Kindler & Thorpe

Kindler & Thorpe is a British horology brand specialized in the hand engraving of high end luxury watches, thus to create personalized and unique timepieces according to customer’s demands. The engraving work is however dedicated only to the brand new, unworn timepieces from leading names in prestige watches such as Rolex, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, IWC, Panerai and Hublot.

The Kindler & Thorpe company was first established in 2010 by two long standing business associates Herman Kindler and Paul Thorpe.

Herman Kindler was born in 1937 and lives in Munich along with his family. He is a keen collector of modern, sports and vintage Rolex watches and his collection is believed to be one of the finest in Europe. Herman is a retired civil pilot and businessman and still flies his own light aircraft when time permits. He has studied Bavarian history, art and architecture.

Paul Thorpe has been in the fine watch business since 1975 after being introduced to the business by his parents. Born in 1961, Paul lives with his family in Sussex and spends much of his time in London around the horology scene. He is vastly experienced with most high end watch brands.

He has a keen eye for rare antiquities and has studied British Heraldry, early English engravings, silversmithing and British hallmarks. His ambition is to leave a horological legacy that survives for hundreds of years, just like many of the fine objects that he has owned, admired and studied.

The company has been in the watch business since 1975 and has a long standing, fine reputation both within the trade and the horology community both in the United Kingdom, across Europe and into the United States.

The Kindler & Thorpe brand is positioned to be the World’s leading specialist’s in beautifully engraved horological artistry. Most of the time brand new factory sealed models used as donor watches. Each one is carefully selected for suitability and is then passed on to some of the UK’s leading engravers who have carried out commissions for companies such as Holland & Holland and James Purdey & Son.

The engravers make these timepieces completely unique and one of a kind in the world. Each piece is hand finished and engraved by a true master of the art. The watches are created with an obsession for detail and grand design. Each piece will be highly engaging, beautiful, with an enchanting aura of romance giving a renewed thrill and pleasure every time it is worn.

Kindler & Thorpe designs are inspired by some of the finest engraving featured on World’s most expensive firearms; and are also influenced by elite Georgian, Victorian, and Bavarian architecture as well as British Heraldry dating back to the 5th century. Kindler & Thorpe is also specialized in British and European Heraldry and are able to research or design your own family crest (with a Latin legend) for a small fee.

Kindler & Thorpe offers a totally unique and completely bespoke service to its clients. You may choose any model from the range of high-end watches from brands such as Rolex, Patek Philippe, Hublot, Audemars Piguet, Panerai and IWC.

Your chosen watch will be beautifully engraved entirely to your own specification. All of the watches used for engraving are brand new unless stated otherwise. They carry their original manufactures box and warranty papers. Kindler & Thorpe accepts orders to engrave to a client’s chosen specification from its own inventory of brand new and unworn watches.

The company however does not accept orders to work on clients own pre-worn watches. That means every watch is initially purchased by Kindler & Thorpe and then according to customer’s demand, engraving work is done and hand over it.

Due to the hugely complex nature of the work, completion of your bespoke timepiece can take anywhere between 4 to 12 weeks. A deposit of 25% is required before work commences with the balance due on completion. Highly personalised watches that carry names or dates that are particular to one individual must be paid for in full, in advance and are strictly non-returnable.

Each watch will be presented with its original brand box and warranty paperwork plus and a unique 5 year guarantee and its details will be entered into company’s archives for historical purposes.

The basic method of hand engraving has not changed for centuries. However, with the advent of modern tools, today’s engravers are given advantages that previous engravers did not have at their disposal. Computer technology allows the use of photo editing or vector-based drawing programs, thus facilitating the design process.

Using computers and printing technologies, an artist can now successfully and accurately lay out a design from the computer onto the item being engraved. Modern pneumatic gravers are available in the same size as the graver of old, allowing ease of control of the graver cut.

Artistic design concept

Before beginning the engraving process, the engraver must visualise a design concept, and view the item to be engraved for its shape, its period styling, its value, materials, and contours. There are many things to consider. If the engraving is for a customer, certain boundaries or limitations may arise to suit the customer’s price and taste.

Preparing to draw the design

The item being engraved must be accurately outlined. This can be achieved using a variety of methods. The simplest method is the smoke print. This method involves using the smoke from a kerosene lamp, candle, or equivalent to cover the surface with carbon smoke “inking”. The item is held high over the flame so as not to heat its surface.

This is important when the item contains non-heat resistant materials. Another outlining method is to use printer’s ink over the area. Once the surface has been blackened by smoke or printer’s ink, clear tape is delicately placed over the area. When the tape is removed, the smoke or ink remains on the tape, creating the exact shape of the item. An accurate outline is next traced to be used as the design boundary lines.

Another method is to use frosted tape laid over the surface, then trace the item’s shape with a pencil. This method is less messy, but will take a little longer. In either case, a clearly drawn outline is the base for the beginning of the drawing process.

Creating the final design

Assuming a design concept has been determined, the next step is to make rough sketches. Sketching continues until the artist has achieved the theme’s desired flow. Refinements are slowly introduced, while maintaining the initial feel of the art work. Imagination, creativity and familiarity with engraving styles are important factors.

Engraving by hand with specialist tools

Relief engraving is simpler by comparison to inlay work, and only requires the removal of background around the design. This is accomplished by cutting away the metal background and leaving the decorative motif design in the foreground. The cut out background may be decoratively punched to create a matted textured, or it may be lined to create interesting light reflection effects. There are several methods in which the background may be detailed.

Some of them are punching, stippling, lining, and beading. Having accomplished the above, detailing of the decorative motif will begin. This step is labelled as shading. Shading is the process by which multiple, tightly grouped fine lines or dots are applied in order to achieve light-to-dark contrasts. This defining step can raise or lower the overall quality of the engraving. Correctly produced, it will add life to the art.

If shading is not fully understood and expertly executed, however, the engraver runs the risk of lowering the quality of his previous efforts. Shading is the highlight of quality engraving, and is perhaps the most difficult area for the beginning and intermediate level engraver to develop proficiency. Collectors who recognise quality engraving examine the shading and look for precision, continuity, and character in the shaded areas.

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