[And the Oscar goes to….]
Winner in the “Petite Aiguille“ Category
Stefan Kudoke broke ground as the first independent watchmaker from Germany to be awarded by the prestigious Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève© (GPHG). The highest award in the industry, the GPHG is considered “the Oscars” of horology. Ev and Stefan Kudoke accepted the prize in the Petite Aiguille category during the November 2019 ceremony in Geneva for their model KUDOKE 2. Among the 14 awards judged by the independent jury, the Petite Aiguille is a fiercely competitive category comprising timepieces retailing between 4,000 and 10,000 CHF. “To win as a small family business against huge competitors like IWC, Zenith, or Maurice Lacroix in the finals is a great honor and recognition of our work,” the couple says.
Based on KALIBER 1, Stefan Kudoke developed a dial-side movement modification that facilitates a 24-hour indication at 12 o’clock. The hand finished movement – KALIBER 1 in version 24H – is visible through the display caseback. Moreover, the functionality is beautifully rendered through Stefan Kudoke’s trademark creativity with a stunning hand engraved and domed sky disk indicator plated in three colors on the dial. Although a small golden triangle traces the hours in a 24-hour cycle, even a furtive glance at the generously sized sky disk will intuitively orient the wearer to the time of day or night.
Rather than fade into the background, the other dial elements compliment the featured sky disk. This includes the juxtaposed Roman and Arabic numerals on the rhodium-plated chapter rings. Another eye-catcher is Stefan’s hallmark infinity hour hand. This symbol of time and temporality is delicately recapitulated in the hand-engraved balance bridge on the movement itself. As opposed to the KUDOKE 1 bearing the subsidiary seconds indicator, the KUDOKE 2 expressly decelerates and relaxes the experience of time here with the omission of a seconds hand.
“More than 15 years ago, I said to my wife, ‘I have a crazy idea: I will manufacture my own watches!’” At that time, Stefan Kudoke was a student who had already finished his master-watchmaker’s degree and had worked at renowned brands like Glashütte Original, Breguet, and Blancpain before.
With the founding of his eponymous brand in 2008, Stefan pursued his dream full-time and made a name for himself as a creator of exceptionally artistic hand-skeletonized and hand-engraved timepieces among his KUNSTwerk collection. Of the emergence of his second collection, the HANDwerk line, Stefan explained, “After more than 10 years, I refined my skeletonizing skills to their utmost, and I found myself in a position where I wanted to develop my watchmaking skills further. To use old techniques and keep the practical know-how of traditional watchmaking alive has always been very important to me.” And he brought this to fruition with the first two models of his new collection: KUDOKE 1 & 2.
With his first own movement, Stefan has fulfilled his dream. Valuable lessons were drawn from the old masters, specifically those of the German-English traditional handcraft of precision watchmaking. “During the development of the Kaliber 1, I was inspired by the design of historical English pocket watches whose use of forms I incorporated into my movement. Ages ago I bought an old English pocket watch movement that lay unused in a drawer for a long time. One day it fell into my hands again, just as the idea of Kaliber 1 began to take shape.”
As with his skeleton models, Stefan Kudoke assigns great value to the refinement of watch components by hand. Be it the polishing of edges at bridges or steel parts, the engravings or the surface treatment of the wheel bridge using a special grinding technology – all steps during the finishing process are carried out by hand exclusively. This is how handcrafted pieces of art are created – in small volumes and with great care and attention to detail.
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