Montres KF stands out in the world of Swiss Haute Horlogerie by tailoring its creations to each client’s personal desires… 

Karsten Fraessdorf, a master watchmaker, is at the heart of a revolutionary idea, thanks to his innovative, courageous vision of what contemporary watchmaking should be.

In 2016, the creation of this outstanding brand was like a breath of fresh air for the industry.

Driven by a vision that runs very much against the tide, he takes the customer as the starting point for all his watch designs. Today, the workshop has clearly carved out its own niche in the Swiss fine watchmaking sector.

EI8HT – Calibre Novamag® 01 – manual-winding movement 37.7 mm * 7.4 mm on the barrel bridge, twin barrel, index-free balance-spring with Grossman internal curve and Phillips external curve, reinforced anti-magnetism, 42 sapphires, Spirograph® balance adjustment by inertia and thermocompensation.

All KF timepieces are created with authentic expertise that dares to be modern, while celebrating the past. Their watches all come with ‘Made in La Chaux-de-Fonds’ being 100% developed, produced and assembled

in the KF workshops in the town. 

What really makes this brand stand out from the others is the fact that they can develop any calibre and are able to give clients complete freedom and absolute creativity in terms of original design. 

The result is a resolutely horological approach that carries the echoes of eternity while reflecting the personality of each individual owner.

Karsten Fraessdorf the man who made the bespoke only concept a reality.

We meet with Karsten Fraessdorf, the candyman of watchmaking who’ll make your every dream come true.

© Karine Bauzin

How did Montres KF come to be? What’s the positioning concept for the high-end watchmaking market?

The brand was founded in 2016 and named after its creator, Karsten Fraessdorf, who revolutionised fine watch making by creating timepieces that are truly unique, each one created by the imagination of our clients, to whom we give ‘carte blanche’. We give them whatever they want, from A to Z: we can add a personalisation to an existing model or build a completely unique timepiece. We’ve overturned the general trend by making timepieces fully customizable by the client, the starting point of all our creations. 

Exclusivity is at the heart of all our creations, given that each piece is unique by definition, be it in its conception or the methods used to make it. That’s the ‘artisan’ spirit that you’ll find at the workshop in La Chaux-de-Fonds, the cradle of watchmaking and a town listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, because of the way watchmaking influenced its urban design and architecture.

More than a philosophy, KF is the creator of the bespoke only concept.

What is the difference between your offer for the men’s market and the women’s, especially given the growing interest women are showing in more complex watches?

Montres KF strongly believes and respects diversity. We’ve noticed a growing interest in fine watchmaking regardless of culture or gender. Women today are as curious and passionate as men as far as fine watchmaking is concerned. 

They are a whole category in their own right, which we cater for with especially dedicated events. Apart from that, we make no distinction between genders in the messages we want to convey to our customers.

KF takes watch customization to the limit.

Can you tell us about it?

Above all else the KF philosophy is authentic expertise, inspired by chronometry, and to bring a breath of fresh air into contemporary watchmaking. We can confirm this by the number of patents we’ve filed. There’s a ‘Made in La Chaux-de-Fonds’ for watches that are 100% developed, produced and assembled in the KF workshop. So we’re talking about a exclusive watchmaker capable of developing any type of watch while giving customer’s absolute creative freedom to make any innovation they please.

Our watches come in three categories. The first is a collection of a few unique pieces created and built in our workshop. They are available at the collector events we organise, or can be purchased through a few exclusive partners, such as the jeweller Windeshausen in Luxembourg (Bertrange).

Alongside these pieces created and built in our workshop, we offer customers the chance to build their watch from a large catalogue of options. In this category we offer a lot more than just choosing a colour for the bracelet, or getting it engraved. As master of the production, the customer can choose the pattern of the movement plate they can see on the back of the watch, as well as the pattern on the dial we produce ourselves. We’ve got a few nice anecdotes about this category. For example, one of our clients ordered a watch exactly to his taste, then his wife not only wore it asked us to make some changes in order to make it more to her taste. It’s an ongoing process with no limit on time or creativity. 

You can apply the idea to a legacy watch to pass down to future generations, making it possible to wear your father’s watch in a version adapted to your own taste is something our clients appreciate.

Lastly, customers can choose to create their timepiece from scratch with no technical limitations. This category has not limits at all. The customer can choose the decoration of the watch (so its design) as well as the movement, including its level of complexity. This third category is of course the option that takes longest and costs the most, but in love, money is no object …

What’s your distribution strategy? Are you going to continue exclusively with bespoke watches through specific collaborations in Monaco, Geneva, etc … or are you thinking of expanding on a larger scale?

Our production is extremely exclusive because of the type of product we offer. There are people who love our watches all over the world and we want to provide them with the right support and service. We work with a very limited number of retailers and partners whose philosophy is similar to ours. Our service in Europe is provided by the jeweller Windeshausen in Luxembourg. Very soon the Middle East will also be catered for, then after that will come Asia and finally America.

At the same time, we are always meeting up with our clients, and them with us: a home visit, visit to the workshop, events, and the like.  There again, we’re just promoting our ‘artisan’ spirit. Simply because of the type of product KF provides, we’ll always be close to our customers, directly or indirectly, and keep in touch.

EI8HT – Beyond bespoke

They say time is a great storyteller, but imagine if you could tell your own story with your watch. The latest model from Montres KF, EI8TH, perfectly embodies the manufacturer’s concept of ‘bespoke only’. 

Montres KF are specialists in custom fine watches. On their latest model, EI8HT, the complication can be completely personalised so the watch becomes your watch, a unique work of art reflecting the personality of its owner. The typeface, dial motifs, the movement decoration, the spirograph® balance, the crown and even the choice of the SYNC folding clasp bracelet are all down to you.

The new tourbillon mechanism is housed in a distinctive multifaceted octagonal case, giving the timepiece both a sporting and classical feel at the same time. This versatile design offers infinite possibilities in terms of jewel settings or polishing. Taking things even further, you can choose the colour of the hands and the Arabic numerals gracing the dial, all produced in-house.

EI8HT – Calibre Novamag® 02 – manual-winding movement 35.8 mm * 6.8 mm on the barrel bridge, index-free balance-spring with Grossman internal curve and Phillips external curve, reinforced anti-magnetism, 41 sapphires, Spirograph® balance adjustment by inertia and thermocompensation.

We’ve established that the front of your watch will be one of a kind, something that attracts attention and has a story behind it, but Montres KF don’t neglect the back either: you’ll be able to admire the movement through a transparent sapphire crystal caseback, and just so you don’t miss a thing, the mechanism is actually built on pillars to ensure a close fit with the caseback itself.

From a technical standpoint, the EI8HT features a one-minute tourbillon mechanism, double-gasket crown-based shock absorbing system, a balance-stop device and a Spirograph® balance based on five patents owned by Montres KF. 

In a world where individuality is now paramount, Montres KF offers the opportunity to stand out from the crowd and to really make a statement about yourself. With no limits, just let your mind run free and start making time count.