During Baselworld 2014 we had an opportunity to sit down with the AkriviA crew, including its master watchmaker and founder Rexhep Rexhepi. The young brand stepped up to the plate back in 2012, with quite a complex first creation: The AkriviA Tourbillon Monopusher Chronograph. Under the Swiss sunlight at this year’s fair, we got some hands-on time with this debut model and with two new prototype dials as a small bonus!
AkriviA, which translates to “precision” in ancient Greek, was founded by Rexhep Rexhepi and Etienne Deschamp in 2011 (Deschamp has already left AkriviA in order to pursue new challenges). Rexhep Rexhepi is a young master watchmaker with an interesting educational background which includes an apprenticeship at Patek Philipe at the age of 14, and working as movement developer for BNB Concepts (which went bust in 2010, then was partially bought by Hublot, resulting in the Hublot Clé du Temp).
The biggest giveaway to the movement is of course the name of the timepiece. There is little to be left to the imagination when you name something the “Tourbillon Monopusher Chronograph.” The movement is actually a reworked version of a creation by BNB Concepts, featuring a column wheel chronograph with a single pusher, paired with a tourbillon regulating organ. Rexhep’s close friends at Manufacture Haute Complications in Geneva were asked to redo and decorate the movement for AkriviA. The AA-2301 movement is topped with a partially open worked dial, allowing for an in-depth look into all the gears and levers inside.
Speaking of the dial, it is set up to afford a maximum view of the important parts of the movement, while maintaining a high level of readability. The large tourbillon on the bottom half of the dial attracts instant attention. The tourbillon cage rotates once every 60 seconds, is comprised out of 63 parts and weighs 0.45 grams in total. Finishing is done by hand, with eight polished, inward angles. Surrounding the tourbillon is a handmade and hand-finished ring which is screwed in place.
Directly to the right of the tourbillon, the dial is opened up to reveal the gear train that runs the chronograph. Upon activating the chronograph, the lever steps into place in order to route the necessary power from the tourbillon to the chronograph. Almost the entire running gear of the chronograph is built upon the dial side, which is highly unusual.
On the top of the dial, you can see the column-wheel for the chronograph movement. The hand-finished steel frame of the window at 12 o’clock is engraved with “AkriviA” and accompanied with “Swiss Made” on the left and right sides, being the only reference to the brand and its origin on the face of the watch. The rest of the markings are purely there for indication of time or power.
The upper half of the dial also contains the two sub registers for tracking the elapsed time of the chronograph. The subdial on the left displays the minutes, with 10, 20 and 30 minute markings; the right subdial indicates the seconds, with 20, 40 and 60 second markings. Both are finished off with a handmade chapter ring with colored markings. The center of both subdials is opened up, and shows the bridges underneath in mirror image of each other. With this particular layout the chronograph registers almost look like eyes, giving the watch some character if you will. The curved bar between 8 and 9 o’clock displays the power reserve and is the final indicator on the dial.
The dial itself is done in German silver, with various finishes and colors for markings, depending on the material for the case and the version of the dial. The two prototype dials are done in silver and copper tone, with slightly different markings. Instead of “Reserve de Marché” on the steel version, the new dials have dotted markings instead of stick markers, and “IRM” (Indication Reserve de Marché) accompanying the indicator. All available versions have steel, sword-shaped hands to complete the dial.
The back side of the watch perhaps shows the most understated part of the movement, through the sapphire caseback. Since most of the running gear of the chronograph, including the column wheel, is placed on the front of the movement, the backside is calm, showing very little of the complexity of the movement. The visible central gear is held in place by a hand-polished bridge, and you can see various other gears through the openings of the baseplate. The baseplate is engraved with Côte de Genève striping, and several other markings including the brand name, logo and serial number, along with the words “Manufacture A Genève”.
The backside of the lugs is slightly angled down, to ensure a nice curvature which hugs the wrist. A small note to add, we felt that the lugs were a bit too sharp for our comfort when handling the watch, but you don’t feel it while wearing it.
The entire case is done in steel or 18k 5N red gold, and is constructed out of 30 parts. The case features polished and brushed surfaces, most of them at a 45 degree angle, giving it a modern feel. Measuring just 43mm across and 12.9mm thick, the AkriviA is very wearable. Comparing this to other watches with the same complexity, it might even be considered elegant. The crown is adorned with the AkriviA logo and features a knurled texture for added grip and feel. The pusher for the chronograph is textured to ensure a firm push without slipping off and missing that significant moment you are timing. The watch comes on a hand-sewn black alligator-leather strap with either a pin and buckle or a folding buckle.
The AkriviA Tourbillon Monopusher Chronograph is exclusively limited to 10 pieces for each version. Retail for this first model ranges from CHF 160,000 to CHF 200,000.