Kudoke 2 "Zodiac" SJX Edition
As a multi-faceted profession, there are numerous inspirations behind watchmaking. For many, the path is guided by mechanical appreciation, while for others, the emotion and artistic potential of something as intrinsically humble as a wristwatch is all it takes. For Stefan Kudoke, while his technical proficiency was championed at Glashütte Original before stints working on Breguet, Blancpain, and Omega, the art of engraving is the backbone of his eponymous manufacture. At just 22, he was awarded the Master Craftsman Certificate, and in 2005, he began Kudoke with a simple aim: manufacture beautiful watches with a small, passionate team. Today, Kudoke's DNA is split into two different parts: the 'Kunstwerk' collection and the 'Handwerk'. Translated to English, 'work of art' and 'handcraft' respectively, these two sides to the brand speak to Stefan's passion for traditional watchmaking and the true artisanal drive behind skeletonised and highly engraved pieces.
Inspired by 19th-century pocket watch movements, in 2018, Kudoke announced a new proprietary calibre called the Kaliber 1 that would form the base of the Kudoke 1 & 2 that followed one year later. Representing a departure from the elaborate engravings of 'Kunstwerk' creations, these watches were more aligned with tradition. In 2019, the Kudoke 2 won the prestigious prize of ‘Petite Aiguille’ at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) in Geneva. This monumental win wasn't just significant for the brand but for the industry as a whole, with Kudoke becoming the first German independent watchmaker to take home a prize.
Founded by Jiaxian SU in 2011, SJX is an online publication that specialises in reporting on watches across the entire spectrum of horology. In 2021, they celebrated their 10th anniversary, and to mark the occasion, they worked with Kudoke on a very special take on the Kudoke 2 model. Limited to just 21 pieces, the Kudoke 2 "Zodiac" blends both sides of the manufacturer's lineup thanks to SJX's appreciation of the 'Kunstwerk' collection by introducing an incredibly detailed hand-engraved dial.
The art of good collaboration should see the marriage of beliefs and appreciations coming together to form a balanced snapshot of the parties involved. There's an emphasis on the word 'art' in that sentence, as for every successful watch collaboration, there's a selection that often feels like they miss the mark - this Kudoke 2 Zodiac SJX Edition Two is a brilliant example of the former. Created to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the renowned online watch SJX, this special edition of the Kudoke 2 blends the two cornerstones of the German manufacturer, all thanks to mutual appreciation. For the first time in its history, the Kudoke 2 features an all-titanium case construction measuring 39mm and complete with a polished finish to the top of the lugs and stepped bezel, while the midcase carries a brushed grain. It's a straightforward, contemporary-sized affair with a 'K' signed onion-style crown at three.
Aside from titanium, the dial is where the unique nature and name of the 'Zodiac' truly comes into its own. In the true spirit of collaboration, SJX approached Canadian watch designer and illustrator Lee Yuen-Rapati (@onehourwatch) to produce a custom zodiac numeral set to be hand-engraved by Stefan Kudoke. The result is a multi-textured dial with a dark grey-grained centre complete with a large relief engraved chapter ring that houses uniquely custom-designed zodiac signs incorporating pictorial Roman numerals.
"While I could rely on conventions from the rich history of Roman numerals being used on timepieces to inform my own design, the zodiac symbols offer very little precedence," says Yuen-Rapati. "The symbols are quite inconsistent in their construction which posed another problem, I didn't want the dial to look too messy. Once the building blocks were in place, I broke away from the guidelines where necessary to ensure each emblem felt balanced in its width and detail. While the numerals generally fall within the symbols, there is not a specific hierarchy as to which is more important, they are meant to work in synergy. This project pushes the boundaries of horological typography and is a shining instance of collaborative design within the industry."
The nuances within the dial don't end there, as the individuality of the brand's proprietary infinity hand design remains. Finally, a hand-engraved 24-hour display is housed at 12, with the Aries symbol being present on the disk. Encapsulating Kudoke's artistic and technical proficiency while welcoming external thoughts and ideas, the Kudoke 2 "Zodiac" delivers a fusion of industrial rawness with the ultimate in hand-created art and partnership.
Powering the Kudoke 2 "Zodiac" is the Kaliber 1. Developed with the assistance of fellow independent watchmaker Habring², the movement features an entirely custom finish and represents the first time hand engraving can be found throughout the movement of a Kudoke. Once again, Yuen Rapati's skills were utilised to design the motif throughout the 3/4 bridge.
"I wanted to build upon the astrological theme from the hour emblems. The concept of incorporating planetary rulership sparked inspiration. Each zodiac sign has its ruling planet, and since the movement essentially controls what we see, it made conceptual sense to have the zodiac symbols on the dial working as domiciles to the movement", recalls Yuen-Rapati.
The fundamental architecture of the Kaliber 1 is based upon the Valjoux 7750, but due to the extensive nature of the movement's execution and modification, it stands on its own, independent feet. The movement has a frequency of 28,800 vph and holds 46 hours of power.
How It Wears
Light in weight yet substantial in detail, the Kudoke 2 "Zodiac" is an excellent example of how watchmaking tradition can move with the times and not be left in the past. At 39mm wide with a case height of 10.7mm, the watch has a striking wrist presence, and due to its titanium realisation and incredibly nuanced dial engraving, the speciality of the piece doesn't wane. Bold, impactful, and noteworthy - the Kudoke 2 "Zodiac" is a special piece, punching far higher than its price point would suggest.
The Kudoke 2 "Zodiac" SJX Edition Two is presented in fantastic condition and is sold as a complete full set. The watch is fitted to its original hand-stitched grey Alcantara strap and includes its original titanium pin buckle.
If you desire to take a closer look at this precious timepiece, don't hesitate to contact us and make an appointment. We are based in Ghent, Belgium.
No stock kept on site
* Every watch is delivered in a Mr WATCHLEY Membrane Protection Box for a safe transportation in addition to its original set *
|Kudoke 2 "Zodiac"
|Original Kudoke strap