March 4, 2016
by Kenny Yeo
AkriviA is one of the newer independent watch brands out – but then again you probably already know that as we have been following it closely over the last few years. Established in 2012, it was founded by master watchmaker, Rexhep Rexhepi, who himself has just turned 29 years old. Furthermore, the great Kari Voutilainen even singled Rexhepi out as one of the young watchmakers to keep tabs on now. Their latest piece, to be released at Baselworld 2016 this year, is the AkriviA Tourbillon Barrette-Miroir which joins the growing stable of tourbillons by the brand, but with some notable aesthetic changes and a largely new movement.
The new AkriviA Tourbillon Barrette-Miroir builds on the brand’s tourbillon watch collection which includes the Tourbillon Heure Minute (hands-on here) and the Tourbillon Regulator (hands-on here), but has changes to distinguish itself from the pack. In essence, it really is a study in different finishing techniques – at that, it is one that promises to illustrate how beautifully these various textures can complement one another.
First of all, it features a larger tourbillon aperture than the previous versions, allowing the wearer a better view of this key design element. Its barrette-style bridge is polished to a mirror-finish – hence the French word for mirror, Miroir, in the watch’s name. Black mirror finishing can only be achieved by hand finishing, as the component’s surface has to be polished to be extremely flat and smooth – when that is done and the light hits it at the right angle, this perfectly even surface will appear pitch black.
Second, it has a two tone dial to better accentuate the arabic hour markers. Speaking of which, these markers are given a laborious black polish treatment as well, with beveled edges and some old-school heat-blueing. They are also attached to the dial in the old-fashioned way, meaning holes are drilled into the dial and then the two feet on the hour markers are used to fasten the markers to the dial.
The two tone effect of the dial is the result of matte-polishing, a specialty of Rexhepi, as it creates a grainy texture that is genuinely difficult to achieve, especially on relatively large surfaces such as a dial. According to Rexhepi, the dial of each Tourbillon Barrette-Miroir will take him over a week to make.
Finally, we come to the movement. The new AK-05 manual winding movement is made up of 167 components, it operates at 21,600 vph (or 3 Hertz) and has a power reserve of 100 hours. The one-minute tourbillon’s bridges on the back have an elegant and rather unusual shape, featuring polished inward angles – that is what you are looking for when it comes to truly hand-finished movements, as machines cannot bevel and polish sharp inner angles (like those near around the jewels). The rest of the movement is finished to high standards as well, featuring beveled bridges, Côtes de Genève striping, polished screw heads, polished wheels, anglage and more.
The 42.5mm wide case provides 30 meters of water resistance and consists of over 30 parts and sports beveled edges throughout. AkriviA’s unique design of the case is fast becoming associated with the brand and that is certainly not a bad thing as I find them to be just beautiful – at the time of their debut they did promise some mixes of different materials in the case, thanks to its modular construction and we’d like to see some two-tone models soon. As for straps, the watch will be available on grey or blue alligator, but I doubt they wouldn’t deliver it on a custom strap if that’s what the buyer wanted. We are excited to see this piece in person at Baselworld 2016 and share some hands on photos and thoughts. Pricing for the AkriviA Tourbillon Barrette-Miroir will be made available during Basel, we’ll update the article as soon as we hear from the brand. www.akrivia.ch