Karsten Frässdorf Montres KF Bespoke Only EI8HT
The Karsten Frässdorf Montres KF Bespoke Only EI8HT is housed in a 44.5mm octagonal case and is available with a choice of options. Behind the model’s prepossessing appearance, this Maison has produced a highly technical one-minute tourbillon featuring a stopworks as well as other ingenious enhancements.
When Henry Ford unveiled the Model T in 1908, he democratised car ownership. Ford was able to make his comparatively affordable car by employing assembly-line production techniques. Ultimately, this approach delivered economies of scale and his business model continues to endure. Indeed, the majority of modern-day cars continue to be made this way, produced in large numbers in order to mitigate costs, facilitating keen pricing while still delivering profit.
In the world of horology, many watch brands make timepieces using assembly-line production techniques. This is nothing new. Back in 1867, Karl Marx visited La Chaux-de-Fonds, in order to analyse the division of Labour in the watchmaking industry. He even wrote about it in Das Kapital referring to La Chaux-de-Fonds, the watchmaking capital of Switzerland, as a ‘huge factory-town’.
Mass production has a propensity to mitigate costs and, assuming there is sufficient competition, reduce retail prices. However, there are some products where price is incidental and the esoteric specification of a product precludes mass production.
Karsten Frässdorf, a master watchmaker based in La Chaux-de-Fonds does not subscribe to mass production methods. He produces small volumes of watches, each of which is painstakingly crafted. His latest model, the Karsten Frässdorf Montres KF Bespoke Only EI8HT, rejects the notion of economies of scale, inviting would be owners to buy a watch made to their own exacting requirements.
The Maison’s signature honeycomb dials can be specified in a myriad of colours and finishes, the hands and indexes may also be personalised. Alternatively, the dial can be made of natural stone. Furthermore, the balance studs can bear the initials of the wearer or can be endowed with a motif, luminescent material or gems. Even the crown can be personalised.
Beyond aesthetic considerations, Karsten Frässdorf is known for his technical prowess. His hand-wound Novamag® calibre features a one-minute tourbillon. The movement is equipped with a stopworks, restricting power reserve to 66 hours. By only utilising the mainspring’s optimum torque the balance’s amplitude remains relatively constant, augmenting precision.
Some of the finest watches are fitted with a Breguet Overcoil or a Philips external curve and the Karsten Frässdorf Montres KF Bespoke Only EI8HT proves no exception. The variable-inertia balance features a Philips external curve as fine watchmaking convention dictates, however, Karsten has also equipped the balance spring with a Grossmann internal curve, further augmenting isochronism.
Most people are obliged to purchase mass-produced products where economies of scale deliver an attractive quality-price ratio. However, for those individuals who are not constrained by such practicalities, bespoke is the pinnacle of luxury and the ultimate way to go. With his latest watches, Karsten Frässdorf has delivered prospective purchasers with choice, attractive aesthetic elements and peerless technical virtue.
The brand’s press release (December 2020)
The “Bespoke only” concept or bespoke customisation
Since the creation of the Maison, each timepiece has been designed according to the desires of its purchaser according to the «Bespoke only» concept. The aesthetics of this new complication can thus be completely personalised: from the typeface and dial motifs to the decoration of the movement, the Spirograph® balance or the crown, and even the choice of the SYNC folding clasp bracelet.
The new tourbillon mechanism is housed in a distinctive faceted octagonal case reflecting contrasting light effects, a versatile design meeting both sporting and classical aspirations. In addition to the choice of alloy, the octagonal-shaped case with its multiple facets offers infinite possibilities in terms of gemsetting or polishing. In an ultimate playful touch, it is also possible to choose the colour of the hands and applied Arabic numerals gracing the dial.
On the front, the 44.5 mm-diameter case frames a dial designed and produced in-house. On the reverse side, the movement is revealed through a transparent sapphire crystal caseback. This mechanism is all the more visible in that it is built on pillars, ensuring an even closer fit with the glass pane on the back.
More than just a Grand Complication, the expresses a singular vision of time reflecting that of the maker and owner.