Japan has a long-standing love affair with Scandanavian design evident by the continuing popularity of H&M, IKEA, Acne Studios, Hasselblad and Lego.
Japan is also obsessed, on some level, with watches. From homegrown firms such as Casio and Citizen to global superstars Rolex, Omega and Patek Philippe, the Japanese consumer has a particularly discerning eye when it comes to timepieces.
Danish company August Berg has recently opened its online store in Japan with a serious ethos based on ethics and design. Japan is the company’s first international market, and the brand has an eye on opening a flagship in the country in the near future. “August Berg is rooted in the traditional Scandinavian design philosophy of ‘form follows function’ — an aesthetic that has much in common with Japanese design,” says August Berg CEO Anders Peter in a recent email interview with Metropolis. “Our target consumers are those interested in ethical consumption, social responsibility and people who like good design. And of course, those who relate to living or want to live their lives in accordance to the August Berg brand ethos, in other words, consciously in ways of how they spend their precious time.”
We believe that responsible consumption, green energy and sustainability should be ‘mainstream’
— August Berg CEO Anders Peter
Peter is philosophical when it comes to the idea the company labels as “timefulness.” “The ambition of the brand is to change the dialogue of the watch industry from being focused on external values to focus on internal values. This includes reframing the purpose of a watch as a counter of lost time to a measure of potential opportunity. We want to inspire our consumers to make conscious choices with their time.” In the age of the COVID-19 pandemic, Peter points out that many people have been forced to reevaluate how they spend their time. They have also made shifts into rethinking how they spend their free time such as spending more quality time at home and with family members. “It has never been more important to understand how precious time is and how you spend it,” adds Peter.
August Berg values “conscious consumerism,” a rising trend which requires brands to be more socially conscious and sustainable in their practices. “Sustainability is an integral part and belief of August Berg,” says Peter. “We do not seek to please specific markets. We do it because producing in a sustainable way is in our DNA. It’s a natural part of acting consciously in the world we are all a part of. We have our roots in Denmark, one of the most progressive nations when it comes to sustainable development. We believe that responsible consumption, green energy and sustainability should be ‘mainstream’ and the only choice in more parts of the world.”
The Danish brand has also collaborated with the nonprofit organization Human Practice Foundation to provide children in Kenya and Nepal with the opportunity to receive quality education, with plans to expand this existing collaboration to other areas in the years to come.
Stylish, elegant, design conscious and ethical, August Berg is one of the leading lights in the new era of the watch industry. As the Japanese or Japan-based consumer becomes more aware and involved in socially conscious consumerism, more brands like August Berg will reap the benefits and, more importantly, help others in the process.
Shop online at augustberg.jp.