Halda fickursfabrik, in English Halda pocket watch factory, was founded by Henning Hammarlund in 1887 in Blekinge Svängsta, Sweden, and quickly became famous for making watches of the highest quality and advanced mechanics. Henning Hammarlund had a vision of never compromising, ever, and this allowed him to quickly build a watch company of only producing the very best timepieces. In fact, his watches were so adorned that Halda had the honorable task of delivering watches to several honorable individuals in the royal house. In 1890, just three years after being founded, the first Halda pocket watch was rewarded two gold medals at the World Exhibition in Chicago, competing with some of the today’s largest watch companies. Halda started producing typewriters and taximeters in 1890, and at a time, Halda’s taximeters were the only taximeters used in the whole of London. Additionally, Ernest Hemmingway was a frequent user of the Halda typewriters when creating his masterpieces. It was Henning Hammarlund who brought the fine mechanics to Sweden. The Halda company has laid the foundation for a number of successful companies, such as Haldex, ABU, and Facit. Due to the decreased demand for watches during 1927, Halda stopped all its production and went into bankruptcy. This wouldn’t be the end of Halda, though.
The Halda company is resurrected
In 2009, the Swedish engineer and devoted entrepreneur Mikael Sandström revived the Halda brand after an 82-year-long sleep.
Sandström revived the brand as Halda Watch Co, and created it with the same mindset and vision that the founder Henning Hammarlund had when he created Halda: ”In order to become the best, you can never compromise, ever”. With the resurrection of Halda, Sandström created a new and unique concept with the goal of putting Swedish watchmaking on the world map. The goal was to create a Swedish super watch, that was unique and different, which that paid tribute to Halda’s past, and Swedish watchmaking history, but which also looked into the future. The new innovative concept was a time-platform consisting of a platform and interchangeable time modules. For Halda, this was the passionate meeting point between fine watchmaking and the eternal dream of a perfect timepiece, because it meant combining the tradition of mechanical watchmaking with the advantages of modern technology. At its new start, Sandström and his team went in for a challenge, and they set their aim to create a watch for the most extreme environment known: space. This would become the first flagship timepiece for the resurrected Halda Watch Co, and the result was the Halda Space Discovery.
The first manifestation of the modern Halda brand was the Halda Space Discovery. Like all Halda timepieces, the Space Discovery is based on the unique concept of interchangeable modules, allowing you switch between a helpful and functional digital module, and an advanced mechanical module, which pays tribute to fine watchmaking.
The goal of the Space Discovery was to bring it to space with the Swedish astronaut Christer Fuglesang. The result was the name Space Discovery. During the Discovery mission STS-128, the Space Discovery was tested by the astronauts, and developed in close cooperation with their feedback and input, in order to make the space watch truly astronaut-certified. The digital module is made in the NASA certified material Tecamax, and the mechanical module is fitted with a new old stock (NOS) movement which has been renovated and modernized by the skilled and reputable watchmaker Svend Andersen. The movement has a frequency of 5 HZ, or 36,000 bph, and has 25 jewels and a power reserve of about 43 hours.
The digital module has an array of functions which are truly helpful for an astronaut. These include:
- Dual Time
- UTC Alarm
- MET Alarm
- Event Log
- Mission Time
- Earth Time
Of course, most individuals won’t go to space, but fortunately, this isn’t a requirement for this watch. Instead, it is a demonstration that the Halda timepiece is suitable for one of the most extreme environments, and proves the non-compromising quality of Halda. The Halda Space Discovery is a limited edition model, made in 128 pieces, after the Discovery mission STS-128 for which it was brought along. The watch is delivered in a handmade wooden box and comes with a steel bracelet, a Velcro strap and a travel case in genuine leather.
The second manifestation of the Halda Watch co after the resurrection is the Race Pilot. After the most extreme environment had been mastered by Halda, the next challenge was to create the first real watch made for racing. The Race Pilot meeds all needs of a race driver without compromising, and by using Halda’s unique modular concept.
The digital module is powered by an in-house electronic movement and the mechanical module is powered by a Zenith movement. Back in the days, the Halda Speed Pilot could be found in almost every race car and is today a sought-after collection object. The Race Pilot name is a nod to Halda’s past, and the two modules is a beautiful combination of honoring the watchmaking tradition of Halda, while also continuing to push boundaries. The digital module is a top which truly makes a difference on the track. The Race Pilot is developed together with professional race drivers and engineer. The Race Pilot features key information about the top 150 race tracks int he world, and automatically sense when you reach the track.
Just like the Space Discovery, the Race Pilot features a number of helpful features, including racetrack information, countdown to race, FIA Formula 1 Countdown, g-force, dual time, and much more. As for the mechanical module, it is powered by a Zenith cal. 685. It is a 38-jewel automatic movement, beating 28,800 times per hour and has a 50-hour Power Reserve. The movement can be seen through the crystal case-back.
Today, Halda Watch Co continues to push boundaries of what was previously thought impossible, and who knows which territory Halda will take on as its challenge next?