Leading in exclusive watches in Sweden

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In 1851 the doors opened for what’s today Nymans Ur 1851, with two stores in Stockholm, another two in Västerås, and one of Scandinavia’s biggest and most modern watch workshops.

By Britta Rossander

WTM had a chat with Göran Larsson, who together with his wife Birgit decided to supply his customers with nothing but the best. Today their son Olof Larsson is the sole owner of the company and continues the family tradition with a great instinct for making the right decisions. We present you with the story behind the company and their connections with Krons Ur.

The watchmaker J. F. Carlsson moved to Västerås in 1851 to open up a watch store. Carlsson later sold his business to Wilhelm Lundbeck and in 1879 Adolf Nyman was hired. Nyman took over the company three years later and changed the name to Firma AD Nyman.

Early interior from  Nymans Ur 1851 in Västerås.

Early interior from
Nymans Ur 1851 in Västerås.

On the opening day a marching band parades by and the bandleader gives a salute, which is considered a good omen. When Adolf Nyman passes away his son Göran takes over responsibility for the company, which gets reconstructed as a limited company owned by the son, the widow and two other relatives.

World War Two breaks out in 1939 and the watchmaker Manfred Kron manages to escape from Austria to Norway with his two sons Oskar and Otto. But only a year later, Norway also gets occupied by Nazi Germany. Kron has to flee once more and settles down in Västerås where he starts working as a watchmaker. Some time later he gets employment at Atlantic in Stockholm, and Otto escapes from his job as a farmhand and joins his father at Atlantic. Manfred and Otto open up a watch store in Stockholm in 1945, and Oskar opens watch stores in Bagarmossen as well as Stockholm.

Chaos arises when Göran Nyman dies in 1956. The company is bleeding and a new CEO named Sven Lindgren enters the picture. At the same time there is some animosity between Otto and his father. Otto starts his own business, Wilhelm Anger AB, and starts selling Austrian eyeglass frames. Oskar later opens up a watch store on Mäster Samuelsgatan and sells watches that are not only timepieces but also accessories, and the customers love them.

The story continues with Göran Larsson getting a job as a seller of Otto’s eyeglass frame Serge Kirchhofer in 1967. In the fall he visits Nymans in Västerås to try to sell the most exclusive frame in the market at that time, with a retail price of 94 swedish crowns – app. 15 USD. “Strong and beautiful”, the CEO Lindgren comments, but still doesn’t believe that the people of Västerås will want to pay the whopping sum of 94 crowns. Lindgren treats Göran to some coffee and tells him that he would like to sell his business, saying: “You see, the company has been in business for 116 years and like a snowball will just keep on rolling and get bigger and bigger.”

A deal is closed November 10 and Lindgren tells Göran Larsson that everything is in a state of perfect preparation – a claim that Göran soon will have reasons to doubt. Göran and Birgit Larsson

Janne, Birgit, Göran and Olof Larsson portrayed in connection with the 160th anniversary of Nymans Ur 1851. The picture was taken outside the Västerås store.

Janne, Birgit, Göran and Olof Larsson portrayed in connection with the 160th anniversary of Nymans Ur 1851. The picture was taken outside the Västerås store.

of common sense, we’re good at public relations and we have a big and strong network, says Olof who this year passed the CEO title along to Charlotta Eriksson who has been working at Nymans Ur 1851 for ten years.

– Our concept is very simple, we treat the customer in a pleasant manner and any snobbery is definitely not allowed. We never look down on the customer. Our strategy is getting the hottest brands and presenting them in the perfect way.

The company’s success is explained not only by making the right decisions, Göran says, but also all the years of evolution and also a little sheer luck.

– Everything has to be in good order. Endurance, a long perspective and education are other important factors. We are passionate, stubborn, well prepared, and hate to lose. We have high expectations for ourselves as well as our employees, and a way of being successful with the right brands. When problems arise, we have a way of twisting and turning them until we have solved them, Göran says.

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The original store’s sign, made of sturdy wood, today hangs at the Larsson family’s house in Söderhamn, Hälsingland.

Olof continues the story:

– I remember the first time we visited Rolex to buy watches for our store in Biblioteksgatan. There was one watch in solid gold with diamonds and four sapphires. It was very expensive and my father wanted to wait, but I wanted a real eye-opener. We bought it and it was sold quickly. That put us in a whole different league than before. We have great brands and were delighted when we signed a contract with Panerai. But I guess my favorite moment was when we received the Rolex GMT Ice… as the first store in the world! I had seen it at the Basel show, asked about the price, and it was a lot of money. I contemplated it for a while and guessed it would work – let’s order it. Rolex told me: “No no no, we won’t deliver any to Europe.” I asked them to discuss my order with the CEO, and shortly after, the Ice was delivered to us. We had it before anybody else in the whole world!