Kristian Haagen September 28 2018
Kristian Haagen is a man who needs no introduction. An avid watch collector, who turned his passion into a career that brings him all over the world, he’s a force to be reckoned with. Profiled by the New York Times among others, he’s amassed a cool 95 000 followers on Instagram, where he’s an active and entertaining presence. A friend of the house, Kristian’s eye for good quality led him to discover Mismo back when we first launched, when we were still in our small 40 sq. m workspace and stockroom in Frederiksberg. So what does the man who deals with time for a living think about it? We chatted with the stylish Dane about where it all began, and his favourite under-the-radar watch label.
What ignited your interest in watches and how old were you when you bought your first luxury watch?
As a kid, I discovered the enormous collection of National Geographic magazines that both my dad and grandad had collected over decades. The first pages, especially from the 1970s-1980s, were full of adverts for wristwatches, and especially Rolex, Omega and Patek Philippe had an enormous impact on me. Seeing the explorers, deep sea divers and mountaineers in the magazine wearing (mostly) Rolex did it for me. Rolex was a part of that distinct masculine uniform and I wanted to be those guys when I grew up. Which, of course also meant wearing the same watches.
You’ve become one of Scandinavia’s, if not the world’s, most sought-after watch experts, when you think back to a younger you, is this the direction you thought your life would take?
I have always loved watches. As I recall, I was six years old when I fell in love with the Patek Philippe Nautilus (launched in 1976). But doing what I am doing today, working as a consultant and photographer for some of the most prominent watch brands...no...I had no idea.
You’re an avid traveller, do you have a go-to travel accessory (aside from your watch of course)?
My Mismo bags and backpack especially have been my rock solid and loyal luggage for years already. Of course a mobile charger, wireless headphones and a watch with a GMT-function (if flying overseas) are always with me when traveling.
Do you have a well-loved travel destination that you find yourself going back to again and again?
The Maldives was amazing, as was Argentina. Almost weekly traveling to Switzerland is a given in my job. But, if we set work-life aside and instead think of the perfect leisure time, I'd say Tokyo or California. Never a bad idea to visit both destinations. Each with their own charm and so much to offer for your eyes, heart, belly and camera.
The nature of your career is intricately linked to the concept of time. What does time mean to you?
I don't have enough of it. My girlfriend once claimed that she did not want me give her a watch. Instead she wanted my time. Talking time, I will still wear a great watch when I get so old that time is my enemy. However, I won't wind it. I will instead just enjoy the beauty and craftsmanship of it.
Is there a watch label that tends to fly under the radar that you think should get a share of the spotlight?
German Hanhart. They have a fantastic history in aviation watches. And hey, Steve McQueen wore a Hanhart! Making the cool-factor very high. Also, I am surprised that the Rolex Oyster Quartz does not enjoy more attention. It was produced in a very limited number (approx 25.000 pieces in a 25 year production period) compared to all the other Rolex models. The cool thing about these watches is that the movement is made with as much finesse as if it was actually a mechanical movement. Personally, I have great respect for the Rolex Oyster Quartz and I see it as a very collectible model.
You currently call Copenhagen home, do you have a favourite place in the city? Perhaps somewhere that inspires you, or where you can recharge?
My offices are located in old shipping containers in Nordhavn with an unbeatable ocean view. It is still a somewhat rough and rugged area, and I love the fact that even if new buildings are popping up everywhere, Copenhagen still offers this kind of area. Nordhavn has been my fave Copenhagen spot ever since I started working at an ad agency here in 1993.
Which Mismo bag do you find most useful in your day-to-day endeavours?
My ten year old M/S Backpack. It shows the right amount of wear and tear, but cannot be destroyed.
Do you have any new projects you're excited about?
I am co-founder of 8past10 (an app dedicated to watch lovers) and the future is looking really bright. My curated webshop www.kristianhaagen.com is also doing very well (it is managed by my girlfriend). And soon I will introduce a product that has been in the developing and pre-production phase for approx. two years. We have finally found the right partners that can produce this product and help us make it a global success.
Kristian carries assorted Mismo bags in the Army/Cuoio colorway
Shop Army/Cuoio here