With Art Basel kicking off this week in Miami Beach, it’s fitting that I just learned about a new company that creates modern art sculptures incorporating vintage watch parts.
Founded in 2014 and introduced to the U.S. market in September, Berd Vaye is the brainchild of creators Eduard (“Eddie”) Kurayev and Albert Akbashev, childhood friends and New York City–based watch dealers who began the company as a hobby and decided to expand it when they began getting inquiries from customers interested in the intriguing art sculptures that decorated their office.
Crammed with 50- to 100-year-old mostly Swiss-made parts, from hairsprings to pinions to wheels, encased in the shatter-resistant resin known as Lucite, the spheres, cubes, and skulls that comprise the Berd Vaye range are made in North America.
Lost in Time skulls, large and small, $5,900 and $2,700, respectively
Industry veteran Steven Cohen, former brand manager of Glashütte Original, joined the company earlier this fall and has already landed the up-and-coming brand in 15 of the country’s finer watch and jewelry stores, including London Jewelers, Manfredi, Feldmar Watch, Hamilton Jewelers, Westime, and Yamron Jewelers.
“It’s a different world today; retailers don’t need more watches,” Cohen says. “It was clear I had to develop something that wasn’t a watch. There really is nothing like this in the market. A typical watch guy has plenty of watches, so what do you give him? This is turning out to be a great gift item.”
The collection currently includes just seven SKUs: small and large versions of the “Horosphere” sphere and “Time Squared” cube ($2,900 for the smalls, $5,900 for the larges); small and large versions of the “Lost in Time” skull ($2,700 and $5,900, respectively); and a large frame measuring 26 x 26 x 1.5 inches and retailing for $6,500.
Time Squared, small cube; $2,900
The framed sculpture, dubbed “Time Framed,” is limited to 250 pieces, while the rest are available in limited editions of 999 pieces. Each sculpture requires three to four weeks to produce, including gathering, disassembling, and cleaning the vintage parts.
Time Framed large frame; $6,500
“We have to give these parts a second chance,” says Kurayev.
To which I can only agree: What better way for someone to memorialize his or her love of horology than by suspending its bits and pieces in perpetuity?
(At top: Horosphere, small sphere; $2,900; berdvaye.com)