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When you think of Danish watches you think of a minimalist design, uncluttered features and clear, clean looks. There are a number of watch brands that have come out of Denmark, although Skagen and Bering watches are probably the most well-known of the Danish watch brands.
But why compare Bering vs Skagen watches? Well, these two watch brands that are incredibly close in not only their design, but also have similar price points and share similar features – so it’s an obvious comparison to make.
We have sold both brands in our stores in the UK. For some years both brands sat alongside each other in our stores but we now continue to sell only Bering watches today.
We still see many Skagen watches with customers coming in for watch battery replacements in their watches. Those who own a Skagen watch talk about how much they love this brand and many say own more than one Skagen watch.
In this article we hope to give you more information to make an informed choice as to which, on the whole, is the best watch for your money.
Bering Watches vs Skagen Watches
At first glance, Skagen and Bering timepieces look very similar with their slimline design and contemporary looks. Indeed many people are interested to know if Skagen are the same as Bering. But they aren’t. They are different companies and their watches are made differently.
But what are the differences between these two watch brands? In comparing Bering vs Skagen, which comes out best?
The History of Skagen Watch Company
The Skagen watch company was founded in 1989 by Henrik and Charlotte Jorst after they moved to the USA. They named the company Skagen – Denmarks most northerly peninsula in Jutland. The Skagen company logo is a symbol of two bodies of Danish sea water meeting, the Skagerrak and Kattegatt.
They found manufacturers in Hong Kong and first showed their watches at a corporate trade fair in 1991 and, in 1993, they still had no employees. Bloomingdales agreed a trial period of their watches in 1995 and, by 1998 Skagen were considered one of the USA’s fastest-growing privately-owned companies.
After opening a distribution centre in Denmark, Europe, they began selling to the UK market in 1999. Germany, the Netherlands and the Middle East distributions followed and, in 2012 Skagen was purchased by the Fossil group for $237 million. In 2012 the production of Skagen watches was moved to China.
So, whilst many will think of Skagen as a Danish company and, undoubtably, the founders were Danish and the design is Danish, the Skagen watch brand was started in the USA and initially manufactured in Hong Kong and, it seems, is now produced in China. Skagen do have a headquarters in Denmark as well as the USA.
Skagen offered a really refreshing design in watches and customers loved the beautiful slimline looks and Milanese (mesh) bracelets.
The History of Bering Time Watches
Bering was founded by Rene Kaerskov in 2008. Kaerskov was a businessman who was also an adventurer. On a trip to the North Pole he jumped into the Artic from a helicopter and was mesmerised by Alaska’s vast beauty and simplicity. He said that this later heavily influenced the designs of his watches. He returned from his adventures and told his business partners, Michael Witt Johansen and Lars Gram-Skjonnemann about the beauty of what he saw.
They began to envision a new watch brand that captured the beauty and simplicity of the Artic using the best materials for their watches to be long-lasting, just like the Artic.
The Bering Time brand was named after Vitus Bering the adventurer who founded the Bering Strait in the Artic ocean in 1728. As the first European to discover Alaska, one of the four time zones there was named in his honour, ‘Bering Time’. The emphasis, right from the start, was to create a stunning design with simplicity at its core using top-of-the-range materials (more of this later).
Bering watches arrived in the UK market in 2011 – after previously only being available to the Danish and German markets. With a price point between £80-£500 with the most popular models positioned between £100-£200, they had some competition.
At the time Skagen watches were doing very well in the UK, after starting in the USA, and it was a credit to the sales team at Bering to persuade retailers in the UK (like us!) to take on another Danish brand that had very similar looks to Skagen. In fact, initially we were very hesitant to take them on as they looked so similar to Skagen.
The fact that we and other retailers took them on was helped, in no small part, with the introduction of ceramic watches which became hugely popular.
The term “Designed in Denmark” has been used since the 1950’s to a demonstrate clean, minimalist design and style in art, architecture and functional products. Consequently, Danish design epitomises this uncluttered, cool design and this is easily adapted to watch design. In comparing Bering vs Skagen watches, there’s not much to choose between the two when it comes to their design.
Danish Watch Brands
The Danes are not new to watch design. There are a number of great Danish watch brands and their design is always at the forefront of their watches.
Sapphire Crystal Glass
In comparing Bering watches vs Skagen, Bering wins the best “material” competition, in our opinion. This includes ultra-clear, scratch-resistant Sapphire crystal glass (this is a huge advantage on these very slim watches as the glass is very thin).
Sapphire crystal is a superior, more durable, and is stronger than the usual mineral glass used in most watches. Bering use sapphire glass in all their watches.
Indeed, in writing our article “What to do if your watch glass breaks“, we wanted to know just how many watch glass replacements our watch repairer had carried out on a Bering watch compared to Skagen – he couldn’t recall every replacing a glass in a Bering watch whilst he’s had to replace many Skagen. This could, of course, be partly because they have been around longer but sapphire crystal is a definite advantage.
Both watches use stainless steel. Bering state they use 316L stainless steel which is used in medical technology. This is used to assure a long-lasting life of the watch and should not cause any irritation.
Mesh Straps/Milanese Straps
The stainless steel Milanese bracelets on both watch brands looks great and, when they were introduced, they led the market with this style of bracelet. Mesh straps are very comfortable to wear and they are durable.
They are also easy to adjust yourself without fiddly removal of links which may need a trip to the jewellers. This is particularly advantageous during the summer months if you want to make your watch a little looser. There is also the added security of a safety catch on Milanese straps.
The mesh strap doesn’t encourage perspiration behind the strap either and is, therefore, more comfortable.
Bering introduced a ceramic watch collection into their range almost since their inception to the UK market and this separated them from Skagen. We found that the Bering watch brand, in our stores, overtook the Skagen range when they added ceramic watches.
Normally found in a high-end watch brand, the ceramic watch collection proved a huge hit, offering a superior quality material for a reasonable cost. Many watch enthusiasts say they purchased a ceramic for their wife for a present.
This fabulous material is hypo-allergenic, heat-resistant, strong (although can be brittle so it needs to be handled and stored with care), is incredibly tactile and exudes class and good-looks.
We have customers who have owned a ceramic watch for years and it still looks pristine.
Whilst the ceramic watch collection is not as on-trend as it was, there are still many watch designs in both brands which use a ceramic bezel.
Both brands have a collection of titanium watches. Lightweight and strong these are hugely popular with men. You will need to pay a little more for titanium but it’s a superior metal to stainless steel.
There are a number of unisex watch designs in both ranges.
There is no end of choice if you want a coloured watch, in both brands. Black and blue dials have always been a popular design in both the Skagen and Bering watch collections. The Bering titanium collection looks fabulous with blue dials.
Bering white ceramic became a well-recognised part of the brand. The slate grey of the titanium range is also a much-loved look.
Both watch companies introduced a very brightly coloured range, in matt, solid colours like yellow, green, blue and red, with a silicone strap. This was the Skagen Aaren Kulor range and Bering’s True Aurora collection.
Skagen Aaren Kulor
Bering’s True Aurora
The Danish Design
Both Skagen and Bering have a lovely slimline design. Bering have an “ultra slim” collection, introducing an even thinner watch, including a model which is just 4.8 mm thick. Again the advantage of having robust sapphire glass is an advantage in such a slimline design.
Despite the slim and light-weight designs these watches are sturdy and robust. This is an attractive combination for watch enthusiasts everywhere.
With ultra-fine hands, clear dials and uncluttered face, both Skagen and Bering are famous for their minimalist watch creations.
For the most part Skagen has been powered by quartz movements (battery powered), although they do now have a solar powered collection and Smart Watch collection.
Bering offer quartz movements, a solar powered range, and a very popular automatic collection.
Both Skagen and Bering use Japanese quartz movements.
Solar Powered Movements
With solar powered watch movements, light is converted into electrical energy via the solar cell under the dial and stored in a secondary battery (a rechargeable battery). To charge the solar cell the watch doesn’t need to be placed in full sun light, either, just daylight is fine. Although, if you are recharging the watch from flat, it would be more beneficial to rest the watch near a window (even on a cloudy day).
The battery, once full charged, will store enough energy to power the watch for 6-12 months (even if left in a drawer). The solar battery will eventually become less efficient at storing this energy but it takes many years (between 10-12 years) before it will need replacing.
Both the Bering and Skagen brand are up against other great brands for Solar powered watches such as Seiko, Breitling or Citizen Eco-Drives.
The Bering brand offer automatic watches whilst Skagen currently don’t. Some of the most popular Bering watches with customers in our store are automatics. Bering offer a lovely looking automatic watch, although they do come a little deeper than their normal slim models they still are incredibly slimline considering they need to house all the extra intricacies of an automatic movement.
Bering offer great automatic watches, still coming in at less than $500. For those who dream of owning an Omega, Rolex or Longines, owning a Bering can be a wonderful start into an automatic watch collection.
Skagen vs Bering – A Comparison
|Bering Watches||Skagen Watches|
|Sapphire Crystal Glass||✓||×|
|Slimmest Design||4.8 mm||4.85 mm|
|Guarantee||3 Years||2 Years|
Bering and Skagen watches at first glance are similar in style with a slimline design and minimalist looks. Bering have the advantage of using high-quality sapphire crystal glass on all of their watches which, on such slim designs, offer a huge benefit.
Bering also have a great titanium and automatic range – sadly lacking in Skagen. But the Skagen brand have a Smart Watch range, which Bering don’t have yet.
Skagen may offer a larger range of styles of watches, particularly for ladies.
We think you get more watch for your money with Bering. In many watch reviews, they are generally classed as one of the best watches for under $500 and rightly so, in our opinion. They offer clean, classic looks with great functionality and good-quality materials and a high-end feel without the cost.
Many of our customers, male and female, who come to us for battery changes in their Skagen watch talk about how they love their watch and that they are still pleased with it even years after they bought it.
It really boils down to is personal choice and choosing the watch you love the style of most.
Do let us know your thoughts if you’ve owned either a Bering or Skagen or both – which have your preferred?