Move over big-name watch brands, indie watchmakers are the new idols on the scene. Attracting more and more interest by the hour, indies have caught the eye of collectors’ groups which are engaging with talented watchmakers to create unique pieces or limited editions for their members. The idea of owning something only a few individuals will be able to enjoy works perfectly with the limited production capacity of indie watchmakers. The latest collaboration, promoted by the British online luxury watch platform known as The Limited Edition UK, involves German watchmaker Stefan Kudoke. One of the most exciting talents on the scene, Kudoke honours the spirit of the 18th-century watchmaking master Thomas Mudge with period finishing techniques and hand-engraved flourishes on his Kudoke 2 timepiece. Limited to 30 pieces, the Kudoke 2 – British Heritage forges a bridge between British masters and Saxon watchmaking.
Stefan Kudoke, whom we featured in our article the “Coolest Non-Swiss Indie Watchmakers”, was born in Frankfurt, trained as a watchmaker in Glashütte, the Saxon cradle of German watchmaking, and now operates from his workshop on the outskirts of Dresden. A prodigious talent, he obtained the Master Craftsman Certificate at 22 and went on to work in the complications department of Glashütte Original and the service departments of Breguet, Blancpain and Omega. Renowned for his intricate skeletonised and hand-engraved mechanical pieces (KUNTSwerk collection) and bespoke pieces (YOURwerk), Kudoke’s HANDwerk collection is home to the more classical Kudoke 1 and Kudoke 2. Inspired by historical English pocket watch movements, Kudoke uses a variety of techniques like grenage to hand-decorate the dials as well as the bridges and plates of the movement.
In 2019, Kudoke took home the Petite Aiguille prize at the GPHG for his Kudoke 2. Interpreted with a night-themed dial (Nocturne), a green dial (Grüner Wald) and a deep blue dial, the latest Kudoke 2 made for The Limited Edition reveals a golden frosted dial and a stunning hand-decorated movement.
The case and dial
Presented in a partially brushed 39mm stainless steel case (the standard watch has a fully polished case) with a restrained height of 10.7mm and an onion crown, the Kudoke 2 – British Heritage flaunts a refined grenage surface, a decorative technique favoured by English watchmakers in the 18th century. According to information posted by The Limited Edition on Instagram, the dial is the result of “four different trials to obtain the soft spot, the perfect pattern similar to the typical décor presented by British masters in the past.” If you are interested in the technique behind grenage, don’t miss this article dedicated to Urban Jürgensen’s interpretation of grenage.
The domed day/night disc at noon rotates in a 24-hour cycle and is entirely engraved by hand. Representing the golden Sun and the Moon surrounded by silver stars, a solitary golden star indicates the time of day on the applied peripheral scale. The applied rhodium-plated chapter ring has a matte satin finish and displays blue lacquered Roman numerals at III, VI and IX along with dots, details that underscore its British character. The hour hand, with a tip shaped like an infinity symbol, and the minute hand are made in steel and blued by hand. Like other Kudoke 2 models, the brand name is placed on an appliqué in the lower half of the dial, and the word ‘Germany’ is printed just above the 6 o’clock marker.
Developed by Stefan Kudoke, the manual-winding Kaliber 1- 24H is the result of a partnership with Habring2 and shares some parts with the Austrian’s A11 movement. However, the execution is very different and is constructed in the symmetrical style of historical British pocket watches with a central balance cock – as opposed to the lateral balance cock found in Saxon watches. Beating at a brisk 28,800vph, the movement delivers a 46-hour power reserve.
The hand-engraved movement is nothing short of spectacular and is inspired by the decorative flourishes on some of the clocks and pocket watches created by Thomas Mudge. Delicate floral motifs punctuated with rubies reveal Stefan Kudoke’s mastery of the art. Dividing the lavishly decorated bridge is the finger-like balance cock with a frosted surface and polished anglage.
Availability & Price
The Kudoke 2 – British Heritage comes with a hand-stitched stone grey Alcantara strap with a pin buckle and an additional blue Alcantara strap. The quick-release spring bars allow you to switch between straps with no tools. Limited to 30 numbered pieces – 10 in 2022, 10 in 2023 and 10 in 2024 -the watch will be available on The Limited Edition platform and retails for GBP 10,700 (excl. tax). The brand’s website features a wide selection of Stefan Kudoke watches, and the Instagram site mentions that the watch can be pre-reserved via Whatsapp.