At Baselworld, I had the pleasure of meeting legendary watchmaker Rexhep Rexhepi, founder and CEO of Akrivia.
For those who don’t know Akrivia: Akrivia is an independent watchbrand, designing and producing their own watches and movements. They are at the top of haute horology, with most of their pieces having six figure prices.
Until 2017, they only made in-house tourbillon movements, and they just released their first non-tourbillon watch.
If you have never heard of the name Rexhepi, you must have heard the story of the 14 year old kid who got accepted to do his apprenticeship at Patek Philippe. That same kid did quality control on Patek Philippe tourbillons at age 16. Well, Rexhep was that kid.
At age 16, I was looking for a way to secretly buy alcohol with my friends. At age 16, he was looking for a way to make a more efficient tourbillon.
I had the pleasure of talking to Rexhep, and asking him a few questions about Akrivia and it’s future.
Unfortunately, his brother Xhevdet (who is also a brilliant watchmaker) was not able to join. Basel nightlife can be a real bitch.
How did you get into watches?
As a child, I lived with my grandmother in Kosovo. My father worked in Switzerland, and every time he came to visit, he brought us a Swiss watch. We did not have a lot of toys or games growing up. Every time my father brought us a watch, I was very interested in how it worked. How does it keep time? What’s the ticking sound? I was always very intrigued on what was inside.
Most of the time, I tried to open the watch to play with the movement and take it apart. Sometimes I couldn’t get the movement back together, but every time I learned something new.
At age 12, I came to Switzerland for the first time, and arriving at the airport blew me away. There were watches and advertisements about watches everywhere. Way more than in Kosovo. This really opened my eyes and got me into watches even more.
My passion grew more and more! I started practicing even harder and started my apprenticeship at Patek a few years later.
The big question: How did you get accepted to Patek?
Well, no mystery or crazy story here. I just did a lot of tests, and it turned out I wasn’t that bad. That’s it.
Back then, Patek hired 3 new apprentice watchmakers every year, today don’t hire apprentices anymore.
Are you looking to make new complications for Akrivia?
Of course! The goal is to make a different watch and different complication every year. We are always working on new things, and I have a lot of ideas I want to work on, so you should come next year to Baselworld and see what’s new!
Will you focus on Akrivia watches or Rexhepi watches in the future?
Well, that’s a misconception. It’s very important to know that Akrivia and Rexhep Rexhepi watches are the same. The Rexhep Rexhepi line is a branch of Akrivia. Like this, we can have more contemporary and fun designs with the Akrivia line, and more classic designs with the line Rexhep Rexhepi.
Do you want to keep making wristwatches, or do you want to try new things (like clocks)?
Making clocks would be very cool! Today, we are focussed on watches, but of course we are very curious. I would love to expand in the future, but for now we have enough work on trying to innovate with watches. Of couse I would like to create something new, like a clock, but for now we have our hands full. The brand is still young, so everything is possible!