This is an interview with Stefan Ketelaars.
Stefan is one of those guys with a magic touch who can create anything he sets his mind to. He started with refurbishing vintage watches and then moved to skeletonizing existing watch movements.
Constantly setting goals and raising the bar, he now creates watches with his own complications.
Wrist check! What are you wearing?
The watch I’m wearing at the moment is my so-called “Time in Motion” watch. This is the watch that I also wear the most.
It shows the motion of time on the dial side with the moving balance wheel.
Where did you learn how to modify watch movements and create your own complications?
I taught myself by doing research on the internet. Five years ago, I started servicing vintage watches in order to get familiar with the functionality of every component in a watch.
After this stage, I started skeletonizing movements.
The biggest challange that was always in the back of my mind was adding complications to a movement in order to add functionality or just to make the design of the watch more appealing.
One year ago. I started my first regulator complication. Since then, I kept challenging myself in order to cerate the ultimate complication in a watch.
If I had to describe your style, I’d call it Steampunk Haute Horlogerie, do you agree?
I wouldn’t call it Steampunk. The style of my watches is more the “new avant-garde” style. I Always try to give my watches a more vintage look with some interesting innovative details.
Can you describe the process of modifying a watch? Do you make plans or do you improvise on the go?
Every wristwatch starts with a design. This design is the common thread of the entire building process.
During this building process, the mechanical details are designed in order to make the complication functional. Only small changes will be made to the design during the build, this is mostly done to make the design more appealing.
What is your grail watch?
My grail watch is actually a watch that I’m creating for myself at the moment.
This will be the first watch ever that consists of a round moon and round earth complication. This model will be the next level in terms of complications.
The 24 hour earth complication is already completed. All that`s left is the round moon complication and the finishing of each component.
What is your watch top 3?
What work are you most proud of and why?
That’s the first watch that I skeletonized.
This was a major challenge at the time. It took me around 100 hours to complete. This is the watch where it all started and that`s why it’s the work that I’m most proud of.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years in terms of watchmaking?
Within 5 years I’ll have my own workshop, in order to have more space for my equipment and a better place to meet with customers.
I also like to change movements for my watches in the future. As a basis for my projects, I use existing eta6497/98 calibres. I’d like to change this by producing my own movements.
And last but not least, I’ll be in the top 5 of Dutch watch brands.
Is there a specific type of watch or complication that you’d love to create in the future?
The project that I’m working on at the moment is a goal that I set 1 year ago. So, the round moon and earth complication is a challenge that’s nearly accomplished.
One other complication that I’ll create in the near future is a tourbillon.