After a long & distinguished career designing watches for leading Swiss watch brands, Hakim El Kadiri decided to pursue his long-time dream of creating his own brand. Nicknamed ElKa (short for El Kadiri, of course) since his early childhood, a name was quickly found. As a child of the 1960’s, the products and aesthetics of that era serve as the main source of inspiration for his newly formed brand – the Elka Watch Company.
Whilst researching the name, Hakim discovered that a watch brand named Elka had previously existed. The historical brand of Elka watches was created by Dutchman Louis Eduard Kiek in 1913, ELKA being an abbreviation for Edouard Louis Kiek Amsterdam. The family-owned company operated several Kiek boutiques in Amsterdam where prestigious brands such as Rolex, Ulysse Nardin, Vulcain, Breitling, Universal, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Blancpain watches were sold -often proudly co-branded with the ELKA signature, as well as wrist and pocket watches of their own ELKA brand. They were also particularly famous for their stopwatches, timers, and chess clocks. Somewhere in the 1970s, the ELKA brand quietly disappeared. The Kiek boutiques would continue to operate until the year 2000, after which the company was dissolved.
During this session Ace Jewelers’ Alon Ben Joseph will sit down with his long-time friend Hakim amd dp a deep dove into how he designed the watches for his Elka Watch Company, one of the collections – the X-Series- and how he got inspired by an aviation instrument created by Heuer for ELKA, which featured oversized Arabic numerals from 00 to 55.
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