His 23-year creative career working for a watchmaking group is peppered with leading models, innovative collab’s and, above all, a sample of some of the most audacious “talking pieces”. Suddenly, under the name of Elka Watch & Co, he is launching a deliciously vintage sixties concentrate on Kickstarter.
Joël A. Grandjean, JSH Magazine & Swiss-Watch-Passport.ch Editor in Chief
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He has always been nicknamed “Elka”, to save a little saliva or to avoid having to remember his real name, Hakim El Kadiri. Thus, when his enforced reconversion has brought him to a historical brand directory, the antique company Elka Watch & Co was immediately obvious to him. Better still, it was open to him, it was free and he had no other choice than to give it a soul.
On June 1, 2022, the Kickstarter platform is sharing with its worldwide audience much more than a fundraising project. It is the beginning of an adventure that, after having already written a few pages of Swiss watchmaking history, is about to take off in a very challenging segment, the one of Swiss Made mechanical excellence for less than CHF 2’000. People in the business talk about “volumes”. He replies in terms of the Elka by La Joux Perret automatic caliber (68 hours of power reserve), the Chevé Box sapphire crystal (the most complicated to manufacture because it looks like the domed Hezalite in the past), his references to iconic shapes, and dials and bracelets in trend-setting colors and finishings.
“Elka” is one of those people whose success will delight many people, the ones in his sector, his relatives and even some who could see in him a competitor. For he has left, throughout his missions for others, the precious footprints of competency mixed with sympathy. He had teams behind him, in front of him, packs of workers and colleagues to feed, to animate.
From now on, his loyal services will be dedicated entirely to his eponymous signature, Elka Watch & Co. He is committed to its codes and history: “This previous Elka Watch was named after Eduard Louis Kiek of Amsterdam. While browsing the archives, I realized that the brand had strong designs having closely associated with other great names in the watch industry“. These include Ulysse Nardin, Heuer, Rolex, Minerva…
The craziness of the sixties is alive again today. It has that little touch of magic, of space race, of Beatles and rolling stones. A sepia-toned era not short of rebellious spirits and struggles of all kinds. A time populated by visionaries particularly inspiring for Hakim El Kadiri.