One thing we’re constantly keeping tabs on is the next generation of independent watchmakers, and more than a year ago, we received a hot tip from a man you just don’t ignore. As we reported last year, according to Kari Voutilainen, the most promising youngster he’d seen in a while was a young watchmaker named Rexhep Rexhepi.
We interviewed Rexhepi almost right away to find out what he’d done to impress the great Finn, and this month, we finally had the chance to catch up with him in his new atelier to see how things have been going since receiving such high praise. Spoiler alert: It’s going pretty damn well.
Rexhepi, 29, is happy to admit he has had to learn to adapt to the relative fame that comes with the approval of someone of Voutilainen’s stature. And it’s a situation that perhaps he wasn’t quite ready for. However, it’s also opened quite a few doors, literally.Â
Two years year after he launched AkriviA â the name means “precision” in ancient Greek (Î±ÎºÏÎ¯Î²ÎµÎ¹Î±) â he moved all of his gear into a massive 250 square meter showroom, not far from the center of Geneva, and added a few names to his crew. The team is now five persons strong and includes an international marketing director, a designer, three watchmakers, and a second Rexhepi.
Xhevdet, 26, joined his older brother in January this year, after following Rexhep’s example â he too was a Patek Phillipe apprentice, and has the âPiÃ¨ce Ecoleâ to prove it (above). Today, both pieces sit opposite each other in the atelier, and survey the brothers in their daily tasks. When we visited, Xhevdet was busy filing a pair of hands for a custom AkriviA Tourbillon Hour Minute ordered by a prominent collector in Dubai, which needed to be delivered during Dubai Watch Week.
AkriviA’s collection has grown considerably since we last spoke to Rexhepi, but the latest models, a chiming jump hour and a regulator, are made in the same vein and, crucially, around the same component: the tourbillon. When I asked Rexhepi why his focus seems fixed on high-end watchmaking, he said it was the only thing he knew how to make.
The watches are not what you’d expect from someone trained by Patek Phillipe or F.P. Journe, but reflect his youth and creativity. One thing is certain, you can tell from the finishing of the case and movements that Rexhepi has been on the end of the most strict and demanding instructions throughout his watchmaking education. AkriviA is the result of a painstaking apprenticeship, but set free creatively.