It’s not unexpected to have experienced watchmakers creating over the carrier some exceptional timepieces, but during the last years, I witnessed some extraordinary timepieces manufactured by small independent watch brands that lack the human and financial resources to do years of development and trials, and still, they manage to create amazing watches.
This is the case with AkriviA, a brand founded by Rexhep Rexhepi – a young yet extremely talented watchmaker, whose collections are only highly complicated timepieces with marvellous finishes.
Till now, all the watches were Haute Horlogerie Tourbillons, but at the beginning of 2017, AkriviA released the AK-06, the first watch without a tourbillon but with a sum of fantastic finishes.
The new timepiece comes in a 41mm diameter case with a height of 9.9mm, easily recognisable for the AkriviA fans: the vintage watch inspired case is curved and vertical polished creating a wonderful effect, bringing originality and modernism. Actually, the case is an overlapping of shapes creating a fantastic layered view. I personally love the size of the watch and I consider it perfect for any wrist. For an unadvised eye, the case is nothing special, due to the 70’s inspired look, but for an experienced viewer, the case is full of finishes and details. This type of case makes me want to play with it, to touch and feel the precise edges, the subtle brushed surfaces.
The AK-06 will be available for delivery starting (planned) with this September in stainless steel, titanium, 5N rose gold and platinum. The watch’s back offers a nice view of the movement thanks to the sapphire crystal fixed on the 4 screws mounted case-back.
Even without the hand engraved “AkriviA” plate proudly mounted on the highest point, the dial is a pure breed, highly recognisable AkriviA work. The manual hammering has a fantastic look. I talked with some of the other watchmakers who complained about the disadvantages of this technique but the talented Rexhep Rexhepi has no issues in working and mastering this type of finishes. Actually, he has no issues with any kind of finishes, working on the watches in a way that makes you think it’s a piece of cake.
On the upper side of the dial is visible the 100 hours power reserve: a brushed and engraved disk moved on the left by a fantastically realised arm and kept in tension by a blued spring on the right side.
What I love about this dial is the movement’s elements present on the dial and not under, creating a balanced and symmetric view. In the case of the power reserve, the wounding process becomes a pleasure, giving you the opportunity to observe the arms’ motion.
The left&right bridges used for the Power Reserve complication are incredibly beautifully realised: starting with the mounting polished screws, continuing with the curved polished body and ending with polished jewels’ sink and bevelled edges.
The two bridges crossing the dial from 3 o’clock to 9 o’clock are used one for setting the time and the other for the power reserve. Again perfect finishes: anglage (chamfering/beveling) and high polishing.
“In true high-end watchmaking, there is a lot more to examine than just the chronometric results and stability of a movement. The beauty of the movement itself was always a source of pride and a distinguishing feature, certainly in the tradition of Geneva, and this is a practice that I also want to keep alive. I am not just talking here about exemplary and perfect finishing; like good timekeeping and workmanship, those are always to be expected. What I am trying to say is that the movement architecture, the curves of the bridges, their visual balance and placement, size and proportions, everything has to be a united concept…For me, this micro machine has to be beautiful in every way, on the outside and on the inside, in the places you can see as well as the places you cannot….” – Rexhep Rexhepi
The small seconds and 6 o’clock is also a spectacular view.
The small seconds’ indication is a special type of complication in this timepiece: not only that there is a stop second for time setting, but also a seconds’ resetting mechanism allowing a precise time setting. This uses a chronograph-like system activated by crown pull out – a very rare complication.
The hands are originally shaped, manually realised and have the AkriviA signature touch.
I found this dial an excellent example of innovation and Haute finishes.
They explained much better different steps of the watch creation: “Looking closely at the movement, you will see that the anglage created on the edges of all parts is rounded in what is called a bombé cross section, in opposition to the standard and fully or partially machine created anglage used today throughout Switzerland at large manufactures. This technique of rounded edges is much more time consuming to produce and cannot be prepared in advance by the use of machines. Starting with the basic flat piece of material with 90∘ angled edges, one of the first steps is to create a rounded edge by filing the edges into shape in several steps, which perfectly follows the edges equidistantly into every curve and corner. Furthermore, all sinks for the jewels also have a bowl shaped cross section, directly complementing this bombé effect of the rounded anglage This is followed by multiple steps of further finishing and polishing with a series of special wooden sticks covered in abrasive material as well as the natural wood itself. From the raw parts to finally finished parts, here is a general overview of the steps required to create perfectly finished watch parts and movement:
Primary quality control of each machined piece
Preparation of upper and of lower sinks
Grinding of movement underside and sides followed by filing
Execution of Geneva stripes
Anglage grinding of curved and straight parts
Anglage filing of curved and straight parts, including edges
Anglage polishing of all filed edges in several steps
Polishing of sinks
Black polish surface polishing where required
Finally, for the highest gloss, a stick of the Gentian plant is used. This plant grows freely in the mountainsides of the valley and has been used for centuries in such work. The softer, inner layer of the wood is used on its own without additives in order to achieve an extremely high gloss finish. Such finishing is absolutely impossible to achieve with the standard use of electric tools or via CNC machining.” – AkriviA Website.
The AK-06’s caliber is something that I appreciate more than usual: just have a look at the balance wheel bridge with the sculptural shape and excellently executed finishes.
The hand-wound movement has a diameter of 30.00mm, 28 jewels, an in-house developed variable inertia balance wheel, with a generous size of 10.5 mm, using 4 adjustable weights combined with Breguet overcoil beating at a very slow 18’000vph or 2.5Hz offering this way a power reserve of 100 hours with a single barrel jewel mounted.
All the components are hand-finished in the best way possible: the main bridge has a rhodium treatment with perlage, bridges with a large but fine Côtes de Genève finish and beveling. All the surfaces suffer the same treatment of highest Genevan traditional techniques: black polish, fine brushing, hand applied anglage and hand engraving.
The AkriviA AK-06 is not just a high-quality independent timepiece, is an example of craftsmanship, traditional watchmaking, a connoisseur piece made to be a great investment and to be enjoyed every moment.
The prices for the AK-06 are 79’000CHF for the stainless steel version, 83’000CHF for the 5N rose gold and 91’000CHF for the platinum timepiece. All prices are without taxes.
This morning I found out that AkriviA started the AK-06 production and is taking orders on a waiting list, so if you are looking for an exceptional timepiece, now is the best time to act.
I would like to thank AkriviA for the images, videos and information. A special thanks go to Naomi for supporting me with the needed information.
Please visit the AkriviA Website for more information, their Facebook Page for fun facts, images and details from the manufacturing process.