Akrivia Tourbillon Chiming Jump Hour: Manifest Destiny Or Gut Feeling?
After discovering something incredible, have you ever said to yourself, “Whoa, this is gonna be big!?!”
There is a moment following a startling discovery when a person is presented with a life-changing fact. Let’s take the Post-It, for example: it is conceivable that at some point the guy who invented those little sticky pieces of ubiquitous paper took a step back and realized the magnitude of what he had created basically using un-sticky glue on little colored pieces of paper.
It could be as small as noticing something specific in a television show that will come back to play a major role in the entire franchise, or something as large as hearing about a sudden national tragedy and immediately seeing the seeds of the next world war being sown.
The unknowable knowledge, the premonition, the gut feeling: this comes in many different guises. And they all share one thing: a clear and definite shift in consciousness.
Nothing is going to be the same
This happened to me a couple years ago when I was scrolling through Instagram. I stumbled across a photo of a watch I had never seen before, and it looked incredible.
It was a new watch so I clicked through and started following the then unknown-to-me maker, a small Swiss brand with one watch and some great photos of the movement. Since I followed the brand, Instagram suggested others to follow, which meant I was soon following a pair of brothers that I now know to be the men behind the brand.
That brand was the creation of one of the brothers, Rexhep Rexhepi, and it is called Akrivia. Once I followed them things started to become really interesting.
Within a couple months I had really started to dig what I was seeing, especially the behind-the-scenes shots. Then one day in early 2014 I was scrolling through my feed and noticed a new behind the scenes post from Xhevdet, Rexhep’s brother. It was a photo of a prototype for a chime-in-passing mechanism powered by the minute hand.
The mechanism consisted of a tri-lobed snail cam, hammer with extended tail, hammer bridge, hammer spring, and a single gong.
And it was awesome.
What’s more, the post immediately following that photograph was a video of the complication in action. It only took one viewing of that short clip to completely shift my view of the future. I knew that this, coupled with what I had seen in the first Akrivia timepiece, spelled good things for the future.
The beginning exposure
Jump forward to November 2014 when that mechanism was certainly behind the inspiration for a new watch seen in the Akrivia Instagram feed previewing at SalonQP 2014. The chime-in-passing mechanism idea had been combined with a tourbillon and (making me very happy) a jump hour mechanism. It’s appropriately called the Tourbillon Chiming Jump Hour.
The 2015 SIHH arrived, and Akrivia showcased its wares at an independent exhibition where the piece was getting a lot of exposure. Sadly, I missed my chance to see it then, and it became the unicorn in my watch world. I saw the Chiming Jump Hour getting more and more recognition and I realized that it was becoming the object that I knew was possible the moment I first saw a prototype mechanism on my Instagram feed.
My gut instinct was actually manifesting in the real world.
The Tourbillon Chiming Jump Hour is much more, however, than “just” a fleshed-out version of that idea; it is a bonfire born of a spark. The original mechanism was created for a watchmaking competition, but the idea couldn’t be contained. The mechanism is clearly a different beast now, given that it simultaneously powers a jump hour mechanism and the entire layout bears no resemblance to the original.
What do we have here?
There still is a snail cam, but it isn’t directly attached to the minute hand staff. It is located off-center and pushes on a less-than-simple lever assembly. This lever assembly has two actuator arms, a spring, and the cam follower finger all doing different jobs simultaneously. First, the cam follower finger is mounted in a way that allows it to slightly rotate with the previously mentioned spring keeping it under tension.
This spring appears to help the cam follower finger snap free from the snail cam at the appropriate time, assuring a full release and a solid strike of the gong. The actuator arms are rigidly mounted to the lever assembly to maintain rigidity in the jump hour and strike actions.
One arm pulls the hammer back as the lever is lifted by the snail cam. The hammer is pulled into position during the last ten minutes of the hour so the look of the hammer aperture is consistent through most of the hour.
The second actuator arm is much shorter, just long enough to snap the jump hour disc to the next position. It all works seamlessly together to create a chime and jump that occur simultaneously and instantaneously. On the opposite side of the jump hour disk and hammer lies another mechanism that allows the user to silence the chime-in-passing. It’s based off a column wheel setup that switches a silencer arm back and forth into position.
In the silence position it is pushing the hammer into a fully raised position and locking it there so the actuator arm cannot interact with it.
This arm also appears in the hammer aperture with a symbol of a silenced bell on it indicating that the chime will not chime. This does not affect the striking lever assembly, is simply brings the hammer out of its reach.
Incredibly, this isn’t where the coolness ends.
Tourbillon, but of course
Like every other Akrivia timepiece, it includes a beautifully delicate tourbillon whirling away at 6 o’clock. The Akrivia tourbillons are already becoming known for their fine cages and slender profiles, and the balance wheels inside share these characteristics. It also extends to most of the wheels in the rest of the movement.
Lightness definitely seems to be a hallmark of an Akrivia movement.
It also shows that consideration is put into all aspects of the movement design. With all the complications running up the center of the watch, the mechanical layout could normally end up looking somewhat random, but this movement was designed so that, from the rear, the gear train is perfectly symmetrical and easy to look at.
I love complicated mechanisms that require multiple views to fully grasp all of the details, but sometimes it’s just so delightful to gaze upon something aesthetically pleasing with ease.
Even the bridges, apertures, and case details were considered enough to reduce the amount of searching that is required to visually understanding the watch. It just looks so dang balanced.
On a side note, one of my favorite details, which quite possibly was not intended, is the shape of the hammer aperture, which remarkably resembles a bell turned upside down, similar to the small handheld bells one might have used to call the wait staff in Victorian times, which I find highly appropriate. And now that form cradles a different kind of bell: the chime-in-passing gong.
That gong also strays from tradition thanks to the requirements for the movement layout, being a shorter square gong that snakes its way through the movement where there is room. Instead of wrapping around the outside of the movement as is so often done, it follows in some other makers’ footprints by creating a gong that fits between components like a secret.
The Breguet Tradition 7087 Minute Repeater showcases gongs designed this way, but Akrivia chooses to let that feat stay hidden, maintaining the visual cleanliness.
Clearly this watch is a thing to be reckoned with. And judging by the amount of press the Tourbillon Chiming Jump Hour has gotten, as well as all the positive reactions, my original premonition when I first saw that prototype mechanism on Instagram has definitely come to pass.
Akrivia is taking the watch game and showing that with a little help, a bit of family, and a huge helping of talent, some pretty incredible watches can be the result. I for one am excited about the future of Akrivia, Rexhep, and his brother Xhevdet. They probably know themselves that this is gonna be big!
Let’s break this big deal down!
- Wowza Factor * 9.79 A tourbillon powering a jump hour and chime in passing, all in a form factor that is just so fresh and so clean!
- Late Night Lust Appeal * 105.2 » 1,031.65 m/s2 The sheer force of the late night lust appeal for this watch and the mechanism inside is enough to kill the average human, but a dedicated WIS could definitely survive.
- M.G.R. * 70.15 All you need to do to understand is take a gander at that movement and the mechanisms hidden inside and you will agree this movement definitely deserves to break the big seven-zero!
- Added-Functionitis * Mild (technically) A jump hour and tourbillon aren’t an added function, even though they are awesomazing. So with the chime-in-passing being the only true added function, you will only need regular strength Gotta-HAVE-That cream, even if the watch might make you short of breath.
- Ouch Outline * 12.8 Tripping into a pile of sandburs at the beach! You may call them sand spurs, grass burs, sticker burs, or even buffelgrasses (you know who you are), but most everyone has had the terrible experience of stepping on a few with bare feet. It really only is topped by Legos on the O.M.G. pain index. But to get the Tourbillon Chiming Jump Hour on my wrist I would (hesitantly) fall right into a patch of sandburs and laugh away the pain every chiming hour.
- Mermaid Moment * Ding, it’s later! Any chiming timepiece is an awe-inspiring experience, and having it be subtle and only ding once every hour would be the height of low-key luxury. It would make me want to call the florist to prepare the bouquet!
- Awesome Total * 881 Multiply the number of components in the movement (275) with the water resistance in atmospheres (3 ATM), then add the number of inward beveled and polished angles (66 . . . yeah) to get a seriously infatuating awesome total!
For more information, please visit www.akrivia.com.
Case: 43 x 12.9 mm, stainless steel
Movement: manually winding Caliber AK-04 with one-minute tourbillon
Functions: jump hours, minutes, chime-in-passing with silence function
Price: 210,000 Swiss francs (excluding any taxes)