The truth that the very first instance of the Rexhep Rexhepi Chronomètre Contemporain II (or RRCCII) hammered for CHF 800,000 at the newest version of Solely Watch speaks volumes concerning the recognition of unbiased watchmaker Rexhep Rexhepi, founding father of the model Akrivia. Throughout Dubai Watch Week, we chatted with Rexhepi to learn the way a younger boy born in Kosovo turned a watchmaker in Geneva and his subsequent steps.
Xavier Markl, MONOCHROME – How did a boy from Kosovo develop into one of the crucial profitable unbiased watchmakers?
Rexhep Rexhepi, unbiased watchmaker, founding father of Akrivia – I grew up with my grandmother in Kosovo. Like many Kosovars, my father labored in Switzerland and despatched cash dwelling. One in all my earliest reminiscences was of a watch he was sporting when he got here dwelling to go to us sometimes in Kosovo. By the age of 11, we moved to Switzerland. Whenever you arrive at Geneva airport, the very first thing you see is watch promoting all over the place. Every little thing was new to me, and the very first thing I seen was watches. I understood I used to be arriving within the nation of watchmaking. I turned increasingly more curious; I did a few internships and instantly acquired hooked on watchmaking. By 14, I knew what I wished to do. As you’ll be able to think about, not talking French made it exhausting for me to combine. I by no means dreamt of coming to Switzerland, and watchmaking was most likely additionally a approach for me to flee into my very own world.
So that you turned an apprentice watchmaker at Patek Philippe.
I labored at Patek Philippe for a while. It was a unbelievable expertise, one I’ll always remember. Then I joined BNB Idea, which proved an amazingly artistic and dynamic expertise. Throughout my three years there, I labored on totally different merchandise, totally different problems and shortly was assigned extra tasks. In 2010, I joined F. P. Journe. I had at all times dreamt of working with an unbiased watchmaker; it was the right universe for me. There was every little thing: the aesthetic, the technicality, the craftsmanship, the philosophy, the spirit, essentially the most demanding requirements. I may assemble my watches from A to Z and regulate them. I labored on the Chronomètre Souverain, the Octa and the Résonance. This expertise satisfied me that this was what I wished to do and that if I wished to develop into an unbiased watchmaker, I had no time to waste.
And so, I launched Akrivia. I used to be 25, I believed I knew rather a lot, however I knew nothing and had no concept what I might be going through. I believed that I might create my watch and all people would find it irresistible. Though we obtained very constructive appreciation and press protection, we didn’t promote many watches at first. It was powerful. However it’s good to undergo this sort of expertise.
At the moment you’re profitable; there are lengthy ready lists on your watches. How does that change the way in which you’re employed?
Naturally, this modifications numerous issues. Primarily, you have got time to suppose and plan issues long run, to see what could be improved and what could be finished higher. I centered on my atelier, organized issues and purchased machines. I’m a dreamer, and I wished to be increasingly more unbiased with extra freedom to create; I wished to do increasingly more issues in-house on my own. Now, I can manufacture circumstances and all kinds of elements. The deeper you go, the extra you study and perceive. In 2019, Mr Hagmann joined us to assist with case making. We’ve previous machines that enable us to craft totally different elements, however we needed to discover ways to make these. It’s essential to study and to grasp. Ultimately, it’s all about enhancing issues and making ready for the long run. It’s not about crafting extra watches as a result of there may be demand. We give attention to the craft. So, having extra sources permits us to make issues higher.
How do you cope with the growing demand on your watches?
Issues have been very tough for me till about 2016. Actually. Each morning I used to be questioning whether or not I used to be going to make it. In 2017, issues began to enhance, after which issues simply acquired higher and higher. The tough interval actually affected me, and right now I do know that I can lose every little thing within the blink of an eye fixed. So, when you can also make extra watches to ship extra watches, which might require a special approach of working, what do you do? Do you attempt to please just a few folks, or do you find yourself saying no to lots of people who typically find yourself hating you? These are tough selections. What I need to do is to create and craft watches that I like. That’s it. That’s all that’s necessary to me right now.
Watchmaking is the one factor I like and the one factor I’m good at. I’m not good at advertising or different issues. I’d like to please all people, however I can’t. So long as I can maintain the identical high quality requirements and produce just a few extra watches, I’m joyful. However this isn’t my first problem. My problem is to create and craft watches that correspond to my philosophy, to the standard I intention for, and that enables me to innovate.
How do you undertake the creation of your watches?
To start with, after I take into consideration a brand new product, I take into consideration its finishings. I discovered watchmaking at Patek Philippe, an organization with a deeply ingrained philosophy that may by no means change.
In second place, the artistic course of is an ongoing factor; it by no means actually stops. You might be on the workbench, and all of a sudden, you have got an concept and write it down. I’ve notebooks all over the place stuffed with concepts – some concepts are from a few years in the past. I do know what I need to do for the following 7 or 8 years. So, there actually is a maturation course of. You’ve gotten concepts, work on them, refine them…
What’s the concept of the brand new Chronomètre Contemporain?
The concept behind the Rexhep Rexhepi Chronomètre Contemporain was to create a sublime three-hand chronometer, true to the watchmaking custom, with a phenomenal motion and a big small seconds show. I additionally like the concept of precision time-setting with the stop-seconds and zero-reset mechanism.
The Rexhep Rexhepi Chronomètre Contemporain II would possibly look very comparable, however it’s a totally different watch. I like the concept folks would possibly suppose it’s the identical watch when it’s not. The aesthetics are comparable, so is the inspiration. However the case is totally different, and the dial is made otherwise – even the motion is totally different. It’s an evolution.
The case is manufactured with Mr Hagmann. Since we work with conventional machines, we needed to rethink the design course of. The diameter is identical, however it’s barely thinner than earlier than. The motion has a protracted energy reserve, so the crown is barely bigger. I wished extra character for the lugs which might be a bit longer.
The motion itself is totally totally different. It options dead-beat seconds, and there are two unbiased gear trains: one for timekeeping, one for the dead-beat seconds. There’s a star fitted on the escape wheel. A flirt on each third tooth of the escape wheel drives the dead-beat seconds, making certain the chronometry is just not disturbed. The motion remains to be symmetrical, the ending is gorgeous, and there are nonetheless the stop-seconds and the zero-reset mechanism.
I’m very pleased with it. I’m not saying it’s good or that everyone will prefer it. However I’ve put every little thing I may into that watch. The case is thinner, extra elegant, with extra presence, and the dial has numerous depth.
In what approach will the dial be much like the Solely Watch model?
The colors will likely be totally different, and there will likely be two variations. One with construction and one which will likely be extra uniform. However I can’t let you know extra for now.
The piece is signed Rexhep Rexhepi. Why not Akrivia?
Nicely, to me, the 2 issues are the identical. Akrivia and Rexhep Rexhepi are two totally different expressions of the identical concept. One is a little more a laboratory, and the opposite is a little more basic. It is so simple as that. I launched the Rexhep Rexhepi line as a result of some folks didn’t know that there was an unbiased watchmaker behind the model Akrivia.
Not too long ago, you deleted all of the posts in your Instagram web page. Why?
We didn’t suppose this could generate so many reactions. We’re a small staff, love freedom, and make selections spontaneously. We thought we’d take out previous posts to place the limelight on this new chapter, this new watch. The images will not be deleted; they’ve been saved and will likely be again. However we didn’t count on that it will create such a stir. We had numerous messages from folks asking what was taking place if every little thing was OK… It’s been comforting to see how a lot folks care.
For extra data, please go to www.akrivia.com.