Sculptures that “show the beauty of each watch”
âWe wanted to preserve history. Eduard Kurayev was talking about Berd Vay’e, the company that he and Albert Akbashev, a friend from their high school days in New York City, founded in 2014. “We wanted to show the world the beauty of every watch.”
The company hangs vintage watch parts from Lucite, creating limited edition sculptures that sell for between $ 3,500 and $ 49,000 at 50 stores across the United States, Dubai and Hong Kong – and on the next section of e-commerce of the company’s website when it was launched. later this fall. (At Sotheby’s Important Watches auction in June in New York City, “Sign Of The Times”, which contained up to 2,500 pieces of watches in a Lucite skull, sold for $ 17,640.)
Any sculpture can hold over a thousand pieces of floating watches. But not just any old coin qualifies.
Sitting recently in a beer garden in Manhattan, where Berd Vay’e (pronounced BIRD VAI-yay) is located, Mr. Kurayev pulled out two watch barrels from a wooden case. One barrel was ordinary stainless steel, dull and unremarkable. “It has no character,” he said disdainfully.
The other was in gold and detailed with tiny ridges. âThis one has a great finish,â he said. “This one, I’m keeping it. “
The creation of a sculpture begins with such pieces. âFirst there is the taking of the watch,â said Mr. Kurayev, 42, âthen take it apart, sort the parts and come up with a sketch and design, which can take a good month.â
Mr Kurayev said he found the parts online and in person – on watch forums, on eBay and through Ohio watch dealers, watchmakers and watch service centers at the Ukraine. âThese are coins that were melted down for their gold,â he said. “Now, instead, we are preserving them.”
Although the company does not share its revenue figures, it said it sold around 400 sculptures in the first eight months of 2021.
Berd Vay’e has 20 employees and, for production, she works with a workshop in Quebec where artisans coat selected pieces in up to 10 layers of Lucite. The uncured lucite is placed in a custom autoclave set at approximately 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius) and 120 pounds per square inch. The temperature starts the polymerization process while the pressure removes air bubbles. Each part takes 24 to 48 hours to manufacture and, Mr Kurayev said, can weigh up to 70 pounds.
The company also creates custom pieces, like the limited edition 30-piece sculpture it made for Danny Goldsmith for sale at its Goldsmith & Complications watch store in Delray Beach, Florida. Entitled “America’s PasTIME,” the design is a 17 inch Lucite baseball. bat with vintage watch parts and wooden bat shards formerly owned by Chicago Cubs outfielder Ian Happ.
For another client, the company personalized one of his âTime Squaredâ sculptures, a cube placed on a point, with parts from his grandfather’s pocket watch from the early 1900s.
Mr Kurayev said he also had a connection to a family watch. âI loved my father’s pocket watch,â from Russian brand Molnija – so much so that at 10, he took it apart to find out what made it work. He destroyed the watch, he said, but it fueled his interest in watchmaking.
Years later, in 2013, he created a company called Swiss Made Corporation, which sells vintage and used Swiss watches (he is still the president of the company).
He was trying to find a new way to decorate the Manhattan office when he decided to hang old Lucite watch pieces and hang the result on the wall.
Several visitors liked it and wanted similar works for themselves. And Berd Vay’e – a letter combination of the names of the two founders – was born.
And Mr. Kurayev’s mission was accomplished: âI didn’t want those old watch parts to be lost.