Interview with Morten Linde
Linde Werdelin is headed by Morten Linde and Jorn Werdelin. These two Danish guys have been friends since childhood and decided to start a watch brand together in 2002. We have interviewed Jorn – who’s responsible for the commercial side of the brand – a couple of times, but now decided to ask Morten Linde a few questions. Morten Linde is the creative director of the brand, which means that he is not only responsible for the design of the watch, but basically for the whole watch, packaging, the website and so on.
Morten Linde: I like to be surrounded by beautiful things. I like to be surrounded by things I can admire. It is not about the materialism or ownership of things. For example, I live in this Arne Jakobsen house. It was built in 1932 and I really had to restore it in order to become a house that is suitable to live in and up to modern standards when it comes to isolation etc.
I’ve been interested in furniture design for a long time, having actually studied industrial design in my earlier years. I really have a weak spot for chairs and have many of them.
For a number of years, I worked as a designer for several clients before I started Linde Werdelin together with Jorn.
FW: What are your personal favorite designers, it doesn’t have to be a watch designer.
ML: As I always have been interested in furniture design, I would say there are a couple of designers that I really like. Arne Jacobsen, Gio Ponti and Le Corbusier are just a few to mention here. I also like the work of Philippe Starck and Marc Newson, who also did design work for watch brands.
FW: Why did you start to design watches?
ML: There were a lot of reasons to do that, but I will give you the main reasons. A watch has a long life span. It can last a hundred years or longer. It is a product that tells you about time, which is probably one of the most important concepts in life. Then there is also the emotional value a watch can have. For instance, I gave my first mechanical watch to my son when he turned 16. It was really a big thing for him. Can you imagine something else that would have that impact? A pair of shoes or jeans? No, only a watch can do that as it is so personal as you carry it around every day.
Next, a mechanical watch is a environment correct product. There is only a minimum use of materials and everything can be repaired and recycled.
FW: Are you spoiled by being a designer? I can imagine that to you, design is a very important aspect when you buy something. Whether it is something from the supermarket, toothbrush or car. Does it get annoying (for yourself) at some point?
ML: Yes. It bothers me, my family and our employees. Everybody basically. When I sit in a restaurant, I am always checking the construction of the tables and chairs. When I am in a hotel, I always wonder why they made certain decisions from design standpoint. It will never stop.
FW: On to watches. You are 50% of the name of this watch brand Linde Werdelin. Does the other 50% always agree with your design proposals? Can you elaborate on the decision taking process whenever you propose a new watch design?
ML: Jorn and I speak to each other a lot, even though he is in London most of the time and I am stationed in Denmark. Most of the time, when we meet in person, it is in Switzerland actually.
I am not only responsible for the design, but for the whole product. However, everything is being coordinated with Jorn. I can think of very interesting materials to use, but if the watch becomes too expensive Jorn will tell me. Jorn is first point of contact with Linde Werdelin for retailers and customers and thus provides invaluable feedback essential to the design process.
FW: Looking at your current line-up of watches, the case dimensions haven’t changed much over time. This is probably also due to the snap-on instruments of course, but is there still enough room for you to play as a designer?
ML: We use the same footprint for our watches as we did in the beginning. However, there are still a lot of possibilities that we haven’t even get to do yet. So yes, there is plenty of room left for me to play.
Looking at other watch brands, we are not the only one that have this one particular case design. Don’t forget we are only there for approximately 10 years now with our watch cases. Look at Porsche with their 911, it took them quite a long time before they came up with other models.
Thanks to Morten Linde