Sunday, October 25

Quick visit: Akrivia studios in Geneva

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We have featured Rexhep Rexhepi and his watches several times, and though we visited his studio about 2 years ago, he has moved to another location somewhere up the hill in old town Geneva, and we paid a visit recently.

On the way up, we passed by the first workshop marked Akrivia, and found out that this was where legendary casemaker, Jean-Pierre Hagmann who recently joined Akrivia now practices his art. Rexhep’s atelier is about a further 50m up the hill.

The Akrivia Workshop: Grand rue 15, Geneva

Rexhep was at his bench, working on a piece.

Within the same atelier, are four other watchmakers, including his brother Xhevdet.

Xhevdet Rexhepi.

Rexhep told us that although the base movement plates and parts are made externally by a CNC specialist to his specifications, his intention is to bring all the work in-house and to manufacture all the components.

A view of the machines in the atelier. Rexhep is adding to these machines with the aim of bringing all production within this facility.

The first step was by persuading Jean-Pierre Hagmann out of retirement and having him as part of Akrivia, in his own atelier, making the cases.

Rexhep with Jean-Pierre outside the casemaking atelier. (File photograph from Akrivia).

In the meantime, the watches are designed, and assembled here.

Rexhep Rexhepi Chronomètre Contemporain

So we took the Chronomètre Contemporain right off Rexhep’s wrist to make a few photographs.

The Rexhep Rexhepi Chronomètre Contemporain.

Photo notes: All images on this visit was photographed with the Phase One XF IQ4 150 camera with either the Schneider Kreuznach LS 45mm f/3.5 or the Schneider Kreuznach Macro LS 120mm f/4.0. Review of this incredible camera is coming soon. Main strobe for lighting was with Broncolor Siros L, with rim light provided by a manually triggered Canon EX580II speedlight.

The business end. Symmetrical design layout of the bridges and wheels, and the incredible amount of finishing lavished on the movement is evident.

Finishing the movement

But also, very importantly for a Akrivia watch, all movement finishing is done in the atelier as well.

While we were there, one of the watchmakers was completing the perlage on the base plate.

The base plate. Note the numerous different sizes of the perlage. Note also although this is the dial side of the movement, the edges are anglaged with high polish.

Another watchmaker was completing the finish of the bridge. This is made from a single piece of steel. The massive steel is cut to the rough form, and the final shape is made by filing away the parts which are not needed. The bridge is then polished into a high shine.

The balance bridge. Note the high polished anglage, and the conical shaped arm which is also in black polish. The “wrist” kink raising the jewel attachment is also finished to a high shine, as are the chamfered openings for the screws.

Concluding thoughts

We remain very impressed with the work Rexhep and his team are doing in the small workshop. He re-iterated that his ambition is not to grow the business in quantity of production, but to constantly hone his craft to produce even more handwork on each of the watches he makes. His long term aim is to be able to make all the components in-house.

We bade farewell, as a client had just dropped by to collect his watch, which was ordered some time back. He declined to be photographed or interviewed, and we respect his privacy.

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