There’s watchmaking…. and there’s Watchmaking. To me it turns into Watchmaking with a capital after we’re speaking about watchmakers who’ve the information, the power and the endurance, to create a timepiece solely by hand. I’m not speaking about redesigning a couple of plates or bridges of an present motion. Though all of us love Dufour’s Simplicity (based mostly on a JLC calibre) or Voutlainen’s Observatoire (based mostly on a Peseux calibre), to me these watches are drop-dead attractive, über-desirable, however possibly not a lot watchmaking with a capital W. When speaking about Watchmaking with a capital W, suppose alongside the traces of George Daniels or Roger Smith. Hand-made is vital, and a motion solely developed by the watchmaker, with out ‘borrowing’ the escapement, the keyless works. At this time, we’re speaking with non-other than a correct unbiased Watchmaker. We’re speaking with Aaron Becsei, the namesake of Bexei Watches.
Oh… And a small PS. Aaron is making ready a brand new spherical wrist watch!
Frank Geelen, MONOCHROME – We perceive that watchmaking is a household custom among the many Becseis. Who began the custom, when and why?
Aaron Becsei, Bexei Watches – My grandfather was born in southern Hungary, now a part of Serbia. He didn’t wish to domesticate the land and moved to Budapest as a younger man. There he met my grandmother, and so they had two sons. Grandpa determined to work with timepieces and shortly turned a famend and revered watch and clock restorer in Budapest and all through Hungary. Not solely did he restore timepieces, however he additionally constructed further mechanisms for present actions.
Aaron Becsei’s grandfather behind the bench, in his workshop (Budapest, 1960)
He was a self-taught watchmaker however had a pure expertise and regular fingers required for this sort of precision work. He labored from house so his two sons may be taught the commerce. Quickly, my father and uncle adopted his path. Sadly, my grandfather died in his 60s, so I by no means met him. Nevertheless, images and listening to tales from the household, I’m advised I inherited his seems to be, character, regular fingers, and expertise!
Aaron Becsei’s father in entrance of his store
Aaron Becsei’s father, at his grandfather’s workshop
What occurred to your loved ones through the communist period? How did the Becsei maintain the custom alive?
That is an fascinating query as a result of non-public companies have been banned in that period. My grandfather had opened a workshop, and my grandmother needed to ask for permits from the authorities. The primary response was a powerful ‘no’. Nevertheless, she returned together with her two small sons and requested an officer for assist. She returned repeatedly, and finally – and who is aware of exactly why – they allowed my grandfather to open a small workshop on a facet avenue. It couldn’t be on the principle highway or within the metropolis centre. My grandfather labored right here till his demise, and my father took over the enterprise for some time. When issues began to alter, my father and his brother opened their very own workshops: my uncle’s was on the principle highway, whereas my father’s was within the metropolis centre. Mockingly, I don’t have an open store, however my workshop is accessible to the world!
Aaron Becsei (on the appropriate) and his father at work.
Who tutored you?
My father taught me the fundamentals in his workshop. Like his father, he labored on restoring items and creating mechanisms for present actions. He additionally took me to a number of watch museums in Europe to understand the artwork of wonderful mechanical watches in addition to the concord and refined proportions of a few of the most distinctive items. He took me to the Musée Worldwide d’Horologerie in La Chaux-de-Fonds, to the Patek Philippe museum in Geneva and to the Clock and Watch Museum in Vienna. Aside from his work as a watchmaker, my father was a continuing traveller and adventurer. These journeys have been good excuses to coach me but additionally to spend and luxuriate in time collectively as father and son. In Europe, we’d go to vintage markets and watch gala’s. They have been ‘low value’ journeys as a result of we couldn’t afford anything, however I realized the fundamentals of watchmaking historical past and the evolution of watch design over the centuries. Though my father is now retired, he nonetheless performs restoration work.
Educate them younger… Aaron Becsei in his early days, enjoying with one thing… uncommon
When did you first really feel your ‘calling’?
Once I was a young person, my father used to let me deal with his watchmaking instruments and have interaction in some very fundamental work. Nevertheless, in these days, I used to be enjoying water polo within the Hungarian Championship league and was coaching six days every week and enjoying a match as soon as every week, so I didn’t have a lot time for watchmaking. Once I completed secondary faculty, I needed to resolve between watchmaking and water polo. And there was no query about my choice. I liked restoration work, and by the point I began highschool, I used to be engaged on CAD/CAM programming to fulfill my ardour for mechanical engineering and watchmaking (Editor’s notice: Aaron graduated with honours from the Chamber of Engineering in Budapest in CAD/CAM programming). Once I began engaged on restoration tasks, I may use my engineering information to make particular components and replacements. As time glided by, I realised that my dream was to create timepieces. Nevertheless, the large query was whether or not I may earn a residing from watchmaking.
Aaron Becsei of Bexei watches engaged on a motion
Which have been a few of your favorite timepieces as a younger man? Did they affect your style?
My favourites have been the Empire-style desk and wall clocks, and sure, this type influenced me enormously. They have been ornate items however not overly adorned items; they represented objects from the ‘stunning previous’ and gave me a supply of contemporary inspiration in our boring period of ‘retro-mania’. You possibly can respect the affect of those Empire clocks in my very first hand-built timepieces: the Miniature Double Pendule Zappler and the Tourbillon No. 1 desk clock, offered at Baselworld 2005.
Bexei Miniature Double Pendule Zappler (2005)
Bexei Tourbillon No. 1 desk clock (2005)
Certainly you didn’t go straight into watchmaking? There will need to have been some additional steps.
You’re completely proper. After I met my spouse, Eszter, and talked about our future goals, she inspired me to pursue my dream of making watches, not simply restoring them. At round this time, we heard concerning the AHCI (Academy of Unbiased Creators in Watchmaking) and found that the previous president was residing in Vienna. We contacted him, and I paid him a go to with a few of my ‘passion’ items. He was very encouraging and supportive, and a brand new chapter in my life started. I began to consider that I may earn a residing with my ardour by creating timepieces with my title. (Editor’s notice: After his debut at Baselworld 2005, Aaron was elected because the youngest member of the AHCI.)
What number of watches do you make a 12 months?
My output continues to be fairly low as a result of I’m creating my workshop step-by-step. That is no simple activity as a result of it’s only one man (me) making tremendous refined wristwatches at his workbench. Output is essentially low as a result of I make all of the components myself and spend an excessive amount of time ending the items, one of the time-consuming levels of creating customised timepieces. Each bespoke timepiece I make is actually like ranging from scratch, it’s a prototype, and no corners might be lower. I’ll now be transferring my two small ateliers into a bigger house, however the course of is identical: one man together with his apprentices making every watch painstakingly by hand. In the intervening time, I’ve two full-time and two part-time assistants. I hope to extend my present manufacturing of 3-5 items to 10-15 timepieces per 12 months. I don’t wish to transcend this threshold and like to take care of a detailed relationship with my clients and provides them the eye they deserve.
What motivates you, and which do you take into account your greatest timepiece up to now?
I prefer to create. I just like the bodily act of turning inert materials into an artisanal work, like an alchemist remodeling base metals into gold. So long as I can generate new concepts, new constructions, new manufacturing methods, I’m completely happy. Sadly, as quickly as I give you a singular resolution, I begin in search of one other one, which might create a sensation of overload. So, in reply to your query about my favorite watch: it’s at all times the present one. Nevertheless, my all-time favorite will at all times be my first wristwatch, the Primus, with its patented triple-axis tourbillon.
What does the longer term maintain for Bexei Watches? A spherical motion, maybe?
I normally have multiple concept in my head, however first, I wish to end my smaller 38mm motion and based mostly on that, I plan to create a spherical mechanism for the ’spherical followers’. I used to say that I’d solely make a spherical motion when the snow is crimson. Nicely, final winter, the snow was crimson as a result of Sahara desert sand had reached Hungary. (editor’s notice: because the interview, Aaron has been in a position to design this spherical watch and, solely for us, right here it’s…)
Can we speak concerning the finishings that make your watches so distinctive?
Past designing and manufacturing components, the method of in-house ending includes the opposite half of my workload. I invent and develop all of the manufacturing steps and am continually attempting to enhance them. Generally, the ending takes extra time than the manufacturing of a given half. I’m very proud that some collectors have stated my ending is the best on this planet. One in all my pals stated that “Aaron operates on the degree of a youthful Dufour”! Dufour is the grasp; I revere his work and have tried to be taught all I can from his stunning watches. I attempt to make my watches worthy of his consideration.
It’s been an extended and winding highway of 24/7 dedication, three hundred and sixty five days a 12 months. I’m repeatedly studying and testing; it is going to be a unending story to maintain up with or surpass my present high quality degree. Daily I get up eager about an enchancment to my watches, and I’ve to hearken to meditation music to disconnect my thoughts and get some sleep!
My timepieces evolve slowly as a result of in every step of improvement, manufacturing and ending, I’m attempting out new strategies, working with new instruments, new supplies. Generally, my clients will ask for a distinct materials or a distinct form, however largely it comes all the way down to my perfectionism. This is the reason I can vouch for the truth that every bit I create is a prototype.
That are a few of your favorite watches?
There are a lot of watches with fascinating actions and delightful finishings. The aesthetics and finishings of vintage Patek Philippe watches are near my coronary heart, as are more moderen fashions such because the Calibre 89 Grand Complication pocket watch; I used to be amazed by its complexity and sweetness. However, I additionally admire the engineering improvement of Piaget’s ultra-thin Altiplano motion.
What makes your watches distinctive?
My watches are born in my thoughts and made with my fingers. I envision them, invent them and manufacture them with my very own methods. As a result of they’re solely sui generis, I might be extraordinarily versatile concerning customisation. This ‘one-man present’ method permits me to discover new strategies for ending, which is an added worth for collectors once they realise what number of working hours have gone into a bit.
For instance, on my newest watch, I spent virtually six months discovering the appropriate device and the appropriate approach to black polish and blacken the seven sides of my new double bevelled indices. However I additionally spend time refining, reshaping and sharpening the ruby jewels whereas others simply purchase them and place them into the motion (in the event that they haven’t already purchased them with the motion half).
It’s the small particulars that make a giant distinction. After black sharpening, I verify the piece underneath a 10-15x microscope; the usual within the watchmaking trade is a 3x loupe. One other lucky side of my work is that my shoppers perceive that I want time to complete my creations to my requirements, and I can’t be grateful sufficient for his or her endurance and generosity.
For extra particulars concerning the work of Aaron Becsei, please go to www.bexei.hu.