Our Heritage

1857

It all began with one man’s obsessive attention to detail. Our founder Henning Hammarlund, born on December 30th, was a true perfectionist who believed in never compromising – ever.

Henning, who was considered a mechanical genius, built his first timepiece in wood during his early teens. At the age of 16 Hammarlund got his first job in a local mechanical workshop but soon moved on to be a watchmaker apprentice, where his dream of building his own watchmaking factory was born.

1857

It all began with one man’s obsessive attention to detail. Our founder Henning Hammarlund, born on December 30th, was a true perfectionist who believed in never compromising – ever.

Henning, who was considered a mechanical genius, built his first timepiece in wood during his early teens. At the age of 16 Hammarlund got his first job in a local mechanical workshop but soon moved on to be a watchmaker apprentice, where his dream of building his own watchmaking factory was born.

1879

At age of 21, Hammarlund left for studies abroad. Hamburg, Moscow, Warsaw, Wien, Berlin, Zürich, Basel, La Chaux-de-Fonds, Paris, London, New York and Chicago were just some of the places he visited, lived, worked and studied during seven years abroad. Most notably though, he studied at Ecole D’horlogerie De Genève in 1882, the world’s most prominent watchmaking school at the time, where he fine-tuned his watchmaking skills before returning to Sweden permanently with the intention of establishing his very own watch factory.

1887

Now 29 years old, Hammarlund had all the pieces in place and was finally ready to pursue his life’s biggest dream and build a Swedish pocket-watch factory. Armed with a collection of honors and awards, earned from various innovation fairs in the U.S. and Europe; a newly submitted US patent (granted in 1888) for a new type of pocket watch winding mechanism, his sights were set on finding a suitable property to build on. In 1887 Henning opened the doors to the Halda factory – the first watch manufacturing facility in northern Europe.

1887

Now 29 years old, Hammarlund had all the pieces in place and was finally ready to pursue his life’s biggest dream and build a Swedish pocket-watch factory. Armed with a collection of honors and awards, earned from various innovation fairs in the U.S. and Europe; a newly submitted US patent (granted in 1888) for a new type of pocket watch winding mechanism, his sights were set on finding a suitable property to build on. In 1887 Henning opened the doors to the Halda factory – the first watch manufacturing facility in northern Europe.

1889

Halda’s first pocket watch leaves the factory located in Svängsta, in the south of Sweden. To meet his own exacting standards, he built his own machines from scratch with his own two hands, that were used to produce the small components for the Halda watch movements.

Each watch takes ten months and 3,000 separate steps and tests to complete. The cost of a Halda timepiece is the equivalent of seven months’ salary for an ordinary worker at the time.

1893

In a report of the World Exhibition in Chicago, the Swiss trade publication Journal Suisse d’Horlogerie remarks that Halda received two medals for its exhibited watches.

“They have a characteristic appearance and they are produced in both silver and gold. The escapements are constructed with extreme precision in line with the lightweight principles – with lightweight forks, well-shaped and well-polished, similar to the works which emanate from Patek Philippe & Cie”.

1893

In a report of the World Exhibition in Chicago, the Swiss trade publication Journal Suisse d’Horlogerie remarks that Halda received two medals for its exhibited watches.

“They have a characteristic appearance and they are produced in both silver and gold. The escapements are constructed with extreme precision in line with the lightweight principles – with lightweight forks, well-shaped and well-polished, similar to the works which emanate from Patek Philippe & Cie”.

1897

1897 – At the Royal Court’s request, His Majesty King Oscar II of Sweden is presented with a unique pocket watch from Halda Watch Company. The King’s portrait is engraved on the back of the watch case.

1900 – A milestone in production. 6,000 watches have been manufactured by Halda.

1902

1902 – The Halda taximeter becomes a huge export success and later remains the only approved taximeter in the city of London for decades to come.

1914 – The Halda typewriter is launched and quickly becomes popular on the market.

1918 – World War I has a dramatic effect on the global demand of exclusive pocket watches. The company is put up for liquidation and the factory closes on November 30th.

1902

1902 – The Halda taximeter becomes a huge export success and later remains the only approved taximeter in the city of London for decades to come.

1914 – The Halda typewriter is launched and quickly becomes popular on the market.

1918 – World War I has a dramatic effect on the global demand of exclusive pocket watches. The company is put up for liquidation and the factory closes on November 30th.

1920s

On the 25th of April 1922 Henning passes away but the fascination for mechanical products and the innovative entrepreneurial spirit, on which Hammarlund once founded Halda Watch Company, creates a base for several other prominent companies. Among these companies are ABU Garcia (fishing reels), Halda Trancometer AB (taximeters) and Haldex AB (FWD).

1940s

ABU (Aktiebolaget Urfabriken) which continued the production of pocket watches until 1926 had at this time shifted focus to taximeters but during World War II, demand for taximeters deteriorated too. Once again focus was shifted to something anyone would need during hard times – fishing reels. In 1941 the first spinning reel Record® is introduced and soon the famous Ambassadeur®.Great success is reached is due to distributer Garcia Corporation who marketed the reels in the U.S. Aktiebolaget Urfabriken eventually acquired its distributer and changed its name to ABU Garcia. (Photo courtesy of Stockholms Auktionsverk).

1940s

ABU (Aktiebolaget Urfabriken) which continued the production of pocket watches until 1926 had at this time shifted focus to taximeters but during World War II, demand for taximeters deteriorated too. Once again focus was shifted to something anyone would need during hard times – fishing reels. In 1941 the first spinning reel Record®is introduced and soon the famous Ambassadeur®.Great success is reached is due to distributer Garcia Corporation who marketed the reels in the U.S. Aktiebolaget Urfabriken eventually acquired its distributer and changed its name to ABU Garcia. (Photo courtesy of Stockholms Auktionsverk).

1950s

During the mid-century one of the first instruments used in professional racing – the Halda Speed Pilot – was released. The rally computer, as it was called, was once fitted in a very special Aston Martin DB4 – the car that inspired Ian Fleming when he wrote James Bond – Goldfinger.

This 1954 Aston Martin DB 2/4 Mark I Vantage with chassis number LML-819 was owned by Phillip Ingram Cunliffe-Lister, whose father was Lord Swinton, a close confidant of Winston Churchill, the head of MI5 and the Security Executive during World War II. He was also Ian Fleming’s boss.

 “All the gadgets that appeared on James Bond’s car in the Goldfinger novel are present on this Aston Martin, including reinforced steel bumpers, concealed lockers, a heavy-duty anti-interference ignition system, driver-seat connections for two-way radio, and a Halda Speed Pilot” Charis Whitcombe, Classic Driver.

1960s

After decades of being a strong competitor on the market, Halda typewriters becomes Facit during the 1960s. The great American writer Ernest Hemingway himself was owner of a Halda Model P, a portable typewriter on which he wrote The Dangerous Summer and A Moveable Feast. 

1970s – over 1000 people worked at the Halda factory in Svängsta but despite a focus on manufacturing personal computers, production of electronic typewriters and printed circuit boards, the company’s position deteriorated further during coming decades.

 

 

1960s

After decades of being a strong competitor on the market, Halda typewriters becomes Facit during the 1960s. The great American writer Ernest Hemingway himself was owner of a Halda Model P, a portable typewriter on which he wrote The Dangerous Summer and A Moveable Feast. 

1970s – over 1000 people worked at the Halda factory in Svängsta but despite a focus on manufacturing personal computers, production of electronic typewriters and printed circuit boards, the company’s position deteriorated further during coming decades.

 

 

1980s

In 1986, engineers Mikael Sandström and Christer Sjöö team up with the shared vision of reviving the famous Swedish watch producer Halda. Some years later, both set out to visit the factory in Svängsta with the sole purpose of obtaining the rights to the watch brand. Negotiations with the owners stranded unfortunately and they established the Sjöö Sandström brand instead. (Photo courtesy of Tidssonen.no).

1990s

During the 1990s, Haldex bought the patent for creating the Haldex Coupling from the rally driver Sigvard “Sigge” Johansson and launched the first version in 1998. Today Haldex produce gear­boxes and FWD mostly for heavy vehicles but also for car manufacturers such as Audi, Porsche, Bugatti, Lamborghini and Bentley.

1990s

During the 1990s, Haldex bought the patent for creating the Haldex Coupling from the rally driver Sigvard “Sigge” Johansson and launched the first version in 1998. Today Haldex produce gear­boxes and FWD mostly for heavy vehicles but also for car manufacturers such as Audi, Porsche, Bugatti, Lamborghini and Bentley.

2009

The legacy of Henning Hammarlund and Halda watches is passed on when Swedish engineer and entrepreneur Mikael Sandström finally obtains the rights for the brand. Sharing Hammarlund’s profound enthusiasm for innovative engineering, Sandström sets out to present the world with a watch never seen before. In August, the first prototype of the pioneering watch is tested in space onboard the Discovery during the NASA STS-128 mission. (Photo courtesy of ESA).

 

2010

World premiere of the Space Discovery, based on a concept of changeable time modules, is presented at the international Basel Watch Fair. The watch is shown in the Swedish pavilion at the World Expo in Shanghai as an example of innovative technical engineering and precision mechanics.

2010

World premiere of the Space Discovery, based on a concept of changeable time modules, is presented at the international Basel Watch Fair. The watch is shown in the Swedish pavilion at the World Expo in Shanghai as an example of innovative technical engineering and precision mechanics.

2011

2011 –The Halda Space Discovery is featured in the world exhibition ‘NASA – A Human Adventure’. On February 17th, the first Halda Space Discovery out of the limited series of 128 watches is delivered to astronaut Christer Fuglesang.

2012 – Halda Watch Co’s Space Discovery is awarded the Red Dot Design Award, one of the most prestigious design awards, often referred to as the ‘Nobel Prize of Design’.

2013

The second manifestation based on the Halda Concept is released – the Race Pilot. The digital module is developed in cooperation with Formula 1 drivers and mechanical module features a movement by Zenith.

2013

The second manifestation based on the Halda Concept is released – the Race Pilot. The digital module is developed in cooperation with Formula 1 drivers and mechanical module features a movement by Zenith.

2014

Halda presents a new ambassador, the first Swedish Formula One driver in 23 years, Marcus Ericsson of the Caterham F1 team.

The new Race Pilot timepiece wins the Watch of the Year – Excellence Award for Design, in a tough competition field featuring the best manufacturers in the world.

2015

Halda expands the Race Pilot ambassador team with BTCC and Le Mans winner Rickard Rydell and Nürburgring 24h winner Edward Sand­ström.

The Race Pilot Nürburgring Limited Edition is presented – a series of 20 pieces made for the famous German racetrack.

The Space Discovery is used by an astronaut in space, for the fifth time.

2015

Halda expands the Race Pilot ambassador team with BTCC and Le Mans winner Rickard Rydell and Nürburgring 24h winner Edward Sand­ström.

The Race Pilot Nürburgring Limited Edition is presented – a series of 20 pieces is made for the famous German racetrack.

The Space Discovery is used by an astronaut in space, for the fifth time.

2016

Halda signs Felix Rosenqvist, widely acclaimed as one of the most talented drivers in the world.

The Halda Trackmaster is released – a military grade GPS unit that communicates with the Race Pilot watch. The Trackmaster system displays predictive lap timing i.e. how the driver is doing +/- against the best lap in real time.