Carl Eady provides an informative overview of AkriviA Watches and its founder Rexhep Rexhepi. In this feature, Carl looks at an array of AkriviA timepieces.
This detailed article about AkriviA Watches includes details of the brand’s history, the various watches the company has made, including several tourbillons, and discussion of the firm’s sublime finishing.
The world of horology has many esteemed maisons which have enjoyed over 100 years perfecting of fine watchmaking. Moreover, some watch brands have even been in existence for over 200 years.
This year, thirty-year-old Rexhep Rexhepi celebrated the fifth anniversary of his hugely impressive AkriviA’ brand. On the face of it this may seem a small milestone, but for a young man to establish such a highly prestigious brand so quickly is actually quite remarkable. Rexhep Rexhepi is nothing short of a horological phenomenon.
His Kosovan father lived in Switzerland for forty years and in 1998, at just 12 years of age, Rexhep also moved to Switzerland. At 14, he became an apprentice at industry giant Patek Philippe and proudly displays his first Patek Phillipe pocket school watch in his company’s beautiful Geneva premises.
A highly talented pupil, he acquired fine skills in manufacturing, finishing and assembly techniques from leading industry craftsmen. With a stint at high-end movement maker BNB Concept and then F.P. Journe, Rexhep’s CV is impressive. However, in February 2012, Rexhep decided to take control of his own destiny and launched his new watch brand, AkriviA.
History in the making
AkriviA Watches’ ethos is to manufacture uniquely styled timepieces for a modern era whilst respecting the finest haute horlogerie techniques. The company’s debut pieces were Tourbillon Monopusher Chronographs. A bold opening statement that AkriviA is a brand with seriously strong credentials.
Rexhep designs all his own movements and produces many of the elements in-house to a sublime finish. Where necessary, he creates prototype components which are then sourced from expert local suppliers. Wholly retained within their Geneva workshop is the fine finishing, dial & hand creation, assembly and final casing.
The team of four full time watchmakers have an annual production of circa 25 watches. Each craftsman is solely responsible for the start to finish process of each timepiece, ensuring uniformity of finish is consistently maintained.
The original Tourbillon Monopusher design
Every detail of his exceptional pieces, even hidden unseen facets, receives expert attention. Black polishing, inward angles, anglage, perlage and Geneva stripes are techniques expertly showcased by AkriviA Watches.
The team constantly perfects dial finishing techniques true to the past masters. Matte-polishing, enamelling and hand hammering are all bespoke possibilities which are executed to a stunning and dramatic effect.
Paramount to the rising success of AkriviA Watches has been the ability for the company to build on its initial success and maintain supreme standards of finishing with each creation.
Power in Reserve
Exuding a calm and modest persona, Rexhep is a refreshingly honest character. Perhaps one of his greatest skills is his grasp of human psychology, for behind his reserved exterior is a highly observant man. He understands true watch lovers see their precious timepieces as an extension of themselves. Rarity, technical brilliance, complex movements and outstanding finishing are all desirable. Coupling these attributes with ease of adjustment, accuracy and a single barrel performance of a 100-hour power reserve has created the ultimate winning formula.
Despite his mastery, Rexhep acknowledges he is still learning and clearly thrives on tackling new challenges. Recently, in Basel, he openly discussed how he overcame his latest challenge of creating perfectly rounded edges for the new open worked AK06, which entailed and lengthy and multi-step process that few others have mastered.
With the latest 2017 introduction, AkriviA Watches now have six calibers, all featuring hand wound movements.
Being a truly bespoke manufacture, a myriad of dial, hand and index styles can be combined. The distinctive cases are all sumptuously finished, mixing highly polished finishing with fine linear brushing. Although he personally favours steel, owing to the finish achievable, Rexhep is equally adept at fashioning gold, platinum or titanium to suit his discerning customer’s needs.
A favourite piece with many fans is the original and beautifully executed Tourbillon Monopusher Chronograph. A large window displays the exceptionally finished tourbillon at 6 o’clock and a small window at 12 o’clock more subtly reveals the chronograph’s column wheel. This 42.5mm chronograph also features a power reserve and teasing glimpses of the movement’s fine finishing through openings in the dial. A 2016 refinement of this caliber cleverly integrated the pusher into the crown, further evidence of Rexhep’s desire for symmetry and simplicity.
The collection also includes the ‘Tourbillon Hour Minute, ‘Tourbillon Regulateur’ and a world first, the ‘Tourbillon Chiming Jump Hour’. This latter calibre, introduced in 2014, was AkriviA’s first fully designed, developed and in-house produced movement. A design classic, the dial and movement offers near perfect symmetry and an aesthetically pleasing alignment of the minute hand aperture as it encircles the central hour window.
In 2016, AkirivA Watches introduced the Tourbillon Barrette-Miroir. A particularly eye catching option on this timepiece is to have Arabic numerals ‘black’ polished then blued to punctuate the dial to dramatic effect. Perhaps equally as pleasing is the view of the symmetrical movement through the sapphire case back. Sixty-nine inward angles and a stunning curved black polished bridge, which spans the width of the movement, provide a smooth contrast to the perfect Côtes de Genéve decoration.
At Basel 2017, the AK06 caliber was launched to high acclaim, a first ‘non-tourbillon’ creation for the brand. Clever features such as the stop balance with seconds reset function are thoughtful touches for horological connoisseurs with a penchant for supreme accuracy. This hand-wound masterpiece is visually engaging during the winding and setting process, where the mechanism comes to life in the open dial. A stunning sight for lucky owners and one that will broaden AkriviA’s appeal when it becomes available later this year.
The Future’s bright
Rexhep and his team work exceptionally hard, often late into the night. With such an enviable reputation, he is acutely aware that AkriviA will be on the radar of the big watch conglomerates. Control over the entire watchmaking process and preserving his high standards mean Rexhep is unlikely to relinquish his cherished independent status. Only time will tell, but judging by the first five years Rexhep and AkriviA Watches have a very bright future ahead.