The Hvelplund story begins in 1971, when Erik Hvelplund founded his first shop at the Hotel Sheraton - today the Scandic hotel - across from the Lakes in central Copenhagen.
Erik trained as a watchmaker in Randers and graduated with several awards, including watchmaker of the year in 1959. His skills took him to the renowned Beyer in Zurich and then to the famous watch and jewellery house Garretts in London, where Erik was responsible for the repair and restoration of watches belonging to the British royal family.
It was during his time at Garretts that Erik met Alan Banbery - an acquaintance that would have a major impact on Hvelplund's shops today. The same Banbery was hired as sales director at Patek Philippe, and it was through him that Erik came into contact with the Stern family, who own Patek Philippe.
Henry Stern was married to a Dane, and therefore came by Erik's shop when he was in Denmark, and could see for himself what Banbery was referring to when he spoke of his Danish friend Erik. Banbery's reference and the personal visits enabled Erik Hvelplund to write authorised Patek Philippe dealer on his business card in 1975.
The next generation - Erik's son Paul Hvelplund, graduated with a degree in business administration and management and further trained as a gemologist in Germany in both diamonds and coloured stones. It is therefore competent forces that are behind the helm of Hvelplund's store in Østergade. The Østergade shop is now the only one after the hotel shop and Vesterbrogade were closed due to lengthy renovations. Most recently, Vimmelskaftet has been closed in conjunction with bringing everything together in a much larger store on Østergade.
The Østergade store also has a highly competent workshop headed by one of Denmark's most skilled watchmakers. "In the vast majority of watch shops, the workshop consists of a workbench in a semi-dark back room," says Mads Jørgensen from his seat in Hvelplund's ultra-modern workshop, which includes a special ventilation system that keeps his workplace completely dust-free. "We're way ahead, nothing is missing here," he continues, wearing a chalk-white smock with both razor-sharp press folders and the Patek Philippe logo on his chest. There's little sense of backroom about Hvelplund's workshop as the automatic glass doors open and in each time the daily repairs land on his high desk.
Patek Philippe has strict requirements for their authorised workshops around the world, and so it is their technical department that has determined how Hvelplund's workshop is set up.
Despite his age, Mads Jørgensen has achieved an impressive amount since he graduated as a watchmaker in 2001 - the most, however, he has learned since he joined Hvelplund in 2006. However, Mads Jørgensen is no longer just a watchmaker, but a certified watchmaker, as evidenced by the many framed diplomas behind him. These are professional foreign courses that last weeks and sometimes months. During these courses, Mads receives concentrated training from the most competent watchmakers from Patek Philippe, IWC and Breitling. These courses take place at increasing levels, allowing Hvelplund to service more and more complicated watches, for example Mads is allowed to do a full overhaul and service of both a Breitling with leap year calendar and IWC with perpetual calendar.
The cosy surroundings of the shop are not only a luxury for the customers and Hvelplund's employees. It is also a necessity when dealing in some of the world's finest watch brands. It was once said that nobility obliges - the same can be said of certain watch brands, Hvelplund's in particular.