Surrounded by uneven cobblestone streets and centuries-old buildings in Geneva, sits what is possibly Switzerland’s smallest watch manufacture : the atelier of independent brand Akrivia. Based there since 2017, Akrivia’s founder, Rexhep Rexhepi, has sought to make his workshop different from that of other watch brands. Intimate and homey, but powerful in terms of production quality, the Akrivia atelier is the rough diamond of Geneva’s Old Town.
In 2018, Rexhepi caught international attention when he was awarded the prize in the Men’s Watch category for his Chronomètre Contemporain at the illustrious Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. “What surprised me even more [than winning] was discovering the amount of really passionate collectors around the world, who know so much about watchmaking,” said Rexhepi. “I love getting to know people who love watchmaking like I do, or even more, and just welcoming them into the atelier,” he continued.
The Akrivia workshops are every bit as contemporary as Rexhepi’s designs but also show clear signs of his love for traditional watchmaking. The walls look newly painted white, but the floorboards still creak beneath your feet, and the watchmaking stations are grouped together at in the center, like a kitchen island, flooded with light from the large windows looking out into the street. Rexhepi’s station is on a slightly raised platform, where on his right he can look out onto an internal courtyard and on his left, he can oversee his team of watchmakers, popping down to advise on beveling here, engraving there. In a back room, the team has furnished the space with a coffee table surrounded by a few chairs and a cozy couch, where Rexhepi often welcomes friends and clients for an apéro.
In this space, guests are welcomed into a home and privy to a production mode that remains rare in this industry – one that highlights traditional craftsmanship from A to Z devoted to making modern pieces as Rexhepi envisions them.