From the tiny landlocked Russian republic of Ingushetia, a new independent watchmaking talent is emerging in the form of a remarkable young watchmaker named Rashid Tsoroev. Entirely self-taught, and educated only through the mediums of books and the internet, his first editions of hand crafted wristwatches have sold out within days of being announced.
Aged only twenty-three, he has accomplished his incredible achievement from starting out using old machinery and tools barely fit for the purpose of watchmaking, to imprinting a distinctive style of his own in a small series of contemporary designs which demonstrate his talents in styling, finishing and craftsmanship.
Called the Arrow, after the source of the design inspiration which provided the theme on which the collection was created, it comprises three models, which vary only in the colour of their dials and hands, but otherwise are all encased in a rounded 42mm case of stainless steel, with sapphire glass on top and beneath to highlight the detailing and reveal the artisan’s touch on the movement
Powered by an ultra-reliable Swiss Unitas/ETA 6498 manual winding movement, the Arrow is a remarkably mature piece, and one in which Tsoroev has demonstrated a keen eye for being able to hit that elusive sweet spot in terms of its design. In other words, it is simple and understated, yet intricate and beautiful in its minimalist detail throughout.
The flat dial is available with gold or rhodium-silver options, and its surface is finely sandblasted to a matte finish. Around the dial, the indices are like elongated teardrops, whose rounded shape have been polished and flame-coloured to a gorgeous purple-blue, and then applied individually onto the dial. The only other feature on the dial is the brushed steel ring at the six o’clock for the small seconds. Setting it all off are the hour and minute hands, which end in elegant arrow tips. Like the indices, they have been crafted entirely by hand, and have the same colour, which changes between blue and purple, depending on the way they reflect the light. Also the rounded edges complement the hour markers, and all these little details come together to create a strikingly handsome dial.
The stainless steel case measures 42mm across and just 11.2mm tall, and again, the arrow influence can be seen in the lugs. It features upper and lower sapphire crystals, revealing the hand winding Unitas/ETA 6498 mechanism within. Here the watchmaker can offer a choice of undecorated ex-works or premium finishes, with Côtes de Genève stripes and blued screws adding to the overall aesthetic. The balance oscillates at a pedestrian 18’000 vib/h and a single wind will provide 52 hours of power reserve.
With the explosion in interest in independent watchmaking over the past two decades, it has been accompanied by a renewed interest in the profession of the artisanal watchmaker, and many fresh young faces have been a welcome sight to an sector of the watch industry which not so long ago was in danger of becoming a forgotten art. Most of these emerging prodigies have devoted themselves to preserving the most traditional of techniques, which are only possible by working by hand, while using state of the art technology to aid with component design and testing. Not having access to the institutionalised education which is available in most European countries, and working with only the most rudimentary tools and equipment, and still being able to do what he has done makes Rashid Tsoroev a little bit different to many of his peers.