Kudoke Introduces the Kudoke 2 Nocturne

Stark and monochromatic.

German independent watchmaker had a hit when it debuted the Kudoke 2 last year. Combining hand-engraved decor with an affordable price tag, the watch was well received by enthusiasts while also enjoying critical acclaim, winning the Petite Aiguille – the category for watches under 10,000 Swiss francs – at the 2019 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG).

The Kudoke 2 Nocturne is a limited edition variant of the standard model in a run of only 20 pieces, a nod to the 20th year of this century. While the standard version features a silver-and-gold palette, the Nocturne is dressed in shades of grey, both on the dial and movement.

Initial thoughts

The Kudoke 2 was one of last year’s more compelling watches for me. Not only is it priced well, but the watch has a refined yet German aesthetic that’s pleasing. The watch is clean, with no superfluous elements to distract from its charming simplicity, yet equipped with several attractive classical details. And the Nocturne has a slightly more modern look than the original, despite having the same design.

The movement, developed with the help of Habring2, has a unique style and excellent finish, especially considering the price of €8,665, or a little under US$10,000, which is the same price as standard version. With artful hand engraving and an original movement, the watch screams value proposition.

A new face

Having an identical design as the standard model, the Nocturne retains the clean, symmetrical look of the original but now in dark grey, which gives it more somber personality that’s different but still attractive. And as someone who loves textures, the lightly-frosted surface of the dial is also endearing.

Another detail of the Kudoke 2 I found appealing are its unusual and original hands, with the hour hand resembling an infinity symbol. Simple yet eccentric, the hands furnish the watch with some flair, especially against the classical dial. They remain identical in shape, but instead of blued steel, the Nocturne has them in a polished finish to complement the dial.

The highlight of the watch remains the 24-hour disc at 12 o’clock, which provides a taste of Stefan Kudoke’s signature craft of hand engraving. Functioning as a day and night indicator, the disc is hand-engraved by Mr Kudoke, and then plated to create the two-tone finish. It’s also very slightly domed, giving it a three-dimensional look against the stark and flat dial.

Pocket watch-inspired movement

At 39 mm wide and 10.7 mm tall, the watch is a comfortable size. The stainless steel case is entirely polished, which is one of its few shortcoming; I would have preferred a more varied finish so that the case looks less monotonous.

Inside is a new version of the manually-wound Kalibre 1-24H. Originally finished in yellow gold, the bridges are now plated in white rhodium, resulting in a silvery-grey finish that echoes the dial. A proprietary movement developed with the help of Habring2, the Calibre 1-24H was inspired by English and German pocket watches of the 19th century.

The inspiration is evident from the full plate and oversized balance cock. On the standard version, the balance cock is covered in a traditional, floral engraving, which has been replaced by a hand-hammered finished and an infinity symbol. Slightly disappointing for someone who appreciates the fancier engraving of the original, this looks plain in comparison.

Nevertheless, the movement still has the charming frosted finish on the bridges that’s enhanced by hand-polished bevels, blued steel screws, and a gold plate for the serial number and brand.

Key facts and price

Kudoke 2 Nocturne

Case diameter: 39 mm
Height: 10.7 mm
Material: Steel
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance:
 50 m

Movement: Kalibre 1-24H
Features: Hours, minutes, and 24-hour indicator
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Winding: Hand-wound
Power reserve: 46 hours

Strap: Alligator with pin buckle

Limited edition: 20 pieces
 From Kudoke as well as retailers
Price: €8,665 excluding taxes

For more, visit Kudoke.eu.


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Auction Watch: Unique Ressence Type 1 Slim to be Sold for Charity

A cheery rendition.

As the COVID-19 pandemic was reaching its peak, Ressence announced Time to Draw, a design competition inviting contestants to reinterpret of its Type 1 Slim, with the winning entry being sold to benefit COVID-19 research at KU Leuven, a university in the company’s native Belgium.

Triumphing over 465 other entries, the winning design was created by Englishman Raymond Ramsden. Named after his two sons, the Type 1 Slim “Ayrton & Finlay” is a bright rendition of the Type 1 that is a striking departure from the brand’s typically monochromatic style.

The finish watch alongside the winning drawing

Clad in pastel colours, the watch clinched the prize because it looks vastly different from the standard offerings of Ressence. Ressence founder Benoît Mintiens stated “[we] wanted to create a genuine one-off, so we opted for entries that were far from our own artistic direction”.

By extension, the watch is distinct in personality – the bright pastel colours are more cheerful and extroverted compared to the usual Ressence wristwatch, which has a no-frills, technical appearance. I love this design for its fun, fresh, and vibrant look.

Apart from the facelift, the rest of the watch is everything that you know about the Type 1 Slim. The watch has 42 mm, tonneau-shaped titanium case that’s 11 mm tall. Because of its almost lug-less design and concave profile, it sits very compactly on the wrist.

The orbital display is the Ressence Orbital Convex System (ROCS), the brand’s signature expression of time. Hours, minutes, seconds and days are located on separate, planetary discs. The entire dial rotates on itself, with each sub-dial making smaller revolution on its own axis, without ever overlapping with another. The result is something akin to a constantly-changing, regulator-style display

The base movement a customised ETA 2892, allowing the watch to be slimmer than its predecessors, which were powered by the thicker ETA 2824. Winding and setting the time is performed by lifting and turning a large, swivelling tab on the case back, hence the lack of a crown.

Meaningful colours

The colours were chosen by Mr Ramsden for their optimistic and uplifting nature as he wanted his design to be a celebration of human values, and the dedication of “frontline” workers during the pandemic.

For example, the pastel blue that dominates the watch and the strap is meant to represent medical staff and workers – a reference to the colour of medical scrubs. The marker for the 19th minute has been painted red as a discrete reference to COVID-19.

The design is also planetary-inspired, with the dark blue, yellow and white sub-dials representing the Earth, Sun, and Moon respectively. I find this concept to be particularly clever as it echoes the concept behind the orbital time display.

Mr Ramsden’s drawing

Auction information

With an estimate of HK$150,000-300,000, the Type 1 Slim “Ayrton & Finlay” is lot 2267 in Sotheby’s Important Watches auction, which will take place on July 11, 2020 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wanchai.

The watch, along with the rest of the lots, is now on show at the preview exhibition that is happening from now till July 10 at the same venue.

For more information and bidding, visit the catalogue entry for the Type 1 Slim “Ayrton & Finlay”.


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