands.
Yikes, I am at 1800 words *LOL*. Thank you for reading. I hope this review helps you to decide.
I am not affiliated with any brand mentioned in this post and do not have access to exclusive information. All information shared in the post is based on the personal experience, brand’s website, and their respective customer service response.