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Review: Bexei Dignitas Pure

by Peter Chong on September 4, 2015

Budapest Hungary: a Bohemian place, if there was any. Its a beautiful city, with its roots deep in a mixed and diverse cultural heritage. From whence, comes the Zsolnay Porcelain Manufacture, iconic shoemaker Laszlo Vass, and now the watchmaking house of Bexei. Wait, watchmaking? Indeed. A young watchmaker by the name of Aaron Becsei is starting to make his name among the haute horlogerie cognoscenti.

A close and good Deployant friend recently collected his Bexei Diginas Pure, and we had the opportunity to examine the watch in detail. Here is our review.

 

The Bexei Dignitas Pure

 

Bexei Dignitas Pure.

Bexei Dignitas Pure.

 

Bexei is a transliteration of Aaron Becsei’s name from Hungarian to an Anglicised form easier on the tongue for English speakers. Aaron makes almost everything himself in his atelier in Budapest. From the conception of the movement, to the manufacture of the entire movement, the case, dial and hands. He has several lines of watches in his collection. And the Dignitas line features a form movement in a rectangular case  with rounded top and bottom, a bit like the classical Daniel Roth case but elongated, and the Lange Arkade, but larger. The bezel is scalloped to create curves on the straight sides. And the lugs are elongated and also curved.

This line is designed for his private clients who can then customize almost every aspect of the watch, from the case detailing, dial, hands and even some parts of the movement. The Pure model signifies the purity of the watch, being time only, sans any complication. The Dignitas is also offered with a Tourbillon and a Power Reserve model.

 

The inspiration is the owner's Chrome Hearts jewellery which he is particularly fond of, making the overtones of Gothic feel.

The inspiration is the owner’s Chrome Hearts jewellery which he is particularly fond of, making the overtones of Gothic feel.

 

Our friend designed his own dial and hands, and this was interpreted by Aaron. The result is rather stunning, and reflective of the origins of the Chrome Hearts jewellery favoured by our friend.

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The case, dial and hands

 

As mentioned, the case is a rectangular case, with arcs for the top and bottom. This case was originally developed by Aaron for his Primus line of watches, but he decided to use it as the signature shape for the Dignitas line.

 

Bexei Dignitas, showing the unique double elippse case design. Note the curved bezel on the straight sides, and the flat finish on the curved sides.

Bexei Dignitas, showing the unique double elippse case design. Note the curved bezel on the straight sides, and the flat finish on the curved sides.

A wallpaper Watchscape image measuring 1920 pixels x 1200 pixels is available for download, subject to the condition that it is only for personal and non-commercial use. You agree to this condition by clicking here to get to the image, and also agree not to modify the image in any form.

 

The case is a three part case, milled by Aaron himself, and for this commission is in white gold. The Dignitas is also available in other gold hues on commission. The case is rather large at 37.5mm in diameter and 42mm long, with long, curved and rather elegant lugs. The case shape is decidedly complicated and is very solidly made, and feels very hefty on the wrist. A ruby cabochon is used on the crown as requested by the owner.

 

Dial detail, showing the hand engraved dial motifs which are inspired by the motif on the Chrome Hearts jewellery.

Dial detail, showing the hand engraved dial motifs which are inspired by the motif on the Chrome Hearts jewellery.

 

The dial is in five parts and made of gold, fully hand made by Aaron himself. including the guilloché on the central portion. The markings on the dial are engraved and then filled with black lacquer, except for the marker for 8 o’clock which is filled with yellow gold. Our Collector Friend, being Asian, has a special affinity for the number 8 and hence requested for it to be in gold. This special colour is picked up by the ornate Empire style hands.

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The outer section of the dial is hand engraved by a Hungarian artisan based on the designs of our Collector Friend who had based the motifs on those of the Chrome Hearts he so loved. The entire dial is rather gothic in feel, and very impressive as it exudes a very high quality hand made aura.

 

The Movement

The movement is in maillechort, Bexei does not specify, but from our visual inspection, we think it is unfinished and unplated. This is shown in a characteristically warm hue of the plates, and will develop a beautiful patina over time. The movement is handwound, form movement shaped to fit the case. The movement is very beautifully laid out. The bridges and cocks form beautiful swirls, and seem to flow from one to another.

We find the aesthetics of the bridges to be exceptional.

 

Movement of the Bexei Dignitas Pure. This is a aesthetically pleasing layout of the bridges and cocks.

Movement of the Bexei Dignitas Pure. This is a aesthetically pleasing layout of the bridges and cocks. Visible in this photograph because of the direction of the lighting picks up on the slopes are the Geneva like stripes which are applied.

 

The bridges and cocks feature very large, and brilliant jewels, and form a frame to allow the jewels to shine. The jewels are held in the cocks in polished chamferred sides. The polishing is very well done, creating a beautiful setting for the jewels, allowing light to reflect in and through the jewels. All the edges of the cocks, bridges and mainplates are finished magnificently.

 

Another view of the movement. Note the finishing details.

Another view of the movement. Note the finishing details.

A wallpaper Watchscape image measuring 1920 pixels x 1200 pixels is available for download, subject to the condition that it is only for personal and non-commercial use. You agree to this condition by clicking here to get to the image, and also agree not to modify the image in any form.

 

Movement detail showing the large, brilliant jewels used. Note the curves of the cocks, sensuously hugging the jewels. Note also the inward angle which can only be executed by a skilled hand.

Movement detail showing the large, brilliant jewels used. Note the curves of the cocks, sensuously hugging the jewels. Note also the inward angle which can only be executed by a skilled hand.

A wallpaper Watchscape image measuring 1920 pixels x 1200 pixels is available for download, subject to the condition that it is only for personal and non-commercial use. You agree to this condition by clicking here to get to the image, and also agree not to modify the image in any form.

 

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A large 14mm free sprung titanium balance wheel with platinum poising weights as well as a specially designed pallet fork is fitted. The balance itself is held in place by a full bridge, which features a very beautiful twisting shape. This presents the opportunity for Aaron to showcase his dexterity and skill in executing the anglage, especially for the inward facing angles, of which there are two on this bridge. The execution is flawless, and a joy to admire.

 

Balance bridge for the Bexei Dignitas.

Balance bridge for the Bexei Dignitas. Note the terminal curve.

A wallpaper Watchscape image measuring 1920 pixels x 1200 pixels is available for download, subject to the condition that it is only for personal and non-commercial use. You agree to this condition by clicking here to get to the image, and also agree not to modify the image in any form.

 

Finishing is top drawer, with all the traditional finissage details excuted par excellence.

 

Concluding thoughts

We feel this is a magnificent watch. The dial and hand design is a matter of personal taste, and we admit it is not to this reviewer’s liking. But it is as specified by the owner, and in our discussion with him, he is extremely pleased on how it turned out, and we think this is the most important aspect.

 

Another close detail photograph of the movement, showing the magnificently machined click and transmission wheel. The canon wheel is also visible here, held in place by the large, brilliant jewel with its beautifully executed inward curve on the cock.

Another close detail photograph of the movement, showing the magnificently machined click and transmission wheel. The canon wheel is also visible here, held in place by the large, brilliant jewel with its beautifully executed inward curve on the cock.

 

The movement was a bit unexpected. It is exceptionally beautifully designed and exceptionally well finished. We were impressed with almost every aspect of its design and execution. We wish more independent, and indeed mainstream watches were made with such care and attention to detail. Admittedly this level of work, done almost single handedly by Aaron Becsei certainly limits his production to very small numbers, and perhaps cannot be approached by the large manufacturers.

We admire his dedication, skill and patience to create masterpieces like this. And it is indeed a very admirable feat from this Hungarian. And at a list price of €38,500 in yellow, rose or white gold, looks to be a bargain in today’s world of overpriced watches.

 

 

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