Kerbedanz The birth of a brand
A look at the brief history of an up and coming watch brand.
A visit to the head office of Kerbedanz in Neuchâtel reinforces the notion that this relatively new brand does things a little differently. It’s not the only watch brand to be found in Neuchâtel, rather than the surrounding valley in La Chaux-de-Fonds and Le Locle, since HYT, Bulgari and Panerai are all based there. Kerbedanz, however, probably has the best view of them all, with its balcony directly looking across Lake Neuchâtel to the Swiss Alps in the distance. It’s a perfectly bucolic spot for Chief Designer Aram Petrosyan to dream up his latest creations and develop his own unique interpretations of engraving and enamelling.
Aram Petrosyan, Chief Designer of Kerbedanz © Kerbedanz
It has taken Kerbedanz seven years to get here. Aside from using its own movements, the company also produces many of the components used in its watches. The infrastructure was first put in place in 2011-2012 and includes two CNC machines for case production (Kerbedanz has the luxury of producing a single case if necessary – something that no major watch brand could do). It started out producing special orders for ultra-high-net-worth customers before presenting its first collection to the public at Baselworld in 2014. Despite the exodus by major brands, Kerbedanz will be at Baselworld next year, too. “We are a small company and we still need it,” says Kalust Zorik, the company’s Chief Marketing Officer.
Black Tree of Life © Kerbedanz
Because Kerbedanz controls pretty much all of the conception and production of a watch in-house, it is in the enviable position of being able to produce bespoke watches in just eight weeks from the approved design to the finished product. This is a legacy of the brand’s origins working with discreet and extremely wealthy people who want to offer unique gifts but aren’t prepared to wait months for them. And when we say bespoke, we mean genuine bespoke. That period of eight weeks is not the time it takes to produce a personalised dial based on an existing design or an existing case, it is the time it takes to design and produce a completely new watch from scratch. Few, if any, watch manufacturers can offer such a service.
The Maximus tourbillon © Kerbedanz
Having proved itself in the world of bespoke watch design and production, Kerbedanz moved on to establish its credentials among the big names in watchmaking, showing its capacities for artistic handcrafts (with the Tree of Life model) and, more recently, with the Maximus tourbillon, which has the world’s biggest tourbillon carriage beating at the very centre of the dial. Both collections have steadily grown since their inception and form a core collection which, crucially, give it some breath-taking products to show off in store windows. After all, the only downside with producing secretive unique pieces and limited production runs for discreet customers is that nobody other than the buyer ever gets to see them!