Alexander Shorokhoff timepieces are unique in the world of watchmaking. German-made, with Swiss and Russian movements, they are financially accessible yet limited in production. They were conceived by a Russian engineer with a passion for product design and watches.
Alexander Shorokhov was born in Moscow and, as a boy, nurtured an interest in and talent for engineering, drawing and design. He completed his engineering studies in Moscow with distinction, and went on to work at a prominent construction company in Moscow, where he became chief engineer and later, a director of the company. In the early ’90s, he attended a course in economics organized by the Ministry of Economics of the Hessen region in Germany. In 1992, he founded a marketing company in order to sell and market the Russian watch brand Poljot. In 1995, he launched his first own watch brand Poljot-International, followed in 2003 by the establishment of his signature premium label Alexander Shorokhoff, based in Alzenau, Geromany.
“Each Alexander Shorokhoff watch is assembled from top to bottom by one person only, as opposed to the usual assembly line method watch companies use,” says Ray Grenon of About Time Luxury Group, the North American distributor of the brand. “Alexander says he wants each watchmaker to take ownership of their pieces, so one watchmaker assembles the entire watch from A to Z. At the end of that process he fills out a card showing the timing results, water pressure test and final quality control check. This card comes packaged with each watch, so the eventual owner gets the report and the signature of the watchmaker who built it.”
Shorokhoff timepieces contain mostly Poljot movement bases, and also some Swiss ETA movements. Shorokhoff heavily modifies these movements by upgrading components and hand decorating and engraving them. Most of the casebacks are open, so that these beautifully decorated movements are visible. Shorokhoff upgrades the components to a rate of accuracy that is chronometer grade or very close to it. “Watch collectors know that Poljot movements are very durable and Shorokhoff modifies them to ensure they are not only durable but also highly accurate,” says Grenon.
There are two main collections: the Heritage and the Avantgarde. The Heritage collection features completely hand engraved movements and special dials with skeletonization and hand engraving, as well as inlay, enameling and other fine handwork. The Avantgarde collection, introduced a few years ago, is very accessible, starting at $1,400, with most pieces in the $2,000-$3,000 range. While not as heavily engraved as the Heritage collection, each piece features some degree of hand engraving. “This tremendous value combined with Alexander's bold designs has really catapulted the brand into the forefront,” says Grenon.
One of the most popular pieces is the Babylonian, a limited edition of 500 pieces that has been selling as quickly as Shorokhoff can make them. The manual-wound movement is completely hand engraved and visible through the sapphire caseback. The front of the dial is skeletonized revealing the engraved gold-plated movement underneath, and on the outer edge is a blue mother-of-pearl ring with the zodiac symbols. It features Shorokhoff's signature large numeral 60 to indicate 60 minutes at the 12 o’clock position. The new Babylonian II features even more hand engraving on the front and back and is limited to only 300 pieces.
“Even the leather straps are special,” says Grenon. “They are made out of shrunken leather that is extremely soft and supple so the straps are very comfortable.” For more information about Alexander Shorokhoff timepieces,please visit www.alexander-shorokhoff.de.