While the name Rexhep Rexhepi (pronounced RAY-jep RAY-jepee) may not be household just yet, the 31-year-old is certainly a rising star in the rarefied world of haute horologie. Just last November, his brand AkriviA (meaning “precision” in Greek) won the men’s watch award at the prestigious Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, beating industry heavyweights like Vacheron Constantin. Born in Kosovo, Rexhepi moved to Switzerland in 1998 just ahead of the Kosovo War, cutting his teeth with the masters at Patek Philippe and F. P. Journe before opening his own atelier in 2012 at the youthful age of 25.
In an increasingly digital world, AkriviA stands out for its deep commitment to history and artisanal craftsmanship. Some models, for example, marry 17th- and 18th-century Swiss watchmaking traditions with thousand-year-old hand-hammering techniques on the hands, movements, and dials. “I find these different combinations fascinating,” says Rexhep, who believes the aesthetics are just as important as the complications.
The award-winning Chronomètre Contemporain became one of the most talked-about watches of the year thanks to its elegant Art Deco design and beautifully decorated (and technically difficult) symmetrical movements. Production is limited to just 30 timepieces a year, with no plans to expand. “I want to stay small and personal to guarantee a high level of quality, but also to enjoy my work,” he says. “To stay inspired, it’s important to always be open to outside experiences from other disciplines and not just focus on the amazing, but small, world of the watchmaker’s work desk.”
A version of this article first appeared in print in our 2019 Spring Issue under the headline Creative Minds. Subscribe to the magazine.