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Michelsen's watchmaking company has its roots in the arrival of King Frederik VIII of Denmark to Iceland in 1907. The king's entourage included Jörgen Frank Michelsen, a young watchmaker from Horsens in Denmark, who considered Iceland to be an excellent country to work in watchmaking. For the first two years he worked for Jóhannes Norðfjörð, a watchmaker in Sauðárkrókur, but on 1 July 1909 he established a shop and a watchmaking workshop under the name J. Fr. Michelsen - Watches & Jewelry. From the very beginning, the hallmark of the Michelsen watchmakers has been the quality of workmanship, progress and professionalism that has been passed down from generation to generation, generation after generation. For over 110 years, Michelsen watchmakers have sold and serviced many of the world's most famous watches. J. Frank was very handy and a big fan of many things. In addition to carpentry, he also worked as a goldsmith, imported and sold soap, established pig farming and fishing as the first man in Sauðárkrókur and was the town's fire chief for a time. J. Frank produced pocket watches under his own name in the first half of the last century, but due to import restrictions during World War II, that production ceased. J. Frank had 12 children with his Icelandic wife and his eldest son, Franch, followed in his father's footsteps.
Franch Michelsen (1913-2009) studied watchmaking at his father's workshop and the Reykjavík Vocational School. He went on to further his studies in Copenhagen in 1937 and graduated with the grade "ultra godt", the highest grade given. For a time, Franch worked for Carl Jonsén, the Royal court watchmaker, where he serviced e.g. watches for Alexandrine, Queen of Denmark. When the Germans occupied Denmark, Franch returned to Iceland and in 1943 he opened a Michelsen store in Reykjavík, but his father J. Frank still owned and operated the store in Sauðárkrókur. The two stores merged in 1946 when J. Frank moved to Reykjavík. Franch was known for his great professionalism and leadership skills, and under his guidance, 12 students enjoyed his knowledge of the profession who graduated as watchmakers, incl. one of his sons, Frank Úlfar. Franch was an active member of the Chamber of Commerce and as well the Icelandic Watchmaking Association and was awarded the association's gold medal for his work on its behalf.
Frank Ú. Michelsen (1956) studied watchmaking with his father and at the Reykjavík Vocational School. In 1978, Frank took a different path than watchmakers had done in Iceland when he applied and was accepted at the world-famous WOSTEP watchmaking school in Neuchatel, Switzerland, the first Icelander. It turned out to be a big step for Frank, because there the ROLEX watch manufacturer in Geneva got in touch with the young Icelander while they were looking for a reliable agent in Iceland. It was the first step that later became a successful business relationship with ROLEX that has lasted ever since. After graduating, Frank Ú worked alongside his father for a number of years or until Franch Sr. retired largely due to illness in 1992. Frank Ú has attended regular retraining courses at ROLEX to maintain the enormous demands they make on their watchmakers. Frank Ú. has worked to advance the watchmaking profession within the Icelandic Watchmaking Association, first as secretary for many years and later as its chairman in the years 2000-2005. Michelsen watchmakers have been trusted with high quality watches from all over the world and their reputation has spread far and wide. 110 years show this and prove that Icelanders have trusted the Michelsen watchmakers and will be able to do so for many years to come, as the knowledge and experience is still there within the company because now the fourth generation of Michelsen watchmakers has also completed watchmaking studies.
Róbert F. Michelsen (1984) studied watchmaking with his father while in high school. In 2007, he began a rigorous two-year course at WOSTEP in Neuchatel, Switzerland, a world-leading watchmaking school. There Robert learned all the basics of this fine and precise craft. Róbert graduated on the 100th anniversary of the Michelsen company with the highest grade in the school. Robert's final project, which lasted for many months, consisted of designing and rebuilding a pocket watch. Róbert's journeyman's piece attracted a lot of attention at his graduation because the design of the watch was considered quite original and especially complicated to make. After completing a one-year postgraduate course in Switzerland, Róbert worked as a teacher at a private watchmaking school in Switzerland and later with Ürban Jörgensen, a specialized watchmaker in handmade watches. At the same time, Róbert also produced the Michelsen watches on behalf of the company, which have been sold successfully in the Michelsen store in recent years. Today, Róbert has moved back home and takes care of Michelsen's service department, where three specialized watchmakers work at the "ROLEX Official Service Center".
In 2009, on the occasion of the company's 100th anniversary, the production of Michelsen watches was revived. Furthermore, the brand name of Franch Michelsen ehf was changed to MICHELSEN and a new logo was added as a sign of the company's new era. No changes were made to the form of operation of Franch Michelsen ehf with this change of market name. The company continues to operate on the same ID number and is owned by the same family, but Michelsen ehf has always been owned by the same family and is on solid ground as never before.