Long time readers of the magazine will be familiar with my story, we were first acquainted in 2017 when I was featured in the Collectors section. I have a few bespoke watches that I created with help from Jochen Benzinger, the German master engraver and movement decorator known for his skeletonized movements and hand-guilloche dials.
My latest is a unique chiming watch that again features a skeletonized and hand-guilloche dial. It’s been a year in the making and is, by Benzinger’s own admission, one of the most complicated movements he’s ever worked on. Skeletonizing risks altering the sound of the hammers, so this posed a unique challenge for him.
It took a year’s research on my part to find a watch to base this whole operation on. I chose the Kelk Automatic Quarter Repeater, it has a Dubois-Dépraz quarter repeater module fitted on an ETA-2892 base movement. I chose this watch because the movement was not too large and it didn’t cost a fortune.
It has a 38-mm-wide stainless steel case, an unusual choice of metal for a chiming watch since most are made from gold (or in more recent times, titanium).The finishing of the components required many, many man hours. A slide lever on the side of the case activates the chiming mechanism. Having seen only a handful of skeletonized and hand-guilloche repeaters, I had my mind set on creating one for myself.
Repeaters are rare and very complicated and not something you spot every day. It is a very cool and classical complication and always makes for a good conversation starter, even with those who are not that familiar with chiming watches.
- Faisal (@fk_uniquewatches) is an Abu Dhabi-based collector who designs his own watches now in collaboration with expert watchmakers