Stefan Kudoke, a 30 year old German watchmaker, is gaining a global following for his one-of-a-kind watches. He uses a technique called “skeletonising” that is so complicated that he’s able to produce only 50 watches per year. This technique requires time-consuming drilling and sawing with teeny tiny tools. What this does is expose the inside workings of the watch, which is why it’s like looking at a labyrinthine.
Kudoke works out of his parent’s home and people from around the world have begun to come visit him there to watch him create his watches, of which about 80 have been sold aboard. Kudoke has the Internet to thank for this, since most of his buyers are American and Japanese. Each watch, which are engraved and encrusted with jewels, sells for about €3,500 euros or $5,000 dollars.
Kudoke fell in love with watchmaking when he was in the 10th grade and began an apprenticeship in his hometown of Brandenburg. At 21 he began working for the well-known German manufacturer, Glashütte Original, and after that did stints in the service department for Breguet, Blancpain and Omega in New York, before moving onto the Swiss Swatch Group with a job customer services. He left that job to pursue a spot at the Lusatia craft school in Senftenberg to begin perfecting his technique and skills to be able to create his own watches.
“I had a vision – I wanted to stand on my own two feet in the luxury watch market,” said the 30-year old.
As all other people and companies in the luxury goods market, Kudoke is waiting for the economic crisis to pass before he expands his one-man business. As for now, his growing fan base will have to join his online waiting list.