On a recent trip to Geneva I dropped by the Akrivia workshops in the city’s Old Town and spotted the Rexhep Rexhepi Chronomètre Contemporain “Only Watch”, still in its constituent parts and almost ready for assembly. The dial, however, was finished and gorgeous.
It’s a serene grey-blue, made of translucent enamel over a hand-hammered dial plate. Produced with lots of careful effort and a tiny hammer, the hammered finish is usually only applied to Akrivia’s gold dials found on the AK series watches, and is being combined with enamel for the first, and probably only, time. It was a tedious process to get right, which is why the Akrivia is one of the last to be completed amongst the Only Watch line-up.
Produced by the same Geneva enamel artisan that does the fired enamel, or grand feu, dials of the standard watch, this dial for the Only Watch example is the second one made, hence “version 2” on its packaging.
Rexhep felt the first dial made was not up to scratch – it had too much variation in colour – and had a second one produced. And the first dial was finished only after a handful of trial runs, where it was established that the thinning effect of the hammered surface meant it could not be counter-enamelled on the back as the standard dials are.
Aside from the hammered surface, the dial is also unique because the markings are painted in fired enamel, rather than printed. This makes the numbers, lines and text more substantial. And because the enamel is translucent, the markings float ever so slightly above the surface of the dial.
Slated to be sold for charity on November 9, the Chronomètre Contemporain “Only Watch” has a modest estimate of 40,000-60,000 Swiss francs; it’ll likely blow right past the high estimate. The rest of the Only Watch 2019 timepieces can be seen on onlywatch.com.
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