I like to think of myself as knowledgeable on guitar players, the obscurer the better, but my knowledge of classical accordion players is limited to just one, and his name is Yvo Staudt. Yvo is currently studying at the Royal Conservatory in the The Hague. Not content with owning a grail accordion afforded to him from a grant by a Dutch cultural fund, he has also spent a great deal of time and effort to develop his own watches, the results of which you can see and buy here as a Watchuseek exclusive. We asked Yvo to tell us more about his music and his watches, and these are his comments.
1. Please tell us about your activities in the music business
YS: At present I'm finishing my studies at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. At that conservatory I study classical music. I mainly play classical works and modern music, like Bach, Mussorgsky, Scarlatti, Gubaidulina and much more. However, I consider myself as an all-round music freak. I like music in (almost) all its forms. Jazz, tango, French musette, classical, modern, folk or whatever. Besides finishing my study, I'm teaching and I give concerts all over Holland. That may be a classical recital, a jazz concert or an accompaniment of other artists.
2. Who is your favorite composer?
YS: Without thinking or hesitating: Johann Sebastian Bach. He is the greatest composer this world has ever seen or will see.
3. What drew you to the accordion as your instrument of choice?
YS: I can’t imagine a life without an accordion. As far as I know I have been playing accordion all of my life. I began playing the piano accordion at the age of six, which has a vertical piano keyboard. At the age of seventeen I switched to the button accordion and started studying jazz with Bert van den Brink. He is a wonderful musician and person (check him out!). During the last year of my high school I also studied in The Hague. After graduating at my high school I went to Italy, where I studied for two years. Right know I'm happy to study with An Raskin at the Royal Conservatoire at The Hague, in Holland.
4. A Patek or Breguet is a grail watch. Is a Pigini Sirius Super Bayan a grail accordion?
YS: Yes, it is. Quality and price wise. In a little village in the middle of Italy (Castelfidardo) people work eight months on an instrument like mine. Inside is a mechanical system which may be compared with the complex complications such as a tourbillon, minute repeater or perpetual calendar. I was one of the lucky few that got financial support for my instrument, so it was more or less a gift by a cultural fund in The Netherlands. To this day I have been grateful that they gave me the opportunity to play and perform on an instrument without limits.
5. What made you decide to create your own watch?
YS: I have a very big love for the good things in life. Good music, fine coffee, gastronomy and high-end watches. Especially in Italy my love for watches grew - and my adoration for haute horlogerie. I couldn’t afford my holy grail (IWC Portuguese Perpetual Calendar) and was looking for an alternative option, which I couldn’t find. So I thought: Why not make it myself?!
With my love for watches, I'm continuing the tradition of the Staudt family. The Staudts have an almost 400 year old tradition in surprising the world. From balloonists, stamp makers, writers, inventors, resistance heroes, musicians, engravers and painters to now watch makers. The eternal urge to create and entrepreneurship has run through the veins of the Staudt family since 1650. For example my great-great-great-great-grandfather Friedrich Staudt (1809 - 1859), was a balloonist, inventor, stamp maker and a professional engraver. His son, Christian, also engraved pocket watches by hand. One of these pocket watches is still in the family.
So it was obvious - and only a matter of time - before I felt the urge to create. And with the birth of the Staudt Praeludium the Staudt saga will continue!
6. Does your watch design reflect classical music?
YS: Firstly this particular watch reflects myself and my roots. This is all I search for in a watch. There is an expression in Holland: Bescheidenheid siert de mens”. Which means something as ‘modesty is like a virtue’. But that doesn't mean one can't do great things in life. My idea is that others should decide if the things I do are great or not. I will never say I'm a good accordion player.
The face of the watch is classical and quiet. But when you turn the watch over the movement is really screaming craftsmanship and quality.
7. Did you design the watch all by yourself?
YS: Yes. The design of the watch began with the dial only. I did not have any experience in designing, so I began drawing in Paint Shop. Which is not a great idea, if you ask me. The first dial was born. Soon I discovered more ways to create designs that are calculated and symmetrical. After that it took about a year to achieve the dial I use for my Staudt Praeludium. Especially the dial colours are great, in my opinion. In all different angles, the colour changes, it's like a chameleon.
8. Who will produce the watch?
YS: Because I only want the best parts for my watch, the management of the watch will stay in my own hands. For months I was looking for partners, who can deliver me the quality I want for the Staudt Praeludium. Because of that, the specifications of the Staudt Praeludium will be:
• 42.5 mm hand made in the Netherlands Titanium case with see-through case back
• Swiss hand-wound Unitas 6498-1 with perlage and blued screws (56hr power reserve)
• Hand painted two-tone blue dial (dials are made by Glashutte)
• Sapphire crystal (double domed) with AR-coating
• Hand-made genuine alligator leather watch strap with engraved butterfly clasp
• 3 ATM water resistant
• Two years warranty
The watch will be assembled in The Netherlands by highly skilled watch makers and will have a very high quality control. I only want to deliver the best and nothing less.
9. How did you pick the right movement and why this caliber?
YS: My idea about a perfect watch is that it should be taken care of. By using a hand wound movement the owner has to wind it at least every 56 hours. I myself wind it more times a day, because I like to play with the watch. When I think of hand wound time pieces I immediately think about the well-known Unitas movements. They have proven their reliability in the past decades. Besides that, it’s a fairly easy movement to work with. In my eyes the perfect movement to learn a lot about mechanical watches.
The hand decorated movement is a hint to my family tradition and great-great-great-great-grandfather Friedrich Staudt, who was a professional engraver. The movement is hand decorated and plated with white and yellow gold (14krt). The base plate is also plated with gold and is decorated with the famous Guilloche.
10. Are you planning to add a new model any time soon?
YS: First of all I’m focusing on introducing my first watch. If I will succeed in introducing that successfully I can focus on my other ideas. I have a lot of ideas. But first things first!
11. Do you plan to do limited editions with names from the music industry like other brands such as Vulcain, Claude Bernard, Oris?
YS: I first want to successfully introduce the Staudt Praeludium.
12. What is the price point for your watch?
YS: In some weeks the limited pre-order sale of 50 watches will take off at Watchuseek.com. That way I can gather funds to start the production of the Staudt Praeludium and invest in the second model. The price for the pre-order will be lower than the retail price, because the buyers are investing in this new Dutch brand and have to wait for their watches. The price for the pre-order round will be EUR 1,249.00 inclusive 21% VAT. For people outside Europe the price will be US$1,349.00 (without VAT). There will be 45 watches available.
To celebrate the birth of Staudt Twenthe we are also offering a special edition (limited to five). These will have a hand decorated movement (gold plated, Guilloche), based on the work by Friedrich Staudt. The price for the special edition will be EUR 1,698.00 (incl. 21% VAT).
Want to see more pictures of the Staudt Praeludium? Like the official page at Facebook, check out our instagram and check out the brand new website www.StaudtWatches.com. For questions you can contact Yvo at [email protected].
Visit the Staudt Watches website