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Top 7 Swedish Watch Brands | Swedish Watches
Unlike the more prominent watch brands found in Switzerland and Germany, Swedish watch companies are not internationally famous, but are getting more and more well known. Sweden has a strong line up of watch brands and I can say with confidence they are an up and coming hot-spot for watch design. Some of the standouts for me include; GoS who have elevated the watch to high art while still embracing there heritage; BOOM with their modular/component flexible style; and Bravur who are bringing together a retro sensibility with a modern flourish. It amazes me how all these brands express there own unique Scandinavian legacies.
One of the more fun watch brands out of Sweden. Coming from the fashion world Niklas Dahlgren started BOOM to give consumers more choices in how they interact with there watches. Creating an interactive system to assemble watches to each consumers wishes with, dial, case, bezel and straps all being separate parts that can be changed at any time. The watches come in 2 sizes and are basic quartz watches. These watches are not high horology, but they are definitely fun and fashionable watches. You can build your watch here! I really like BOOM’s BOOM BOX idea to present all the pieces of the watch/es you have created.
Bravur was founded by friends Magnus Appelryd and Johan Sahlin in 2011 in Stockholm Sweden around 3 main principles; Great Design, High Quality wrapped up in an Urban Lifestyle Sensibility. Offering both quartz and automatic watches Bravur’s style is clean and elegant, a touch retro (at least in the automatic line) and full of Scandinavian minimalism. I have to say the 39mm Scandinavia Automatic in Midnight Blue (shown above) is a handsome watch. The fact that it is sporting a Swiss movement (a Sellita SW300-1 that is 3.60mm thick), gold applied indexes and hands, sapphire crystal and is hand made to order in Bastad Sweden makes the $1000.00 price tag pretty easy to justify.
A watch by Daniel Wellington has a very specific design. Clean, thin, and elegant. Timeless! Held in place by an old-fashioned NATO wristband (made from nylon). And that’s basically it! Yes, they do also offer other types of bands, from leather to metal.
A funny story about the name: Founder Filip Tysander got the inspiration to start a watch brand after meeting an old-school English gentleman by the name of Daniel Wellington. Filip liked Mr Wellingtons relaxed and gentlemanlike style, and especially his NATO wristband! An idea was born…
In 2001, the founders of Sjöö Sandström – Mikael Sandström and Christer Sjöö – sold their company to start a new venture; the founding of watch making company Epoch Stockholm. As Sjöö Sandström watches had price tags in the $3000 to $8000 range, they now decided to focus their efforts on making quality timepieces at a lower price. Epoch watches sell for around $600-$1500+. Very resinable considering the elegant design, the careful selection of Swiss movements, and the solid craftsmanship. Epoch manufactures both men’s and women’s wristwatches, from their workshop in Tullinge, Stockholm.
GoS stands for the partnership between bladesmith Johan Gustafsson & master watchmaker Patrik Sjogren, who was recently awarded member ship into the GPHG Academy. This unique partnership resulted in an amazing line of handforged Damascus steel cased watches. Each watch from GoS is special as the forging process creates one of a kind pattern for the case of each watch. The model pictured above is the Sarek Trollius with custom engraved accents done in collaboration with Swedish artisan Anders Hedlund. The Sarek Trollius is sporting an automatic Soprod A10 caliber, sapphire glass and bespoke details, all these little details really make GoS watches really stand out. I would personally love to add one of these pieces to my collection, someday.
Halda Watch Co
The brand Halda has a long and glorious history. Halda Fickursfabrik AB was founded already in 1887 by Henning Hammarlund in Svängsta, Sweden. Mr Hammarlund received extensive and thorough horological training in Switzerland and had returned to Sweden to manufacture pocket watches. His first pocket watches was presented in 1889, and they were an instant success, receiving two medals from the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. Halda was liquidated in 1920 after the demand for pocket watches had plummeted during World War I.
Why are we talking about a company that went bust for almost 100 years ago? Because the brand Halda has now been resurrected under the name Halda Watch Company by Mikael Sandström (co-founder of both Sjöö Sandström and Epoch Stockholm).
Combining traditional watchmaking with modern technology, Halda Watch Co now makes two high-performance timepieces the Halda Race Pilot and Halda Space Discovery. Both models are based on the idea of an interchangeable head and are manufactured with extreme precision and perfection to meet the extreme demands found in space and on the race track.
Knut Gadd is run by the Gadd family in Stockholm Sweden. There men’s watch lines include the Cult Chrono and Decagon which are vintage inspired, sophisticated and unique. They also have two women’s lines the Hexagon and Octagon. All of Knut Gadd’s watches have quartz movements and hover in the 200 euro range.
Another mass produced watch company very similar to Daniel Wellington. Larsson & Jennings fashion-centric brand features thin watches with clean dials with quartz movements. Larsson & Jennings line Meridian pictured below is inspired by pilot watches of the past, offer a more unique take on the mass marketed quartz watch.
Maen watches uses only Swiss made movements in all four lines of their men’s watches, the Skymaster and Hudson automatics and the Manhattan and Brooklyn quartz models. All have a clean and elegant look and feel. Based out of Stockholm the watches run from 200 to just under 800 euros.
A clean, simplistic and elegant watch topped off with a leather strap; that’s the distinctive feature of a timepiece from Miró Watches. Founded in late 2012, Miró Watches is one of the newest players in the watchmaking world. Now what about the name? Does it have something to do with the famous Spanish painter Joan Miró? Yes, absolutely! His style has been a great inspiration to the founders of this brand. I have to say I really like Miró’s tagline from their website “Watches designed to take a peak at even though you are perfectly aware of the time.” The
I was recently was introduced to the Schipper brand, these super minimalist watches can be had with a variety of straps, including leather, mesh or NATO/nylon. Schipper watches come with durable Japanese quartz movements.
Sjöö Sandström was founded in 1986 by Mikael Sandström and Christer Sjöö. Being both engineers and watch enthusiasts, the two had a very good idea how a prestigious high-end timepiece should be designed and constructed. Their work have resulted in a small-scale operation, focused on superb craftsmanship and traditional design. From the manufacturing facilities in Stockholm, the first model (the Automatic S1) was introduced in 1993. Subsequent models have since established Sjöö Sandström as Sweden’s top watch brand.
Although the movements, along with all other parts, are imported from Switzerland, Sjöö Sandström is still very much Swedish. Design, construction, marketing and quality control are all done in Stockholm.
When the Swedish Air Force needed a new chronograph for their pilots in 2011, they chose a Swedish watch, the
Inspired by fashion and architectural trends in Stockholms artistic Södermalm district, South Lane ethos is Bold Minimalism. As a fashion brand I think South Lane is doing just that. This is not a brand you buy for haute horlogerie but because it looks cool with your favorite jeans. The Avant Diffuse Invert in white is lots of fun, see above. Check out the huge collection on Amazon, starting at $20 and going up to about $350 you can find something to match any style.
TID Watches is another very new brand from Stockholm (founded in 2012). After choosing the Swedish word for Time (Tid) as the name for their company, the four founders – Ola Bernestål, Petrus Palmér, Jonas Pettersson, and John Löfgren – decided to aim for the stars. They wanted to make unique and iconic timepieces that would stand the test of time. Their watch lines are called the No.1 through the No.4. The No.3 I find of special interest with its transparent plastic case. See the No.3 above or more on Amazon here.
TRIWA (acronym for TRanforming the Industry of WAtches) is another independent Stockholm-based brand. Operations started as late as 2007 and they are making both watches and sunglasses. TRIWA has a strong focus on making playful and creative watches. Individuality is a cornerstone in their design philosophy. TRIWA makes quartz watches for both men and women, to get yours go here.
One of Sweden’s newer watch brands, starting in 2015, Tusenö is another watch brands started by watch enthusiasts. The brand claims to be the most funded watch in crowdfunding history. The name comes from an old book of charts referring to the Swedish west coast as “the coast with the thousand islands. ” They currently have three watch lines the First 42, the Blackwater and the First 38. I have to say the Blackwater really stands out for me, I particularly like how they have intergated the heavy metal braclet into the case. The Blackwater shown above starts at 1,400 euros. Their other lines start at 300 euros and go up.
Another clean, simplistic and elegant Swedish watch company is VERK, which is the Swedish term for the end result of one’s work. This minimalist brand features Swedish design with German manufacturing. They currently have two lines the ETT (or one in Swedish) is there best seller with a simple elegant dial and the TVÅ (or two in Swedish) there newest watch which is a one handed 24 hour dial. Each VERK features a 5 year warranty and free shipping to the US.
VERK is hoping to launch a new watch every year. Hopefully they can pull it off. The TVÅ and ETT are wonderfully simple and elegant watches.
As always if we missed a brand that you think should be included, drop us a comment and let us know. For more interesting brands, please take a look at our list of Scandinavian watch brands.
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Swedish Watch Brands – Watches Made & Designed In Sweden
Compared to Swiss or Japanese watch brands, Swedish watch brands tend to be humble in nature and number. They are not globally recognized yet, and most of them don’t produce many models and are literally small companies. Yet, their products can actually surprise you.
Swedish watchmakers, in general, infuse Scandinavian design and craftmanship into their timepieces with a focus on Scandinavian style in simplicity and minimalism.
Often compared to Danish watch brands, these young brands have attempted some bold designs and innovations while many of them are small, independently owned, or funded online.
So together, let’s learn more about these Swedish watch brands.Swedish Watch Brands Larsson & Jennings Meridian Milanese (Image: larssonjennings.com)
Then 31-year-old Andrew Jennings founded the Larsson & Jennings back in 2012; while Joakim Larsson bought his share in 2014, making him a business partner.
However, Jennings started to take particular interest in watches as young as 17 years old when he saw a photo of a vintage Rolex Daytona 6239 priced at £20,000 in a GQ magazine. Such a watch was similar to the one he inherited from his uncle at age 10 but was not allowed to wear it because he was still too young. When he saw the watch’s current price, he decided that it’s better to keep the watch locked in the family safe.
Fast forward to 2012, Andrew Jennings launched his own brand of watches and was doing his day job. In 2013, when he saw that the products are gaining wide support, he quit his job and decided to focus on his watch business full time.
Larsson & Jennings timepieces are inspired by Swedish and British minimalist designs combined with the Swiss movement. As such, they have a sleek, slim and sophisticated yet classic look. The dials are Scandinavian-inspired, featuring a Roman numeral at 12 o’clock, indices for the rest of the hour markers, and two stick hands.
The brand also assures that all its products are of premium quality. As such, each timepiece comes with a five-year guarantee. Some of its timepieces are already available on Amazon but if you want to see all their collections and know more about the brand, visit the Larsson & Jennings website.
TRIWATriwa Ivory Spira
Triwa stands for the goal of the four friends who started the brand – to Transform the Industry of Watches.
Being a group who shared the same passion for watches, Ludvig Scheja (creative director), Harald Wachtmeister (CEO), Didrik Wachtmeister and Tobias Ericsson decided to revolutionize the watch industry by producing timepieces that fuse contemporary design and traditional craftsmanship and distributing them not in watch retailers but in fashion and lifestyle stores.
Since the brand’s launch in 2007, it marketed its timepieces, not just as an accessory for timekeeping but as an accessory to complete the people’s outfit. As such, in 2009, the brand started marketing bracelets and sunglasses are well.
Triwa gives a premium on the Scandinavian simplicity, creativity, and quality of their products. If you want to learn more, visit their online store. You may also find some Triwa timepieces on Amazon.BOOM Watches
This crowdsourced watch brand was founded through the FundedbyMe campaign in 2016, Niklas Dahlgren developed Boom Watches – featuring customizable timepieces.
By this, he meant not only interchangeable straps but also the outer case, bezel, and the dial with the movement. All these parts can be easily assembled without the need for tools!
The 4-part timepieces are affordable, high-quality, and personalized accessories that would easily match your styles, occasions, and even moods. Aside from purchasing them by part, Boom watches are also available fully assembled and pre-designed. Each BOOM watch comes with a 2-year international repair warranty, and you can get an extension for another three years once you register your watch online,
Start creating your own watch here.
Knut Gadd is another relatively new Swedish brand. Therese and Carl-Johan Gadd introduced Knut Gadd to the watch industry in 2014. However, the brand’s vintage, sophisticated and unique design traces its origins back to 1916 and through three generations of the Gadd family.
According to stories, the brand was inspired by a sophisticated wristwatch that Carl-Johan noticed on his grandfather as he was going through their family photos.
However, by mid-1960s, the watch was no longer seen in the photos and no one could tell why.
Because of this, Carl-Johan embarked on a journey to look for the watch. He visited his grandfather’s old neighborhoods in New York, Hamburg, London, Paris, and Hong Kong. Despite this vigorous attempt to know the watch’s make and model, Carl-Johan returned empty-handed.
Since he was not able to find the said watch nor determine where it came from, Carl-Johan resolved to remake the watch himself thereby producing a new series of sophisticated yet vintage and classic-looking watches.
Knut Gadd timepieces feature slim and elegant cases, embossed dials, V-shaped hands, and facet-cut indices. All of them are being masterfully designed in Stockholm, Sweden. They utilize Japanese quartz movement and are made available at a reasonable price point. Visit Knut Gadd’s online shop here.
Sjöö Sandström was started by Christer Sjöö and Mikael Sandström, both engineers and watch enthusiasts, in Stockholm back in 1986 in their concept of fusing tradition and technology. In particular, they aimed to develop a watch that combines traditional craftsmanship and high-tech innovation.
Such a goal materialized in 1993 as they introduce the “Automatic“. This elegant and masterfully hand-made timepiece was formally recognized and even received the Excellent Swedish Design award in 1996. Said recognition was just the start.
Sjöö Sandström received greater popularity because of its “Chorolink Worldtimer UTC” in 1997. Designed with Scandinavian style, it showcases analog elegance and electronic brilliance.
Throughout the years, Sjöö Sandström still adheres to small-scale production that wonderfully mixes tradition, innovation, and design. Even with its current CEO Kristofer Johansson articulated that “It’s important for us to carry on the Swedish watchmaking tradition,”. Alongside him as CEO is Felix Formark.
Keeping true to its principles of genuine craftsmanship and Scandinavian aesthetics, Sjöö Sandström has been producing a variety of wonderful timepieces – there’s a collection of Stainless Steel watches, chronograph watches, and even pilot watches.HALDA WATCH CO.
Swedish watch brand Halda offers another kind of customizable timepieces. Taking a bold move in the watch industry, Halda developed a modular watch design that fuses traditional mechanical watch movements with modern electronic movements, the result: Digi-Mech Watches.
How did they do it? Halda uses the modular design for its watch heads. On one, it retained the heritage of classical watchmaking and so produces robust mechanical movements. On another, it showcased the hi-tech movement brought by technological advancements. And then, you can swap these two watch heads easily and as often as you want to!
What’s more interesting about it is that is was designed with advanced functions available to make it functional and suitable even in space. As such, it was called the Halda Space Discovery. And yes, it has already been tested in space.
However, Halda Watch Co.’s innovations did not end with that. With its slogan, “the future is interchangeable” in mind, Halda continued to develop its timepieces. Thereby, it produced the Race Pilot which is designed with a racing instrument and tested by race engineers and actual Formula One Drivers. Click here to see other watches that car enthusiasts love.
Although it may seem that Halda Watch Co. is a very new brand because of its highly advanced technology, this watch brand has actually started way back in 1887. It was founded in Svängsta, Sweden by Henning Hammarlund.
Its beginning was so humble that Hammarlund, himself, built the machines and tools necessary for the production of watches. He focused on producing perfectly engineered timepieces that it did not take long before his name was in line with other great Swiss watchmakers.
Currently sitting as the company’s CEO is Mikael Sandström. Throughout the centuries and decades in Halda’s history, never did it falter from manufacturing only the best timepieces.TID Watches TID No. 1 White Watch (Image: Amazon)
TID is yet a young Swedish watch brand that was established in 2012 by Ola E. Bernestål and Petrus Palmér in partnership with the design studio Form Us With Love.
The brand name, TID, is a Swedish word that literally translates to “time”.
TID offers simple-looking watches that are for everyday wear. Its limited collection showcases unique and iconic timepieces.EPOCH STOCKHOLM
Epoch Stockholm was launched in 2004 by the same watch engineers who founded the Sjöö Sandström – Mikael Sandström and Christer Sjöö.
However, Christer left later on and entrusted the watch company to Mikael. Since they’re not really new to the industry, leading Epoch Stockholm to the direction and vision they want has been easier.
As such, with Epoch timepieces, Sandström does not just aim for premium quality. Instead, his goal is to produce timeless watches that would be relevant through every generation and will seem fitting for all occasions. As such, Epoch has already produced a number of collections using both mechanical and quartz movements.
However, at present, Epoch maintains only 3 collections – President, First Lady and Jubilee gold, all of them come with quartz movement.MIRÓ Watches
Miró Watches is another Stockholm-based watch brand. It was founded by Luca Ohman in 2012.
Its timepieces are also simple and minimalist to easily go along with its wearers’ everyday outfits. As such, their dials are usually just one of these five colors – creme, black, gray, blue and green. Meanwhile, the straps are either leather, steel, or nato.
Tusenö is another young Swedish brand that entered the watch industry only last 2014 by Alexander Bendz and Johan Holsner. Tusenö pays particular tribute to its origins and as such, all its watches have the inscription “born on the Swedish west coast” at the back. Not only that, even its name was derived from the Swedish phrase “Kusten med de tusen öarna” that translates to “the coast with the thousand islands”, which still pertains to the said “Swedish west coast”.
Evidently, the founders take pride in its birthplace, from which they also sourced out their inspiration and daily work guideline.
As such, Tusenö produces timepieces that are for everyday wear and thereby also showcase the design, as well as the founders’ passion for watches and attention to detail.
In 2015, Tusenö launched its first model called the “First 42” as a Kickstarter project. In just 30 days, it became Sweden’s most funded project in its segment. And by 2016, it is already being sold in more than 60 countries worldwide.
Tusenö watches are simple and have quite a classical design that intends to be relevant throughout the years. There are also some subtle details for a little extra touch.VERK Verk ETT 03 (Image: verkstore.com)
Verk is dedicated to producing timepieces that showcase Swedish, minimalist design. Following Scandinavian minimalism and adhering to the principles of the Bauhaus design school, Verk makes sure that each detail added and seen on the watch is vital as it believes that less is always more.
Verk watches feature a two-hand face, copper dial with enhanced PVD coating, solid steel case, and a sapphire crystal lens. The Quartz movements used are created by Ronda, a world-renowned Swiss manufacturer so you can be assured of accuracy and reliability. The straps, on the other hand, may be a full-grain leather from Tuscany or a steel mesh from Germany.
Yet, it’s not just about aesthetics. The brand name, Verk, is a Swedish word that, in English, translates to the end result of one’s work. As such, every Verk watch is beautifully designed and carefully crafted.
The materials used in each timepiece are thoroughly chosen individually from around the world. Each timepiece then goes through a technical assembly process in Pforzheim, Germany, and then through an 18-step quality control procedure in Stockholm, Sweden. This meticulous process of manufacturing and evaluation is being done to ensure that each watch received by the customers is of top quality.
These sophisticated-looking timepieces are made available for $200-$300.PANSAR SWEDEN
Another new Swedish watch brand is Pansar Sweden. Unlike most other brands that were started by watch engineers and enthusiasts, Pansar Sweden was founded by an industrial engineer Patrik Palovaara in 2011. With such unique background that primarily focused on automobiles, he was able to conceptualize highly innovative and unique designs for Pansar Sweden.
As a result, with its partnership with The Techno Creatives, Pansar Sweden was able to synthesize smartwatch functions to an analog watch, and so produce the Pansar Augmented watch.
This latest timepiece from the brand still features an analog watch. When you press the middle button, the hands from the dial move to show the current data that you need.
However, since it can’t really show everything as it doesn’t have a digital display like smartwatches do, Pansar Sweden produced three editions for you to choose from for this model – Ocean (shows weather and wind data), Accelerator (tracks developments using tools and monitors website or social media account), and Quantifier (tracks sales numbers, business e-commerce, and stock values).
Regardless of which edition you have, all Augmented watch has the following features: Find my phone, decline incoming call, music controller, dual time zones, etc.
GoS stands for Gustafsson & Sjögren, which represents the two geniuses behind the brand – Johan Gustafsson and Patrik Sjögren. Johan is a bladesmith while Patrik is a watchmaker. Together, these two founded the GoS Watches that feature Scandinavian traditional craftsmanship and hand-forged Damascus steel in their wonderful and unique timepieces.
More so, GoS also offers customization services so you can request particular colors and patterns to make your watch truly one-of-a-kind.
See GoS collections here.
Bravur is another Stockholm-based brand that was founded by Magnus Äppelryd and Johan Sahlin with the goal of creating timepieces that could serve as an accessory that completes an everyday look.
As such, they paid particular attention to the design, making sure that their watches exemplify sophisticated style and unique details.
If you want to know more about the brand and see their products, here’s the Bravur website.Daniel Wellington
This last brand is not technically a Swedish brand however, its founder Filip Tysander, is Swedish and some people do consider it a brand with Swedish roots.
Daniel Wellington was established also very recently, in 2011. It is known for its simple, minimalist design – mainly indices hour markers and stick hands, with the inverted D and a W on the dial and a NATO or a leather strap that’s easily interchangeable.
Although new in the watch industry, Daniel Wellington has already gained wide popularity mainly through its social media marketing.
Learn more about the Daniel Wellington watch brand here.
Perhaps you were surprised to see that there are actually many promising Swedish watch brands.
Although they’re not as popular as other globally-known brands, Swedish watches actually have a lot to offer especially in terms of innovation and truly unique designs.
Inside ‘The Epoch Times,’ a Mysterious Pro-Trump Newspaper
Photo-illustrations by Kibele Yarman*
The rural hamlet of Cuddebackville, New York, is home to a guru named Li Hongzhi, who calls his 427-acre compound Dragon Springs. At the center of the compound—a kind of timber frame Shangri-la—stands a massive replica of a Tang Dynasty temple. On March 19, 2020, Li wrote a message to his disciples titled “Rationality.” The message was about COVID-19, which was by then crippling New York City, 80 miles to the southeast. “Plagues and pestilence, by their very nature, are arranged by the Gods,” Li began. “When humans become corrupt in their hearts, they will generate karma, fall sick, and suffer calamities.”
Li gradually worked up to his point, referring to the Chinese Communist Party by its initials: The pandemic “has come with a purpose and with a target. It has come to eliminate the followers of the evil Party and those who go along with the evil CCP.” As a remedy, Li suggested a kind of social distancing: “At present, the hardest-hit countries are those that associate closely with the evil CCP, and the same goes for individuals. So, what can be done? Stay away from the evil CCP and don’t align with the evil Party. ”
A few months later, in July, I was clicking around on YouTube when something predictable happened: An ad popped up for the weirdly ubiquitous Epoch Times. Equally predictably, the ad starred a thin man with a hint of an Eastern European accent. He was enthusiastically leafing through the print edition of the newspaper, pointing at articles. When people stumble upon The Epoch Times, they usually find it through ads like this one, which in 2019 blanketed Facebook and have now migrated largely to YouTube. The pitchman—his name is Roman Balmakov, he’s 30, he went to high school in Ohio—is more recognizable than any of the publication’s writers.
The ad began with a smiling Balmakov peering out from behind the newspaper. “Hey,” he said, “I just read an unbelievable article in The Epoch Times.” He splayed the paper on a table, showcasing a news story headlined “The Mysterious Origins of the CCP Virus.” It suggested that the pathogen could have emerged, maybe purposefully, from a lab in Wuhan. (Nobody knows for sure, but most scientists believe that the virus jumped naturally from animals to humans.) “It’s not just that,” Balmakov said, turning the page. “Look: an investigation into how the countries that have been most affected are the same ones that have been the most deeply infiltrated by the Chinese Communist Party.” According to the investigation, Washington State’s early COVID-19 outbreak can be partly explained by the fact that Seattle was the first U.S. port to welcome Communist Chinese cargo ships, in the 1970s.
On the one hand, the paper was underscoring the possibility that China had covered up the true source of the virus, and perhaps even engineered it. This has become a common right-wing claim. On the other hand, it was suggesting that the virus was a divine instrument designed to punish the CCP and its supposed allies. A less common claim. If the assertions are contradictory, Roman Balmakov doesn’t seem to mind. They are, after all, coming from a higher power.
The Epoch Times is unreservedly pro–Donald Trump, and coverage of the newspaper tends to portray it as either a recent entrant into the Trumpist media stable or a case study of Facebook-enabled misinformation. To an extent, it is both. Following Joe Biden’s election as president, the newspaper reconstituted itself into a vehicle for esoteric voter-fraud allegations. In Georgia, heading into the two January special elections for the U.S. Senate, people affiliated with the newspaper materialized to stick copies under car windshields. Balmakov himself now has his own YouTube channel, Facts Matter, devoted to the notion that the election is not over; in less than two months, the channel has amassed more than 400,000 subscribers.
The newspaper, whose revenues have quadrupled in the Trump years, has used every opportunity to call Biden’s victory into doubt. It has interviewed promoters of election-related falsehoods ad nauseam and eagerly publicized the January 6 Trump rally that turned into an insurrection at the Capitol. Even after the violence of January 6, The Epoch Times has continued to publicize doubts about the outcome of the presidential election. One of its columnists postulated that the riot was a “false flag” operation.
But conventional descriptions of The Epoch Times don’t adequately capture the singular mix of straight news, religious belief, conspiracy-peddling, Sinophobia, science denialism, legitimate grievance, and political expediency at the heart of the institution—a mix that, despite the paper’s mysteries, makes it a strangely fitting poster child for this unsettled moment.
The Epoch Times was founded in 2000 by John Tang, an Atlanta-based follower of the Chinese spiritual movement Falun Gong, whose members you might have seen doing meditative exercises in parks, and whose living messiah is Li Hongzhi, a cherubic-faced man generally shown wearing dark suits. The movement, which claims to have millions of adherents, encourages believers to abandon lust, greed, alcohol, and other worldly “attachments. ” Some of the more unusual characteristics of its outlook include a distrust of medical doctors and a belief in malevolent, Earth-roaming aliens who created impious technology (such as video games). In 1999, the Chinese government concluded that Falun Gong was growing too popular. Beijing labeled the movement a cult and suppressed it. But Falun Gong flourished abroad among the Chinese diaspora, and its teachings took on a fervent anti-Communist bent.
The Epoch Times has sought to maintain a certain distance from Falun Gong, and its right-wing politics come across, at first glance, as no more cultish than those of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon’s old Washington Times. For a decade and a half, the paper’s affiliation, like its politics, hardly mattered. Even as it established outposts around the world—now in 36 countries—The Epoch Times occupied a position of near irrelevance. Its name, absurdly redundant, managed to sound dull and bogus at once. I’ve walked by Epoch Times newspaper vending machines on countless occasions, never pausing to grab a copy. Each display was an anti–Pandora’s box, stifling any curiosity to open it.
Recently, though, Balmakov started showing up in everybody’s social-media feeds. The paper had begun supporting Donald Trump, and in 2019 The Epoch Times had launched itself into the higher echelons of conservative media: By the end of that year, according to Facebook, the newspaper, together with a network “linked” to the Epoch Media Group (which publishes The Epoch Times), had spent some $11 million in advertising on the platform. Republican A-listers appeared on its YouTube shows, right-wing pundits in its print pages. Its web traffic spiked. The Epoch Times can currently claim the most popular Apple newspaper app in the country (The New York Times is No. 2).
The newspaper was distinguishable from more inflammatory outlets by its staid prose and original reporting, and by offering features such as recipes (“Meet Your New Favorite Pizza Topping: Salad”) and a Goop-ish lifestyle section. The affiliated television network, New Tang Dynasty (NTD), with 30 million Facebook followers, has the sterile look of a satellite-news channel you might find on TV in a European hotel. Watching, I’d sometimes zone out to a human-interest story about synthetic hamburgers, or to the weather report.
But there was no predicting when the content would get weird. Hyper-suspicious of centralized government, it takes the notion of the “deep state” for granted. It has extensively promoted the false claim that the Obama administration spied on Trump’s 2016 campaign, which segues neatly into its refusal to accept the legitimacy of Biden’s victory. Doppelgänger sites such as Vision Times and America Daily—reportedly launched by or populated with former Epoch Times figures—have leavened far-right content with gentler offerings (about, say, classical Chinese paintings). A series on the occult, Edge of Wonder, became a firehose of content about QAnon, amplifying its foundational proposition that Washington is run by a pedophile cabal. The show—which was produced by NTD but later claimed to be independent—was recently scrubbed from YouTube. (The Epoch Times has denied any involvement with these sites.) Last summer, I became a print subscriber to The Epoch Times—for $16.90 a month, the paper is delivered to my home every Wednesday. I noticed at the back of each issue a deadly new installment in an 18-part series on the far-reaching tentacles of communism. From installment No. 7: “As expounded previously, sexual chaos is an innate feature of communist ideology. Marx is believed to have raped his maid.”
Beginning in 2020, The Epoch Times gained new resonance. For years, its anti-communism had seemed oddly beside the point. Then a deadly pandemic emerged in China, where the government muzzled whistleblowers and covered up the virus’s early spread. “They’ve been waiting for so long to find some large-scale evidence of the abject villainy of China,” one former NTD employee told me. “Now COVID comes along and checks off all the boxes. ” Suddenly, The Epoch Times’ wall-to-wall coverage of the “CCP virus” was being amplified across the American right. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who recently sat for an interview with the paper, pushed the hatched-in-a-lab theory. Trump called the virus “a real bad present” from China.
More broadly, ambitious Republicans like Senators Marco Rubio, Josh Hawley, and Tom Cotton are now among the most prominent China hawks in Washington. And while The Epoch Times’ editorial product can be absurd, the paper is not exactly wrong to home in on President Xi Jinping’s incarceration of ethnic minorities or his crackdown on Hong Kong.
While John Tang remains chief executive of The Epoch Times and NTD, little else is known about the management of these organizations, and outside journalists are not granted access to the newsroom. (I reached out to numerous Epoch Times staff members, none of whom replied; the publisher declined to be interviewed, but the newspaper provided answers to some questions via email. ) The syndicated columnist Salena Zito, whose writing appears regularly in The Epoch Times, told me she hadn’t known that the paper ran her columns at all. “How do you pronounce that place anyways?” she asked. (Balmakov says “epic” but others say “e-pock.”)
Reporters, poking around, have unearthed intriguing connections: a documentary co-produced with Steve Bannon; a donor who worked at the secretive hedge fund run by the Breitbart benefactor Robert Mercer. It’s probably best, though, to understand the publication through a spiritual lens. Along with Falun Gong’s anti-CCP dance troupe Shen Yun, whose gauzy, beguiling subway advertisements have become an inescapable part of urban life, The Epoch Times is a key component of a soft-power portfolio, one whose product, if you buy in, promises to save your soul.
Two years ago, Balmakov addressed a crowd of thousands at Capital One Arena, in Washington, D.C. Falun Gong was holding its annual conference, headlined by Li. Balmakov had been invited to the podium for an “experience sharing.” Every day, he told the crowd, he woke up at 3:30 a.m. to deliver a 60-pound haul of The Epoch Times around Manhattan. One day, he had an out-of-body experience, seeming to float 40 miles above the pavement. “I saw good meet with good,” he said, “and evil meet evil. I also saw that our newspaper was a shining golden light.”
Li Hongzhi was born 68 years ago in Jilin, a province in northeastern China. His early years were undistinguished, if intriguingly varied. He is said to have worked as a grain clerk, a hotel attendant, and a trumpet player for a kind of forestry-police band. (Li’s biographical details tend to come from his followers or the Chinese government, so it’s hard to know what to believe.) In the 1980s, he became deeply invested in the then-booming Chinese exercise practice known as qigong, and he later quit his job at a cereal company to devote himself to it.
In 1992, he founded Falun Gong, a mash-up of qigong and his personal philosophy: L. Ron Hubbard by way of Daoism. The movement’s motto is “Truthfulness, compassion, forbearance”—innocent enough, although Li’s forbearance does not extend to homosexuality, premarital sex, or, as noted, modern medicine. The path to salvation involves Li planting karmic “wheels” into the abdomens of his followers; the extra-devout can accrue powers such as telepathy.
The Chinese government tolerated Falun Gong for a while, even as state media occasionally published critiques of its anti-medicine dogma. In response to official criticism, Li’s disciples staged peaceful protests—culminating in a fateful 1999 sit-in in Beijing, attended by 10,000 disciples.
Within months, the party banned Falun Gong outright. It also published anti–Falun Gong comic books, ran bulldozers over the group’s instructional videos, and called for the arrest of Li, who was by then living in New York. Reports began to emerge from China about the imprisonment and torture of Falun Gong members, and about the widespread harvesting of their organs for transplantation. In the West, many observers found the persecution baffling, and Falun Gong became a bipartisan cause célèbre. So what if Li Hongzhi believed that David Copperfield could truly levitate? His peaceful followers surely didn’t deserve to suffer.
When The Epoch Times appeared on the scene, in 2000, the newspaper carried more anti-Communist and organ-harvesting content than your typical right-of-center publication. (Human-rights advocates have found some organ-harvesting claims credible, though it’s also true that Li has instructed his followers to emphasize their persecution to elicit sympathy.) But in general, Falun Gong’s efforts at broader influence were mostly welcomed. Among other things, the group won acclaim for developing two technologies, Ultrasurf and Freegate, designed to help mainland Chinese bust through the Great Firewall.
Meanwhile, Li sought to make a mark in the realm of high culture, turning his Dragon Springs compound into a dance academy for the children of Falun Gong followers. (An accredited prep school and college came later.) The dancers would go on to perform with Shen Yun, whose shows offer a pastiche of “traditional” dancing, puritanical tut-tutting, and anti-Communist admonition, along with torture pantomimes—performances strikingly reminiscent of the CCP’s own propaganda ballets. A few years ago, Li advised special attention to the rich in its marketing of Shen Yun. As he told one group, “You put up ads in poor communities, and that’s like throwing money out the window.” When Shen Yun made its Lincoln Center debut, in 2011, the New York Observer was there for the boldfaced names: Salman Rushdie, Donna Karan, Ric Ocasek.
In 2016 came a promising new opportunity for Falun Gong, in the form of Donald Trump. For the first time in decades, a major party’s presidential nominee was running an overtly protectionist campaign, with China in his crosshairs. Falun Gong came to see Trump as a kind of killer angel, summoned from heaven to smite the Chinese government. The Epoch Times ramped up its spending on Facebook ads and hitched its wagon to the 45th president. In 2018, it hired a Texas-based GOP consultant, Brendan Steinhauser, who helped arrange for appearances at high-profile right-wing conferences and booked otherwise ungettable interviews.
In short order, the newspaper lost the liberal goodwill it had accumulated in the post-crackdown period. But it gained a new cohort of conservative readers with a reflexive suspicion of China. The timing couldn’t have been better.
A significant share of Falun Gong practitioners in the U.S. are Chinese Americans. But the most prominent faces on Epoch-affiliated outlets are young or middle-aged white men. I once wrote an article on the Russian-backed media outlet RT and found it to be populated with naive reporters who didn’t realize what they’d signed up for, or who couldn’t find jobs elsewhere. Was that the case here?
In early July, I called the main phone number listed on The Epoch Times’ website. The newspaper had not responded to emails. I got an automated message saying that, because of an increase in subscriptions, the paper was experiencing unusually high call volume, and nobody was available to answer the phone. I biked to West 28th Street in Manhattan, where The Epoch Times and NTD share part of a building. The pandemic-stricken city was ghostly, but I figured workaholic editor types might be coming into the office anyway. The Epoch Times often includes pictures of its editor in chief, Jasper Fakkert, and its publisher, Stephen Gregory, so I knew what they looked like. I parked myself across the street and sat on a curb, watching the door.
I didn’t see Fakkert or Gregory, but I did see a steady stream of 20- and 30-somethings coming in and out of the building, as if COVID-19 had never happened. I didn’t know for sure whether they were Epoch Times employees, so I climbed the stairs to find the office. I arrived at a foyer to see two women gaping at me. Behind them, through a glass partition, was a humming newsroom, like nothing I’d seen since shutdowns began, several months earlier. The two women told me I wasn’t allowed to be there. I didn’t want to be there myself: Neither woman was wearing a mask. I went back down the stairs.
I managed to get in touch with a lapsed Falun Gong member in her mid-20s who had worked for The Epoch Times in pre-Trump days. She requested anonymity because she still has family in Falun Gong. The most important thing to know about the paper, this source told me, was that virtually all of its staffers were Falun Gong adherents. Her mother, who is of Chinese descent, joined Falun Gong more than a decade ago, after seeing Shen Yun, and soon started selling ads for The Epoch Times. My source began interning for the paper in high school. A few years later, she dropped out of an elite liberal-arts college and returned to work there full-time. Commuting from her home in an outer borough, she would arrive at the office around 7:30 a.m. As they would outside the office, staffers were encouraged to close their eyes for 15 minutes every six hours and “send forth righteous thoughts.” The Epoch Times’ coverage was ecumenical; my source mostly covered apolitical stories. But ultimately the paper’s mission was to grow. Promoting Falun Gong was central. I was recently forwarded an email sent in 2016 by an editor named Cindy Drukier, urging her colleagues to promote the paper’s exclusive tell-all by a drummer and Falun Gong practitioner named Sterling Campbell, who had played with David Bowie. “This is one of our highest-potential articles ever,” Drukier wrote. (Bowie had recently died.) “Perhaps Bowie’s entire career and superstardom was all for this moment.”
I had read that the paper, in its fledgling days, was staffed by volunteers. My source, who worked unpaid for several years, eventually received a salary of about $20,000 a year. (The Epoch Times says all staff are paid.) To save on rent, some staffers worked other jobs, lived with their parents, or shared cramped apartments. Ben Hurley, an ex-believer and a former Epoch Times staffer in Australia, wrote in a Medium post several years ago that he and his colleagues were paid in “virtue,” a “white substance in another dimension that you gain when you do good things.”
For a brief period in 2016, a half-dozen nonpractitioners—a category also referred to as “sentient beings”—were hired as reporters. But for the most part, the newspaper appears to bring in Falun Gong practitioners to do the work. (The Epoch Times disputed this, without elaborating.) “A lot of these guys are kind of hippies,” my source said. “They just picked up a pamphlet like anyone else.” Once inside either The Epoch Times or NTD, they have tended to shuffle from one to the other and from job to job. Ben Chasteen, a co-host of Edge of Wonder, had studied massage therapy at the American Institute of Alternative Medicine. Before hosting his own show, he was a staff photographer. Jan Jekielek hosts the marquee interview program American Thought Leaders, but I have also seen him identified as the newspaper’s PR contact.
Because Falun Gong adherents spend countless hours of personal time delivering newspapers or handing out flyers for Shen Yun, working for The Epoch Times or NTD is as much spiritual practice as it is a career choice. I spoke with another lapsed Falun Gong member, in her 20s, whose immigrant East Asian parents joined when she was a toddler (and remain practitioners). This second source, who also requested anonymity because of her family, told me that she spent virtually every weekend of her childhood demonstrating against the CCP or handing out Falun Gong literature. One winter, she was stationed outside a “Bodies” museum exhibit in Philadelphia, which believers suspected was filled with Falun Gong remains. Another time, she helped stage torture scenes in Manhattan’s Columbus Circle, using cages and fake blood.
In her late teens, she went to work for NTD. She told me she had been taught that nonbelievers’ souls were shrouded by an evil aura, which could be lifted when a practitioner “clarified the truth” about the righteousness of Falun Gong or the sins of the Communist Party. (Communists go to hell.) “It’s explained like an actual battle,” she told me. “Arrows are coming out of your mouth,” shooting at the evil inside nonbelievers. The best way to do this, she went on, is at scale—by producing a YouTube segment or bringing friends to see Shen Yun.
The paper’s roster of op-ed writers appears to be made up of non–Falun Gong and features prominent conservatives, such as the New Criterion editor Roger Kimball. One opinion writer, Mark Hendrickson, a retired economics professor at Grove City College, in Pennsylvania, told me he was under no illusions about the paper’s objectives. “They’ve probably done some research into, well, what do Americans want to read?” he said. “Instead of just being anti-Communist, they’re a paper that tries to be well rounded.” It seems noteworthy that few of its Asian journalists are given a prominent showcase. For years, the publisher, Stephen Gregory, has insisted that The Epoch Times “doesn’t speak for” or “represent” Falun Gong, but merely covers Falun Gong persecution. That seems hard to believe. This summer, I came across a trove of Li’s speeches, translated and transcribed on one of Falun Gong’s English-language websites. Li speaks at length about the newspaper’s role in exposing the “wicked CCP,” then fields questions about various Falun Gong—or “Falun Dafa”—activities, including the management of “our media.”
Which project would be best suited for saving the sentient beings of Africa? Shen Yun? New Tang Dynasty TV? Or Epoch Times?
Master: (Laughing) Use whichever one has matured.
In some areas, the person in charge of the Dafa Association is in charge of many things at the same time, such as The Epoch Times, NTDTV, the Dafa Association, and truth-clarification project groups.
Master: Indeed, that’s the way some areas are. If it really is due to lack of manpower, then there is nothing to criticize. With some areas, it is really problematic, though. Even I’m thinking: if someone could take my place, I wouldn’t work on Shen Yun.
I found another kind of testimonial on Falun Gong websites, too: cathartic accounts in which adherents testified to the brutally long hours they put in at The Epoch Times. Presented in the third person, they convey the Job-like doubt and sacrifice of their subjects. One of these accounts reported on the experience of a believer named Ivan Pentchoukov, whose byline I recognized from the print edition of The Epoch Times. Pentchoukov had been working off and on at the paper for eight years, but frequently grew discouraged. “One time he successfully sold many Shen Yun tickets,” the article said, which motivated him to return to The Epoch Times. “He decided to give up working on his PhD degree, and, despite his parents’ strong opposition, went back to work for” the paper. Later, needing money, he found work as a taxi driver. “Again he realized he couldn’t save people effectively that way. ‘Many times I couldn’t lift my hand and give the passenger a flier.’ ” He returned to the paper. After that, “miraculously, all his troubles were resolved.”
n January 25, 2020, seven months before his indictment for defrauding investors in a private border-wall scheme—to which he has pleaded not guilty—the former Trump adviser Steve Bannon started broadcasting a podcast from his rowhouse on Capitol Hill. Bannon called it War Room: Pandemic. The U.S. had only a couple recorded cases of COVID-19 at that moment, and Europe had hardly any. Nobody in authority was paying much attention, and Bannon recognized that this was a mistake. “You may not have an interest in the pandemic,” he warned, “but the pandemic has an interest in you.”
The first outside reporter Bannon summoned for the podcast was Simone Gao, a writer for The Epoch Times and the host of Zooming In, an NTD show. Gao said she had been watching clip after clip on Chinese social media of doctors and ordinary citizens testifying to the gravity of the situation. Meanwhile, Gao said, state media were running saccharine coverage of Chinese New Year festivities. Two weeks later, Li Wenliang, the Wuhan doctor who issued some of the world’s earliest warnings about the pandemic—and whom Chinese authorities forced to confess to “making false comments”—died of the coronavirus.
Bannon had an existing relationship with The Epoch Times. In 2019, NTD co-produced and aired his docudrama, Claws of the Red Dragon, loosely based on the Chinese telecom company Huawei, which has been accused of stealing intellectual property (charges that it has denied). While Trump himself, amid trade negotiations, was still praising Xi’s COVID-19 response and minimizing the virus, Bannon saw the pandemic through the lens of the Trumpian nationalism he had helped to mold. From his perspective, the same country that was siphoning U.S. jobs and threatening U.S. economic dominance had produced a deadly virus that globalization was inevitably bringing to American shores. The Epoch Times, for reasons of its own, shared Bannon’s alarm.
Joshua Philipp, a melancholic 30-something with a thatch of thick black hair, is an Epoch Times star. The range of the stodgy print newspaper can be limited; YouTube is another story. Philipp hosts a YouTube show mostly about China called Crossroads. In early April, Philipp hosted a 54-minute documentary, Tracking Down the Origin of the Wuhan Coronavirus, that cast doubt on the narrative that COVID-19 first jumped from animals to humans in a Wuhan wet market. Well-produced, the documentary features moody B-roll video of Philipp researching late into the night and riding the subway around Manhattan.
The film is typical of The Epoch Times, which sometimes asks valid questions—are we 100 percent sure about the provenance of the virus?—before derailing. Most of the film’s commentators are China hawks, not medical experts. The first half of the documentary explores whether the virus’s genome sequence suggests that it leaked out of a lab. By minute 40, it’s running footage of gas masks on assembly lines and citing a 2015 study about Beijing’s bioweapons capability. By minute 50, one of its talking heads says, “The real disease here is communism.” At the end of the film, Philipp is at the Lincoln Memorial, channeling Falun Gong sentiments: “I believe that viruses can’t survive where hearts have compassion.” The movie, which has racked up some 9 million views, was the first major entrant in the coronavirus-truther genre that took off last spring.
China coverage has been The Epoch Times’ most prominent calling card, but under-the-radar measures may have spurred the paper’s growth. A few months ago, one of the lapsed Falun Gong women I spoke with sent me a link to a YouTube skin-care channel with more than 2 million subscribers—Beauty Within, hosted by a pair of influencers named Rowena Tsai and Felicia Lee.
The channel had nothing to do with politics or China, and bore no outward connection to The Epoch Times. Eventually, though, I discovered an NTD page promoting it, and after wading through a lot of beauty tips, found my way to an episode in which Tsai detailed her commitment to Falun Gong. (Lee, Tsai, and NTD did not respond to requests for comment.)
Diversification has become a hallmark of The Epoch Times’ promotional strategy. In 2019, after its heavy Facebook spending was revealed, The Epoch Times shifted tactics, spending roughly half a million dollars in a single month on ads from “sock puppet” pages like “Honest Paper” and “Patriots of America.” By the end of the summer, numerous accounts associated with the paper had been banned from advertising on Facebook. Meanwhile, the website Snopes had started reporting on an outlet called TheBL.com (BL stands for “Beauty of Life”), which had created hundreds of accounts, groups, and pages to promote pro-Trump, anti-CCP content. TheBL.com was created in 2016 by Trung Vu, then the CEO of the Vietnamese edition of The Epoch Times; its editor is the former editor of the English-language edition of The Epoch Times. In late 2019, Facebook banned the BL for using fake accounts. By then, Facebook said, the group had spent close to $9.5 million promoting itself, accruing 55 million followers worldwide. (The Epoch Times maintains that it only began advertising under different pages after Facebook, without explanation, prevented it from advertising under its own name. It denies any affiliation with the BL.)
Although his firm was hired to build the brand and boost print subscriptions, the consultant Brendan Steinhauser says he was not involved in the social-media carpet-bombing that has come to define The Epoch Times, and never got a solid picture of the paper’s finances. In 2019, the Epoch Times Association, the nonprofit under which the newspaper is lodged, brought in more than $15 million in revenue (compared with about $4 million in 2016), about half of which came from subscriptions. Whatever The Epoch Times’ financial situation, the publication’s bottom line pales in comparison to that of the more glamorous Shen Yun. In 2018, the most recent year for which tax forms are available, Shen Yun reported a profit of $26 million and net assets of $122 million.
In May 2020, the Daily Beast discovered a benefactor named Huayi Zhang on the IRS form of Universal Communications Network, the nonprofit that operates NTD. Zhang, who for several years in the 2000s served as chair of the network’s board, was a principal at Renaissance Technologies, the hedge fund run by Robert Mercer. The link was suggestive, given that Bannon, a onetime Mercer ally, has a connection to NTD. (“I’d give them a number,” Bannon told The New York Times in late 2020, about his film budget. “And they’d come back and say, ‘We’re good for that number.’ ”) But the existence of a secret pot of Mercer money seems unlikely. According to the IRS document, Zhang and his wife donated $909,500 from 2012 to 2016—almost all of it in the years before Trump ran for president. Zhang also served on the board of another Falun Gong–linked organization, which perhaps points to a spiritual, rather than political, interest.
The zealotry of the labor force is also a key component of the business model. Falun Gong followers often donate not only their time but their cash; unsold Shen Yun tickets are bought by followers, who see the performances over and over. Ming Xia, a political scientist at CUNY Graduate Center and the College of Staten Island who studies Falun Gong, compares the group to a multilevel-marketing scheme, in which members recruit other members ad infinitum.
Eager for more insight, I tried again to infiltrate The Epoch Times. Falun Gong exercise sessions take place every day all over New York City. Most are outside, so the coronavirus was no real impediment. One day I checked out the 7 p.m. session closest to the newspaper’s offices, in Madison Square Park, figuring I might run into some familiar faces. No dice: There were three men and one woman, none of whom I recognized. I sat on a bench and watched the four of them for a while as they stood in place and moved their limbs around slowly. Tranquil music played from a speaker on the ground. Eventually I got up and walked over to grab a pamphlet. The woman, Asian, wearing ripped black jeans and gladiator sandals, was evidently the recruiter of the bunch. She broke off to intercept me. She told me her name and made it her mission to get me to join her. I demurred, asking if I could just watch from the bench. She responded that that would be very boring. I gave in.
The woman had me stand opposite her and mirror her motions. At first it was hard to concentrate, because a Black Lives Matter demonstration started marching through the park as soon as we began. I was being told to make a little bubble with my hands as protesters chanted “No justice, no peace, fuck these racist-ass police” behind us. Eventually the protesters passed through, and I spent 10 minutes learning qigong. “Dive into the water,” my instructor told me. “Your body should be like a mountain.” Placebo effect or real, I don’t know, but I did feel some tension lifting. My instructor told me I’d feel even more relaxed if I stopped chewing gum.
I was wearing a face mask. Nobody else was. I asked why. “We understand the virus very well,” my instructor explained. I wouldn’t quite comprehend this, she said, but she was protected by an energy field that activated once she began practicing.
I asked if the protective energy field extended to other people, such as me standing nearby. I didn’t get an answer. Instead my instructor asked, “Did you know the virus started in China?” I thanked her and returned to my bench.
According to Li’s central text, Zhuan Falun, ill health is a sign of insufficient “cultivation.” For a period of weeks this summer, I had seen news splashed across Falun Gong media about a jeweler in the Hamptons who developed COVID-19 symptoms in March and became very ill. A friend of the jeweler’s in Falun Gong urged her to repeat the phrase truthfulness, compassion, forbearance over and over. Miraculously, all her troubles were resolved. This case aside, the internet is full of alarming accounts of Falun Gong refusing medical care and succumbing to illness, and even dying. The ex-NTD source I spoke with told me that she decided to leave Falun Gong two years ago when, after she shunned medical attention, a ruptured ovarian cyst led to internal bleeding.
In late July, at the Trump International Hotel, in Washington, D.C., a rare COVID-19-era indoor political conference took place. It was called the Freedom Summit, and it featured a number of prominent Republicans, including Senators Ted Cruz and Tom Cotton. Steve Bannon broadcast War Room: Pandemic live from the event.
One of the few journalists there was The Epoch Times’ Jan Jekielek, wearing a navy suit and an orange polka-dotted pocket square. He must have been delighted by what he heard. Despite the bland name, it was really a forum for the China hawkery that has emerged as a staple of the Trump years. For American Thought Leaders, Jekielek sat down with former Representative Dave Brat, now the dean of the business school at Liberty University. Rather than merely repeating “Wuhan virus” talking points, Brat spoke at length about a litany of Chinese transgressions, including the militarization of the South China Sea, TikTok’s surveillance capabilities, and, yes, organ harvesting. Brat said that his outrage at China had compelled him to rethink his commitment to free trade.
Maybe belonging to one faith-based community makes you predisposed to the magical thinking of another. Listening to the interview, it struck me that while Trump has been of use to The Epoch Times in recent years, it may not need him going forward. The Republican Party has in many ways moved in The Epoch Times’ direction. To the fixation on China, add the distrust of medical expertise, the belligerent nationalism, the taste for conspiracy theories, and the hysterical outcry at the specter of socialism. The difference is that the same issues that many in the GOP exploit opportunistically, The Epoch Times embraces earnestly. The newspaper tends to regard its penalization by tech platforms, or critiques of its journalism, as predictable extensions of the actual censorship it faces in China. (“You seem to have decided to assist the CCP,” a representative from the paper emailed me.) Flirtations with QAnon by pro–Falun Gong media make a kind of sense, too: The group is already receptive to the idea that powerful people in government might target the innocent in order to make use of their bodies.
Not long ago, I remembered that I was still paying for The Epoch Times. When I tried to cancel my subscription, the website put me through a gantlet, before presenting me with a last hurdle, like a final boss in a video game, in the person of Roman Balmakov himself. Before I could bail on the paper, there he was, wearing a brown vest and a red tie, in a short video I was urged to watch.
“Hey, you’re here to cancel, and that’s A-okay,” Balmakov announced. But he had a message for me first. “You’ve probably looked at the state of our nation, and you might not be feeling that optimistic,” he said. “I know the feeling as well.” Footage of what looked to be an antifa demonstration flashed on the screen. Balmakov ticked off a lengthening roster of ills—“worst of all, possibly the culprit behind everything else, the increasing dominance of socialist and communist factors within our society. We are a nation that is quickly becoming free in name only …That’s what pushes me to work harder, every single day.”
The day after Biden’s victory over Trump was announced, a Falun Gong website posted a brief poem by Li Hongzhi, titled “On the General Election.” His first public statement in months, it was reprinted on the front page of the next edition of The Epoch Times. “In this majestic universe, the communist devil is making trouble,” the poem began. “Fraud and corruption are harming a great nation.” Via email, practitioners were urged to help sway the results of the election by sending forth an extra 30 minutes’ worth of righteous thoughts a day.
*Photo-illustration images: Falun Gong / Miguel Candela / SOPA Images / LightRocket / Samantha Sin / Nicolas Asfouri / AFP / Getty; Eduardo Munoz Alvarez / AP; Flickr; YouTube90,000 Omega Constellation – all prices for Chrono24
Omega Constellation’s offer knows no bounds – from affordable vintage watches for a few hundred euros to fully diamond-studded models worth over 90,000 euros. Here you can find watches for every budget and taste. There are also various design options. Do you have a choice between classic dress watches, sporty-elegant timepieces and retro watches?
If you are interested in today’s characteristic Omega Constellation with four brackets, then you have the choice between watches in stainless steel, gold and steel, as well as pure gold.A 38 mm steel watch with a Co-Axial caliber can be purchased new for 3,500 euros. Pre-owned copies cost around 2,800 euros.
If you want to wear the charm of the 1980s on your wrist, then you should take a closer look at the two-tone watch in stainless steel and gold. The 38 mm version 220.127.116.11.02.006 costs around 5,400 euros new. Used copies of this model are rare.
Mikhail Gorbachev is a connoisseur of the Constellation in 18K yellow gold .True, his personal copy is most likely Omega Constellation Manhattan, that is, a fairly early and small model. If you, like the former Soviet President, prefer small watches, you will also find men’s watches with a diameter of 35 mm in the Constellation collection. Set aside around 15,500 euros for a new gold piece. Sedna gold options cost about the same.
The main models of the series are equipped with an automatic co-axial caliber with display of the day of the week and date.For the purchase of such a 38 mm specimen, you need to plan for approximately 20,000 euros. Pre-owned watches cost several thousand euros less. For lovers of sparkling watches, we can recommend the complete sets encrusted with diamonds. On most models, precious stones adorn the dial or dial and bezel. Model 18.104.22.168.58.001, for example, has 11 diamond indexes on the dial and 34 diamonds on the bezel. Prices for a new watch are around 28,000 euros.
Price for ladies watch series Constellation
The Omega Constellation series features numerous women’s watches.They are painstakingly decorated and often inlaid with diamonds. Diamonds can be used only as hour indices, but also adorn the entire watch – from the bracelet to the bezel and dial. The case of the latest versions is made of gold, and the dial is made of mother-of-pearl. The official price of the model 22.214.171.124.55.010 in white gold is over 108,000 euros. The rose gold version is about 3,000 euros cheaper. On Chrono24 you can find a rose gold watch for around 90,000 euros.
Steel versions with coaxial gauge and 29 mm diameter are much more available.You can buy them new for 4,400 euros, a pre-owned watch is several hundred euros cheaper. A new set with a mother-of-pearl dial, diamond indexes and diamonds on the bezel costs around € 7,100. If the case and bracelet are made of Sedna gold, then the price will be approximately 20,000 euros.
The 24 mm versions are particularly sleek and therefore ideal as an accessory for the slim woman’s wrist. Samples in yellow or rose gold are more like a bracelet than a watch.Thanks to the precise quartz movement, they show the time correctly. 12 diamond indexes ennoble some models, for example 126.96.36.199.53.001. The blue dial looks especially elegant in this jewel. You will need to save around € 8,800 for this new watch.
New Constellation with Co-Axial Master Chronometer Caliber
In 2020, Omega made several changes to the Constellation men’s collection. Firstly, the Biel-based manufacturer presented models with diameters of 39 and 41 mm.In addition, Omega equips this watch with the latest Co-Axial Master Chronometer calibers. They are more accurate than many other watches certified by the Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC). In addition, the Omega Master Chronometer resists a magnetic field of 15,000 Gauss. The caliber 8800 ticks away in a 39-mm watch. Its power reserve is about 55 hours. The caliber 8900 built into the 41mm version provides an additional 5 hours of battery life.
Omega has developed a new applied test method in cooperation with the Swiss Metrology Institute (METAS).The tests are carried out for accuracy, water resistance, power reserve and resistance to magnetic fields. Watches that pass these tests are awarded the Master Chronometer category.
The blue or black ceramic bezel is the main visual feature of the 41mm Constellation models. Like most steel or gold bezels in this series, the ceramic bezels have Roman numerals as hour markers. Time is displayed using Lancette hands and thin indices. The date display is located at 6 o’clock.The case material is available in stainless steel, yellow gold or Sedna gold. Two-tone stainless steel and gold versions are also available. A stainless steel watch with a black ceramic bezel and gray dial will cost around 4,900 euros. The yellow gold version has both a ceramic bezel and a black dial. You can buy this model on Chrono24 for about 15,300 euros. The price for the two-tone version is around 6,500 euros.The 39mm
Constellation looks a little more classic than the 41mm versions.This is mainly due to the characteristic bezel of this collection, made of steel or precious metal. In addition, the so-called brackets stand out more than on ceramic bezels. When it comes to case material, you again have a choice between stainless steel, gold and the two-tone option. The latter carries the spirit of the 80s and officially costs 9,500 euros. On Chrono24, these two-tone watches can often be found several hundred euros cheaper. The stainless steel versions are also cheaper, you can buy them for about 4,600 euros.At the top of the price range is a yellow gold or Sedna gold watch with a gold bracelet. For such copies, you need to set aside about 28,000 euros.90,000 price, quality and authenticity. Part (…)
The global economy in its current state has plunged the watch industry into a deep shock. Find out how watch brands have adapted to new conditions. This is the second article in a series from Europa Star Editor-in-Chief Pierre Meillard.
monaco concept 24 by TAG Heuer
Tiger Woods – Maria Sharapova – Lewis Hamilton – Leonardo DiCaprio DiCaprio: Four ‘Knights of Time’ from TAG Heuer
TAG Heuer: Aggressiveness and Values Show
“Aggressive Pricing Strategy” Base has become the baseline. In keeping with the big picture, TAG Heuer pursues a super-aggressive policy, “not only refusing to raise prices, but also focusing on values”.In the present context, when the North American market is in free fall, judging by a 50% decrease in volume compared to last March, TAG Heuer has no choice but to try to regain its market share at any cost. To this end, new models have been created in the Monaco line, which this year celebrates its 40th anniversary with the release of the Aquaracer 500M with a slightly redesigned and impeccable finish (expressive vertical stripes on the dial) at an unprecedented price of 2,500 Swiss francs (1,650 euros) and the Grand Carrera Caliber 36 RS Caliper Chronograph based on the El Primero caliber in the premium segment.
In keeping with the “low-key, low-key” brand image, TAG Heuer still stays on and continues to invest in innovation and the image of a true watch brand. This is evidenced by the renowned V4, which has finally entered production, and the highly innovative anti-shock system that protects the Caliber 36 suspended inside the Monaco Twenty Four Concept Chronograph, which is made of exceptional composite materials. You should have seen the presentation: two small balls fall on the surface – one rubber, the other made of this new material.The rubber ball bounces off while the other completely absorbs the fall energy. Despite the disappointing economic situation, TAG Heuer has decided to launch a new campaign with the somewhat pompous name “Knights of Time”. Its goal is to convey, through focused, thoughtful, decisive poses, the inner strength of the brand’s faces masterfully captured by Tom Munro, namely Leonardo DiCaprio, Tiger Woods, Maria Sharapova and Lewis Hemilton. The mood is conveyed not with the help of external details, but thanks to the internal content.The campaign is a tremendous success.
open grande data sunphase from Zenith
Thierry Nataf reading Europa Star
Era of Nataf
After passing several marks, we finally approached the Zenith stand (another horse in the harness of the LVMH group), where Thierry Nataf was giving an interview. As usual, without revealing any secrets (although the news of his departure from the company was discussed everywhere), the former head of the super-brand presented new models with space speed.Each model received his attention, the presentation of each collection was accompanied by a video, and Mr. Nataf himself, as a real DJ, made the sound louder and quieter. While Nataf can be criticized for being overly energetic, overly self-esteemed and passionate about the show, it must be admitted that it was only because of this man that Zenith gained universal attention in just a few years.
Working simultaneously in all directions, Nataf increased the number of collections, brought the El Primero back to the saddle, revitalized the manufacture and launched Defy, the true hummer of sports watches.At the same time, he organized luxurious events and put a lot of work into the development of the marketing direction. The crisis seriously harmed the company’s plans – last year was unprofitable for Zenith. And it looks like the leaders of LVMH lost their hands. In May, the group announced the departure of Nataf, who will be succeeded by Jean-Frédéric Dufour, who served as director of product development at Chopard.
At BaselWorld, Thierry Nataf continued to sprinkle new products and projects in his signature style. In the near future, there will be an exclusive “Italianissimo” ChronoMaster equipped with a new “harmonic” caliber El Primero 4047 with a patented large calendar displayed on three discs and a 28-day moon phase indicator that changes the sun throughout the day.Also expect a new Class and Multicity model with an alarm clock and El Primero caliber, released for its fortieth anniversary.
Nataf also presented new models as part of the Port Royal and Defy collections. In October, we are waiting for a new Academy dedicated to Times of Civilizations. And that’s not all. Zenith plans to take part in the Chronometry Competition this year and, subject to the availability of retail space, open a chain of boutiques one by one in Moscow, Dubai and Beijing. And yet: the top-tier segment, Zenith’s native category, was hit hardest by the economic downturn, according to FH’s March report.And today, the main role is played not by wholesale indicators, but by retail sales.
automatic chronograph by Tissot
eta c01.211 from Tissot
Back to basics: movement
The crisis has rekindled interest in the basic manual winding movement. Tissot products attracted special attention at the Basel exhibition. A symbol of democratic watchmaking, the brand this year opened its impressive stand apart from the Swatch Group Plaza.With 2,300,000 watches released in 2008, “Tissot is attracting stores that this year are turning to established brands that offer quality products at a reasonable price,” says François Thibault, head of the brand.
Tissot, with export prices ranging from CHF 70 to CHF 1000 (€ 46-660), operates in both the low and mid-range. “But we need to understand what these numbers mean,” Thibault says, “and remember that in many countries, 100 francs per hour is a lot.”Tissot, with 16,000 retail outlets in 150 countries, understands this.
There was also a lot of discussion at the show about a Tissot initiative of no small importance to the sector: an automatic chronograph priced below CHF 1,000 (€ 660), or rather CHF 795 (€ 520), which was previously unthinkable without the Valjoux caliber. ETA tackled this problem with the 1978 Lemania 5100 and the 1991 Swatch automatic. ETA engineers have developed a hand-wound chronograph movement, ETA CO1.211, with the goal of minimizing production and assembly by automating virtually all operations. On one level there is a copper plate, to which the second part with elements made of synthetic material is attached. The escapement, which is extremely light, economical and requires little or no lubrication, is also made of synthetic material.
Precision adjustable ETAchro assembly, economical Nivachoc B1 balance shock absorbing system and brass rotor with integrated friction lining spring complete this 13th movement with only 184 parts, 8.44 mm high, 3 Hz frequency and power reserve at 46 o’clock.This caliber, which is in no way inferior to an automatic chronograph, has become a worthy addition to the watch family in these difficult times. It also gives Tissot and the Swatch Group a strategic edge.
Not far from Tissot is the Pequignet stand with Didier Leibundgut rubbing his hands gleefully. His new original caliber, eventually named Cal. EPM01 has gotten a lot of attention. It features a large date and month display, an annual calendar, a 72-hour power reserve indicator, a large moon phase display and a small seconds at 4 o’clock.Thanks to its large balance, adjusting screws, 21,600 vph and the coarse Cal. The EPM01 guarantees watch reliability, accuracy and astonishing isochronism. It also heralds a new era – the era of fine watchmaking at affordable prices.
ananta from Seiko
Samurai are coming
Seiko did not escape the economic crisis, but according to the brand’s management, this opened up “great opportunities” for it: “Customers want to invest in true value.Seiko, with its complete manufactory, is the only brand in the world to master four technologies – mechanical, quartz, kinetic and Spring Drive. ”
To take full advantage of the situation, Seiko plans to take two paths: firstly by promoting its “secondary” brands Pulsar, Alba and Lorus, and secondly by launching the new Ananta collection, which turned out to be a real breakthrough in terms of design. The Ananta collection, which includes a Spring Drive chronograph or a self-winding mechanical movement, has become a true embodiment of Japanese values and techniques.
The Seiko team, working on the creation of the new collection, was given complete freedom of action. The only requirement was that the new watch had to be extremely Japanese and technological. The watch is inspired by the katana, the 800-year-old art of making samurai swords using special iron and steel techniques, to which the Japanese owe some of the finest swords in the world. The swords were polished in a special way, they were given a curved shape so that the warriors could remove them from their scabbards with one movement, while striking at the same time.All these elements are reflected in the appearance of the new Ananta collection (translated from Sanskrit – “infinity”). Making a body shaped like a rosette requires 30 different computerized operations to give it the parabolic shape of a katana sword. Like the traditional katana, the watch boasts an exceptionally skillful finish, which Seiko only trusts the top five master polishers (and employs 350 of Seiko). The influence of the legendary samurai sword is also felt in the aesthetics of other details – thanks to it, the arrows and marks received their sharp shape.
Seiko’s most compelling breakthrough is in movement. Since the 1960s, when it won several Swiss chronometric competitions that resulted in the birth of the quartz movement, the Japanese brand has continued to research mechanics. Until recently, however, these calibers were produced exclusively for the Grand Seiko collections for the domestic market. In the Ananta collection, Seiko introduces for the first time a new chronograph movement with column wheel systems, vertical clutch and self-winding.This movement has a frequency of 28,800 vph, a barrel made of SPRON 510 alloy, and a Magic Lever self-winding system, which allows the watch to be wound for several hours with just one wave of the hand. The high-precision movement with excellent finishing is offered at a competitive price of 2,700 euros.
Within the same Ananta, Seiko presents two other movements: an automatic with a double retrograde function (day and date) and a power reserve indicator (Cal.6R24, 2000 euros), owing its miniature size to MEMS-Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems technology (similar Mimotec) used in two devices (cam and calendar indicator), as well as an automatic multi-hand movement with day, date and power reserve indicators (Cal.6 R21, 1800 euros).
Selected models in the Ananta collection are equipped with Spring Drive calibers with a world time function or chronograph, which, thanks to the sliding hand, became the world’s first chronograph to measure “exact” time, not just “approximate” time to the next leap of the hand.
ti-bridge from Corum
44mm admiral’s cup gmt from Corum
Four pillars of Corum
“Reinforce and assert” is the general idea of positioning today.We’ve seen a number of companies pick it up, from Corum, Chopard, Maurice Lacroix, Oris and Raymond Weil to Vogard, Linde Werdelin and Vulcain. What do they offer?
Antonio Calce, head of Corum, confessed that he had to “work this year with a budget cut by 20%, and therefore created fewer hours – 15,000 instead of 18,000.” He also overhauled the brand’s distribution network, “reducing the number of partners, while focusing on strategically important stores.” Calce wants to develop the brand around her Golden Bridge, Admiral’s Cup, Romulus and Artisans collections.Its goal is to renew Corum’s history and regain its position as a powerful creative brand. “Corum has never been a single product brand,” says Calce. One of the ways to strengthen the brand’s position was the release of the highly curious Corum Ti-Bridge model, created on the basis of the CO 007 linear movement with titanium bridges and platinum. Influenced by the famous linear movement Golden Bridge, this second proprietary caliber of the brand does not repeat any of its details. Delighting with a flawless finish, it features an imposing matte barrel that guarantees a 72-hour power reserve.The baguette-shaped movement is suspended from two titanium crossbars inside a curved titanium case.
A few words about another whale of the brand, Admiral’s Cup. Since the beginning of the crisis, Antonio Calce and his team have been looking for ways to “open the floodgates” and help sellers by creating a special series. Although the collection has not lost its characteristic appearance, changes were made in several directions at once. Smoothed corners and uncharacteristic elegance of the case give the 44mm Admiral’s Cup GMT a certain “urban chic”.A significantly reduced version of the 12 branded flags adorns the model, which has appeared on the market in 1000 copies in a case of rose gold and steel, or in a steel version. For those looking for a more masculine model, check out the Admiral’s Cup Black Challenge 44 mm with a black or white dial, treated with black PVD, providing an exceptional level of 1300 HV Vickers hardness. The model, which is complemented by a rubber strap, is a convincing alternative to the existing offer.And finally, among other novelties of the Admiral’s Cup line, it is worth mentioning a chronograph in a 48 mm titanium or carbon black titanium case with indexes covered with black SuperLuminova. For lovely ladies, the brand offers a beautiful chronograph in steel or pink gold with a mother-of-pearl dial, as well as a luxurious Golden Bridge Lady model, encrusted with diamonds (2.5 carats).
lunar big date by Chopard
Chopard in anticipation of 150th anniversary
For Chopard, which will celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2010, this year has become a time of strengthening its positions.The brand invests heavily in equipment. In 2006, Chopard Technologies was opened, specializing in new technologies such as silicon. In 2007, the brand worked on expanding the area, and a year later founded the Fleurier Ebauches company, in which it is planned to invest 9.9 million euros in four years.
As for the new models, 2009 turned out to be a barren crop. The L.U.C. the Lunar Big Date appeared with an accurate indicator of the phases of the moon in both hemispheres at once; Chrono One Flyback with new chronograph movement.Not to be forgotten is the evolution of the L.U.C. Caliber 10 CF and the ultra-thin L.U.C. XPS, introduced in 2006, and this year with a transparent sapphire glass case back and a small seconds hand.
There are also several new additions to the Classic Racing Collection. In addition, the brand plans to launch a new line, Elton John Watch, in two versions – plain and inlaid with diamonds. A percentage of the sale of watches from this collection will be donated to the Elton John AIDS Foundation.As for the Happy line, Caroline Scheufele offers a dainty gem with the funny name Happy Invest, which is a small gem set in gold with diamonds pumping in the center.
To be continued
Source: Europa Star magazine August-September 2009
Register for the Friends of VDNKh loyalty program to receive a discount on tickets to the VDNKh Museum.After registration, you will receive a cumulative virtual or plastic card. The basic level of the discount is 5%.
Tickets are sold by session every hour: the first session at 11:00, the last at 21:00.
On the day of the 80th anniversary of the Exhibition, the VDNKh Museum was opened in the right wing of the arch of the Main Entrance. Visiting the exposition, guests will learn how the Main Exhibition of the country was created and worked over different eras, how its ensemble was formed and its content changed.
The key exhibit is the Mediathek of the VDNKh Museum, a constantly growing database of materials about the history of the Exhibition, its architectural features and modern development. The archive contains drawings of the first pavilions dating from the 1930s, rare photographs of expositions of the 1950s – 1960s, chronicles of the 1990s, modern photographs of the restored pavilions of the Exhibition and other unique artifacts from different eras.
The exposition is based on an extensive database of information with digitized archive photos, drawings, documents and newsreels.The restored artifacts from the VDNKh museum fund are placed on the exhibition modules.
The museum space, equipped with a 12-segment multi-screen, media screen and interactive panels, is divided into five thematic zones:
- “Friendship of Peoples” – the exposition tells about the contribution of representatives of different republics of the USSR to the formation and development of VDNKh, as well as about which eminent foreign guests attended it.
- “Watching victories” – here visitors can learn about the life of a large country in the post-war years, about which exhibits and entire pavilions were devoted to achievements in agriculture, heavy industry and other industries.
- “National University” – a section about scientific breakthroughs, which have always been given special attention in the preparation of expositions and temporary exhibitions.
- “City of Wonders” – a visit to this area will be a fascinating journey through time, the purpose of which is to see how the architectural gems of the country’s main exhibition looked decades ago.
- “One day at the exhibition” – in this section you can see how VDNKh attracted visitors in different periods.It is curious that the main walking route has hardly changed over the years – it has always passed through such iconic places as the Central Alley, the Space Pavilion and the Green Theater.