A few months ago I received an email from a gentleman called Daniel Rincón Hanna. He coordinates all the marketing for a company called Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants (or AHCI for short). Subsequently we had a Skype meeting to discuss the possibility of me writing some in depth articles about some of the independent watchmakers. The fact is I have already featured several of the members including Konstantin Chaykin, Thomas Prescher, Vianney Halter, Bernard Lederer, Masahiro Kikuno, François-Paul Journe, Aniceto Jiménez Pita and Valerii Danevych. I have also written editorials about AHCI Candidates Eva Lube and Hajime Asaoka. Hopefully in the near future I will showcase the talents of many more of these ateliers.
Over the last year I have written about many different brands from around the world. Bexei Watches has been a member of AHCI since 2009 and is the first Hungarian label I have featured on Total Watch Reviews. The company is the brainchild of Budapest born 35-year old atelier Aaron Becsei. As a 3rd-Generation watchmaker he is meticulous in detail and manufactures all the components of his watches by hand. Although all his timepieces are beautifully crafted, his most spectacular creation is the sublime Primus.
Even though the Primus was released in 2009 it is still Aaron Bexei’s highest profile and most ambitious creation. Dimensionally the timepiece measures 46mm x 38mm x 17.9mm excluding the crown and lugs. Ultimately these proportions should appeal to discerning collectors and are large enough to make a bold statement. Although I haven’t personally tried on this watch I have reviewed similar size models by Greubel Forsey, Vacheron Constantin and Jaeger Le Coultre. For that reason I feel this watch would sit comfortably on the wrist. Primarily this is down to the elegant case design and choice of opulent 18-karat white gold in production.
Visually the Primus has an exceptionally luxurious and striking appearance. What makes this watch so magnificent is the three dimensional multi layered façade. The hand engraved dial base has an extraordinary amount of intricate detail and perfectly interacts with the white gold case. I absolutely love the large aperture (located at 9 o’clock) displaying the incredible tri-axial tourbillon. There is also a sapphire crystal window on the side of the watch, which offers the recipient an intimate view of the mechanism. Hours, minutes and seconds are cleverly presented on three separate gold sub dials. This gives the timepiece a really distinctive and unique aesthetic. Overall the composition is delightful and the finishing superlative.
At the heart of the watch is a highly complicated patented manual winding triple axis tourbillon movement. This phenomenal mechanism employs jewel bearing (instead of ball bearings) for optimum performance. Aaron Becsei has handcrafted all of the components including the gears, pinions, bridges, wheels and screws in his own workshop in Budapest. Functionally the Primus features hours, minutes, seconds and retrograde power reserve indication.
The Primus is limited to only 9 pieces and has a hand sewn alligator strap with matching handmade 18-karat white gold buckle. Priced at €400,000 (approximately $543,516).