The Hungary-based independent watchmaker shares his vision of the craft in an exclusive WatchJ interview. And if you’re after some stunning finishings, bespoke pieces, and very distinctive exteriors, you’d better start paying attention.
How would you describe the watchmaking style of Bexei?
First of all, the brand name comes from my name. I specialize in custom made watches, and everything you see at the display (the conversation was taking place right at the AHCI booth during the Baselworld 2019) is pretty much a unique piece. Personalization is very important for Bexei, and I don’t make two identical watches. It’s fair to say, I design a watch together with my customer. Almost everything is possible, I can even design a completely new movement. It only depends on time and money.
Why have you chosen this particular case shape for most of your pieces?
99% of the watches are circular, and as I like to play with shapes, it was clear that my first pieces would not be circular. Yes, I have trademark cases but as long as I make all the components myself including gears, bridges, and almost all of the screws, I can seriously modify the case if the client so wishes. I don’t produce the hairsprings, the mainsprings and the rubies.
How many employees do you have, and how many watches do you produce annually?
Right now I have about 3 employees assisting me. Currently we are producing 4 – 5 pieces per year. Of course, all the finishing and the assembly are done by myself, and the quality is guaranteed by my name on the dial.
What part of the movement or maybe technique you are currently most obsessed with and why?
In one word – finishing. It’s one of the most important if not the most important part of a high-end watchmaking. That’s the real difference between mass production and high-end level pieces. In case of a Bexei watch, the finishing takes months. There’re about 200 components with 10 operations each, so it’s about 2000 operations for just one watch.
What’s the best part of being independent?
I make everything myself, and when you don’t outsource anything, you don’t depend on the third parties. However, for the same reason, the quantities are very limited. But then again, the quality is highest.
Does the heights and lows of the big industry affect your business?
We are not affected by the overall industry climate because we have very special clients. For us and for them it’s like an art, it’s a completely different story comparing to mass production.
How much does it take to build a new model from scratch to putting a piece on the wrist? How do you manage your time between production and developing?
When you start a movement from the design and making tools point, engineering takes two years minimum. I do both – developing and producing – at the same time, everything goes in parallel.
Can you tell us more about the history of Miniature Double Pendule Zappler creation? We’ve likely never seen such a clock before.
Some 15 years ago I saw this kind of clock at the museum. After some research I’ve learned that watchmakers of the past were actually competing in making the smallest pendulum clock. I accepted the challenge, and produced an extremely small one – only 20 mm in hight.
What’s in the pipe right now?
Right now I’m developing a worldtime watch for a customer. My first worldtimer, actually. It shows time zones via two rows – the cities are at the first row, while the second row gives AM or PM. The dial also indicates if the zone is currently using the summer or winter time.
How did you come into watches?
I was born in watchmaking family and grew up surrounded by watches. I fell in love in the first place, so it wasn’t even a question. Seeing my farther at the workshop from very young age, at some point I started working with him on restoring extremely valuable antique pieces. When doing this job, you often have to redesign and rebuild the missing or broken parts, and it’s a big challenge. After learning this craft I realized, I can try to make a complete watch from the ground up.
What was the best lesson learned from your restoration days?
I had to make missing movement components in a complete harmony with surrounding parts, making them look very authentic. So I’ve learned a lot about styles, shapes, and how to make them harmonious.