Kerbedanz Watches (Est. 2008 -11) In just a decade, Kerbedanz has established itself as a brand that offers discerning customers highly exclusive, unique timepieces or strictly limited editions that drip symbolism. Kerbedanz is a marriage of Swiss watchmaking and jewelry craftsmanship. Its founder and president, Tigran Kerbedanz, chose the name “Kerbedanz” to honor an ancestor.
“Kerbedanz” has a double meaning signifying leader and precursor. Precursor in the concept and values attached to the product and also a leader in that its models, which are unique or created in very limited editions, evoke universes unexplored by traditional watchmaking.
Kerbedanz literally means “forerunner.” This idea of being a pioneer pervades all aspects of the brand’s identity, from the design stage to manufacturing and finishing.
On the brand’s official website, it states, “Guardian of a family tradition, Tigran Kerbedanz, president and founder of KERBEDANZ, exceeds the mere creation of a brand; by instituting his name in the original cradle of watchmaking excellence, [it] pays tribute to his ancestor, a respected blacksmith, renowned for his wonderful ability to shape the metal as well as his legendary generosity. The fame of this craftsman, due to his love for well done work and quality of his soul, exceeded the borders of his region. The antique clocks he repaired increased his reputation. Etymologically, the name “Kerbedanz” which means, “the heirs of Karabed”, contains the meaning of Leader and Precursor. These predestined dimensions fit within the current vision of the brand.”
The motto of Kerbedanz is “Giving sense to beauty”. The brand goes back to the sources of civilizations and searches for human values that erected them, surrounded by the allegories or the mysteries of symbolism.
Kerbedanz timepieces are works of art. The design is everywhere from the case to the movement, from the dials to the clasp.
Masters of micro-sculpture, working many hours with precise dexterity that only human hands can create, lets its experts to design and produce forms in volume; it could be in low-relief, relief in hollow, high relief or in ronde-bosse, by modelling, in direct carving in hollow or relief, by welding, or by mechanical assembly.
The bas-relief is a sculpture or modeling projecting on a background to which it belongs and by which it seems detached yet can be painted. The peculiarity of the bas-relief is to present only low relief. The subject is represented from the bottom. The bas-reliefs can be executed in terracotta, stone, marble, ivory, wood, and all kinds of metals, jewelry, and precious stones. They can be isolated and set in medallions, hollows or other architectural elements.
Used in watches, jewelry and silverware the bas-relief shows extremely fine reliefs sometimes reaching only a few tenths of a millimeter thick (or even only a tenth of a millimeter) on medals, cameos and some watches.
The high relief is a technique of sculpture in three dimensions, intermediate between the sculpture in round and bas-relief. The sculpture emerges very clearly from the bottom.
Ronde-bosse is a sculpture technique in three dimensions, which, unlike the high reliefs and bas-reliefs, is not physically attached to a bottom, but is placed on a base. It is observable from any angle.
Cameo is a sculpture technique in bas-relief, also used by some engravers, and applied primarily on materials with layers of contrasting colors or shades. The process takes advantage of the structure by showing the colors at desired locations to create desired shapes.
When it comes to customization, Kerbedanz goes about as far it can with its watches. After the client has an initial meeting with the company’s chief design officer and its symbolist—a master of historic symbols of mythology, astrology, and the like—a unique design is crafted that can employ a broad range of traditional techniques, including cloisonné enameling and high-relief engraving.
From the initial mockup, both the movement and case are then designed to suit the overall concept. Though Kerbedanz’s movements are manufactured by its high-caliber partners (Technotime and Concepto), the custom build process can take between eight and 10 weeks, as every bit of finishing as well as the case and dial manufacturing are completed in-house. To maximize its responsiveness to client wishes, the firm only works on a single watch at a time.
Notable creative examples include The Tree of Life, a jewelry anthem to immortality, symbolized by the tree after which it is named. Framed by a case entirely set with green emeralds, a hand-sculpted gold tree adorns the green enameled dial. The scene is suffused with the light of sparkling diamonds. The dainty chatons embedded into the gold and enamel are the fruits of the tree. Kerbedanz also decorated the original Technotime base calibre with equally meticulous care. When created, it was a 41-piece limited series.
Also in a limited edition of 41 is the Celtic Dog model dedicated to a symbolic figure of Celtic mythology that embodies the hunter or warrior. In Kerbedanz’s modern interpretation, the dog is depicted in relief on a solid white-gold layered dial with a layer of blue enamel. Beneath the dial is an exclusive KRB-01 in-house tourbillon calibre also developed in conjunction with Technotime. The unusual configuration of the movement within the case puts the winding crown at 1:30 and the tourbillon at 7:30 o’clock.
The Ketzacoatl is the model which Kerbedanz entered in the International Chronometry Competition in 2013. Shock-proofing solutions such as a dial without feet, anti-magnetic protection, a shock-absorbing casing ring, and the use of special alloys set this model apart. Its name evokes a Meso-American god, the feathered snake, depictions of which are found at the ancient site of Teotihuacán.
Kerbedanz made waves in 2017 with the announcement of the Kerbedanz Maximus that contained what the brand claimed was the world’s largest tourbillon housed in a wristwatch. In 2018, the timepiece returned to challenge standard sized tourbillons with its 27-mm diameter titanium tourbillon cage. Building a tourbillon of this size required a total reimagining of movement construction. This was in part possible thanks to the use of titanium in the tourbillon cage that allowed the tourbillon to complete its rotation despite its size thanks to an overall lighter weight.
The brand’s Polvs Arcticus Double Tourbillon GMT is dedicated to the age of discovery, meaning that in addition to elaborately telling the time, it features miniature spheres that “celebrate the scientists and explorers of the past and offers a view of astronomy, maritime horizons, and technical feats.”
The manually wound movement has 341 parts and boasts a northern and southern tourbillon with microscopic cages made up of 80 components, each covered by two hemispheres. It’s all packaged in a 50 millimetre, white-gold case enhanced by 6.27 carats of diamonds. It is decorated with sculpted seafaring motifs from navigation instruments and an ancient galleon with translucent 0.1 millimetre-thick blue enamel applied to the northern hemisphere. Gold has been used for the southern hemisphere’s meticulous design.
There is also the Kerbedanz “Tribute to the United States of America,” made in 2017 in honor of the “country of free enterprise.” The dial is a gold bas-relief of a blue globe with the United States depicted in yellow gold in the center along with the bald eagle at 12 o’clock. It is designed, manufactured and hand decorated in house. Instead of hour markers there are compass points with the initials for north, south, east and west in yellow gold. The caseback of the watch has a depiction of Mount Rushmore where four presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln are immortalized into the granite cliff in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The watch is powered by the Caliber KRB-03 automatic movement with a 120-hour power reserve. It is available in a limited edition of 50 pieces, referencing the 50 states.
Each Kerbedanz timepiece is a concentrate that transforms the wearer’s wrist into an emitter rich in symbols. Since the brand practices personalization to the extreme, each contains a secret personal message. With aesthetic coherence and architectural balances, the brand’s creations are masterpieces that truly give meaning to beauty.