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Kaj Korpela - Timepiece No.1

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With their creativity, skills and great respect for the traditional techniques and methodologies, independent watchmakers represent an exceptional resource for the entire watchmaking industry.

The dream of any independent watchmaker is the creation of a timepiece whose components - with the exception of parts that are rather difficult to manufacture like jewels and springs - are made by hand, under one roof and without assistance. This is the so-called "George Daniels method", from the name of the great British watchmaker.

With this goal in mind, the young and talented watchmaker Kaj Korpela - born in Sweden in 1982 - recently started his own firm (or atelier) in Berne, Switzerland. Initially trained at the Watchmaking School in Borensberg in Sweden from 1999 to 2003 and then attending the Wostep Refresher course, he also worked at Ulysse Nardin and Vianney Halter.

Korpela’s first creation is the Timepiece No. 1, a rectangular wristwatch reminiscent of the Art Deco style and somehow inspired by watches like the Patek Philippe Gondolo or the Cabaret from A. Lange & Söhne.

Only 5 pieces will be created and each one will be completely hand-crafted by the Swedish watchmaker. Except for jewels and springs, Kaj will create each part from raw materials, only using traditional manual machines and hand tools.

Kaj spent around 2,000 hours for the creation of the first prototype. The use of CNC machines could help reducing the total time to around 400 hours but the magic of 100% hand-crafted timepiece would be lost.

The prototype case (43.4 mm x 25.7 mm x 8.5 mm) was crafted from brass with pink gold coating but for the final watch each customer will be able to choose among platinum, various gold colours and steel. Same for the movement: bridges, mainplate and wheels can be made in precious metals or German silver.

The front of the watch is characterised by simple shapes and follow the principle of readability. Two skeletonized hands show the time by sweeping on a raised dial on top of an engine turned background. The bottom half is dominated by the eye-catching one-minute tourbillon which is visible on both sides.

On the back, the gear train bridge covers most of the movement except for the tourbillon which is visible through a round window and a meticulously finished bridge with a beautiful and intricate shape.

For the final pieces, this part alone will require around 100 hours of work to be finished with sharp corners, evenly polished bevels and perfect symmetry.

The 3 Hz (21,600 vph) hand wound movement features a free sprung BeCu balance with 4 platinum inertia weights with a power reserve of around 60 hours. BeCu is a beryllium copper alloy which combines high strength with non-magnetic and non-sparking qualities.

The price of the Kaj Korpela Timepiece No. 1 will be discussed with each customer based on the specific requests. A life time warranty and regular overhauls are included. 


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