Rexhep Rexhepi Reveals the Chronomètre Antimagnétique for Only Watch 2023

A historically-inspired chronometer with an all-new movement.

Having dropped tantalising clues about his creation for Only Watch 2023 a few weeks ago, Akrivia founder Rexhep Rexhepi has finally taken the covers off the Rexhep Rexhepi Chronomètre Antimagnétique. A unique creation with a brand-new movement, the Chronomètre Antimagnétique (RRCA) is a time-only wristwatch with a steel case, one that was inspired by the magnetism-resistant chronometers of the mid-20th century. Its design has clear roots in vintage watches, while the movement features an indirect centre seconds with a hacking, zero-reset mechanism.

Initial thoughts

About the half the offerings in Only Watch 2023 are from independent watchmakers, but the creations vary tremendously in their originality and effort. Amongst the independents that created genuinely new watches for the event is F.P. Journe, whose Chronomètre Furtif Bleu is the first of a new sports model and likely the only watch ever made by an independent that boasts a tantalum bracelet. At the low-effort end of the spectrum is Moritz Grossmann that added “Only Watch” to the seconds register of a regular-production model and called it a day.

The RRCA sits alongside the Chronomètre Furtif Bleu as being impressively original. The RRCA has an newly-designed steel case with a removable outer back and within, a calibre that inherits the distinctive Rexhep Rexhepi aesthetic but is newly developed from the ground up.

Even though it is a simple watch with just three hands, the movement is executed in the Mr Rexhepi’s typical style with an elegant and elaborate construction. The indirect seconds, for instance, features a finely constructed zero-reset and hacking mechanism that’s entirely exposed.

The design on the front is equally attractive. Note the subtle details of the case, ranging from the stepped bezel to the chamfered lugs. I like everything about it – except for “Antimagnetique” at six o’clock that feels out of place because of the modern, sans serif font. That said, it might be possible for the eventual owner of this watch to request a second dial with slight design tweaks, especially since he or she will likely pay well past seven figures for the RRCA.

The RRCA with its removable outer back

Unsurprisingly, I expect the RRCA and Chronomètre Furtif Bleu to be the most valuable examples of independent watchmaking in Only Watch 2023, with both easily crossing the seven-figure mark. Considering that the regular-production Chronometre Contemporain I sold for over US$900,000 in May, the RRCA will likely go far past seven figures rather than just inch pass.

Historically-inspired chronometer

According to Mr Rexhepi, the RRCA was inspired by the magnetism-resistant chronometers made by Geneva’s great watchmakers in the 1950s, a period of breakthroughs in science and exploration, both of which required precision timekeepers protected against magnetism. Examples include the Rolex Milgauss that was developed with the help of CERN, the European nuclear research institute, and the Patek Philippe Amagnetic, the brand’s first magnetism-resistant wristwatch.

The Rolex Milgauss ref. 6541, one of the most famous of late 1950s magnetism-resistant watches

In keeping with the historical inspiration, the RRCA has a “sector” or “scientific” dial that features a central motif of alternating blocks that are meant to represent the opposing polarities of a magnetic field.

Finished in black grand feu enamel, the dial features “gilt” markings in gold poudre enamel print. The hands are solid gold and attached to stainless steel bosses that are mirror polished.

The steel case is the first one in the alloy made by the Jean-Pierre Hagmann workshop that is now part of Akrivia. Inside the case is a ferritic steel ring that is easily magnetised, protecting the movement within from magnetism.

Its design and dimensions are classical in the usual Rexhep Rexhepi manner. But the details of the case echo functional vintage timepieces, explaining the stepped bezel, sturdy lugs, and brushed finish.

The case measures 38 mm in diameter and 9.9 mm high, making it slightly thicker than the Chronometre Contemporain II. That is due to the case construction as well as the movement.

The case actually has a double back – an inner sapphire back and an outer steel back that is secured with a bayonet lock. The outer back can be easily unscrewed and locks back into position thanks to a lightning bolt engraved on its edge that serves as a reference point.

As for the movement, it departs from the construction found in prior Rexhep Rexhepi calibres, found in the first and second Chronometre Contemporain respectively. While those featured directly-driven subsidiary seconds and a off-centre balance wheel, the movement in the RRCA has an indirectly-driven central seconds and a central balance wheel.

Even though the fundamental architecture of the movement differs, the design retains the symmetry and highly defined bridges that characterise the brand. The focal point of the movement sits in its centre – a polished, rounded steel bridge holds the seconds wheel that drives the central seconds on the front. On the same axis is a heart-shaped cam, which along with a reset lever and tension spring form the zero-reset function that allows the wearer to pull the crown, sending the seconds hand to a stop at 12 o’clock for more accurate time setting.

Notably, in contrast to the functional steel case, the key elements of the movement are 14k solid gold, namely the pallet lever and all of the wheels. The solid-gold wheels are especially prominent along the indirect seconds train located to the right of the balance wheel.

The zero-reset mechanism

Key facts and price

Rexhep Rexhepi Chronomètre Antimagnétique “Only Watch 2023”

Diameter: 38 mm
Height: 9.9 mm
Material: Stainless steel
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: RRCA
Functions: Hours, minutes, and seconds with hacking zero-reset
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Winding: Hand-wind
Power reserve: 72 hours

Strap: Fabric with pin buckle

Limited edition: Piece unique
To be sold at Only Watch on November 5 2023
Estimate: CHF100,000-150,000

For more, visit

Correction August 29, 2023: The case back can be unscrewed without any tools, unlike what was stated in an earlier version of the article. 

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The IWC Pilot’s Watch Gets a Full-Lume Dial

Monochromatic black-and-white with a ceramic case.

Soon after unveiling the Big Pilot perpetual calendar in white ceramic, IWC is introducing the Pilot’s Watch Automatic 41 “Black Aces”. While retaining the customary dial layout of the model, the “Black Aces” sports a fully-luminous dial – a first for the brand. The watch gets it name from the U.S. Navy’s Strike Fighter Squadron 41 “Black Aces”, which collaborated with IWC on the watch’s key design elements.

Initial thoughts 

The recent Top Gun watches with coloured ceramic cases have been bestsellers for IWC, though most have been complicated and pricier models. Hence, it is rather pleasing to see IWC do something with the entry-level Pilot’s Watch by giving it a simple yet appealing twist. 

Instead a run-of-the-mill dial colour, the “Black Aces” gets a lume dial that’s novel for IWC. The full-lume dial, however, is not new to watchmaking, with several brands having such dials for several years now, including Bell & Ross with its pilot’s watches. Beyond the colour, the military provenance and “Black Aces” emblem gives the watch a tangible military link that many of IWC’s fans will like. 

Notably, this watch contains the cal. 32100. I would have preferred the cal. 32111 that was used in the new Ingenieur instead. Both are essentially the same calibre, but the latter is a higher-spec version of the movement with a longer power reserve of 120 hours, as opposed the 72 hours of the cal. 32100. 

This movement was presumably used because of the lack of a date, so as to keep the price relatively affordable, which is a fair tradeoff. The “Black Aces” is priced at CHF7,200, just CHF500 more than the standard Pilot’s Watch Automatic Top Gun that has the same ceramic case. While the minimal price difference makes this a logical choice over the regular model, the different movement is a consideration.

An ace among the rest

The “Black Aces” is the latest addition to the brand’s stable of pilot’s watches made for military squadrons or institutions. It shares the same case as the standard Top Gun model, which is 41 mm and ceramic.

Named after Strike Fighter Squadron 41 (VFA-41) stationed in Lemoore, California that’s known as the “Black Aces”. The squadron’s insignia, the ace of spades, sits at six on the dial.

The focal point is the stark white dial that is covered in Super-Luminova. It’s created through a “curing process” starting with Super-Luminova pigment mixed with a binder. The resulting mixture is applied to the soft-iron dial blank, following by stamping the indices and markings. As a result, the entire dial is luminous in low light, creating an inverse effect compared to conventional dials with luminous markings.

The case is identical to that of the Pilot’s Watch Top Gun. Measuring 41 mm in diameter and 11.4 mm high, the case has a solid back depicting the F/A-18E/F “Super Hornet” flown by the “Black Aces”. Under the back is the cal. 32100, an in-house automatic movement with the double pawl “Pellaton” winding system and a power reserve of 72 hours. 

Key facts and price

IWC Pilot’s Watch Automatic 41 “Black Aces”
Ref. IW326905

Diameter: 41 mm
Height: 11.4 mm
Material: Ceramic
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 60 m

Movement: Cal. 32100
Functions: Hours, minutes and central hacking seconds
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 72 hours

Strap: Fabric strap with pin buckle

Limited edition: No
Availability: Available only at
Price: CHF7,200

For more information, visit


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