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Berd Vay'e - Checkmate Collection

Renowned for incorporating increasingly rare components of vintage watches- some 50 to 100 years old- in one-of-a-kind Lucite® sculptures, Berd Vay’e’s collections cater to watch enthusiasts, art and décor lovers alike, appreciators of all-things-vintage, and now chess fans. Berd Vay’e’s latest collection Checkmate displays the complexity of watchmaking through the royal court of the undisputed queen of boardgames, chess. The New York based artisans believe that vintage timepieces are an artistic form of storytelling, recounting a journey of craft and the painstaking hours of hand work that went into their creation. Setting aside modern components to prioritize antique know-how, Berd Vay’e highlights the importance of preserving and reflecting upon the historical origins of horology and in this new collection, chess.

Berd Vay’e founders, Eddie Kurayev and Albert Akbashev’s fascination for chess first began at a young age while growing up in the former Soviet Union. Their love for the game grew in unison to their passion for horology, both arts that require incredible focus, strategic thought, and an appreciation for the intricacies of each science. Chess has long been synonymous with Russian culture dating back to as early as the 14th century, originally reserved for the elite. In Russia, chess isn’t just a boardgame or a sport, it is a way of living, and one of the most predominant activities in Russian households, schools, and playgrounds.

“Chess is a mind game that requires time and strategy. It is very complex, like the foundations of watchmaking. Growing up, it was our favorite sport and pastime, the way baseball and football are in America.” says Berd Vay’e co-founder and artisan Eddie Kurayev.

The art of watchmaking is a balancing act of creative and strategic design choices seen in each dial, movement, mechanism, and overall design complexity. Every detail in the design process is of great importance to a watchmaker, as does every move made on the board for a chess player. As a watch craftsman must skillfully position an intricate series of components to create a powerful mechanical movement, a chess player must creatively take control and overpower their opponent with knowledge, strategic planning, and calculated timing, making each move unpredictable.

Perfecting the physical details of each chess piece poses a unique challenge in the creation process. The complexity of the royal crowns found on the King and Queen, the groove engraved on the Bishop’s head, the large curves of the Knight’s head and neck, and the pawn’s spherical tip are just some examples of the attention to detail and artistry that can be admired in this collection. Each sculpture features 1,500-2,000 vintage components meticulously placed by hand, including a .925 silver plaque designed to depict the jewel from a mechanical watch gear. Berd Vay’e constantly searches for high-quality vintage watch parts, primarily of Swiss origin and the industry’s most profound manufactures. With a 50-60% rejection rate, Berd Vay’e co-founder, Eddie Kurayev, compares his process to selecting diamonds in certain colors and grades. Each sculpture is up to six times the size of traditional pieces; the King is the largest and most difficult to create at 18 inches tall.

Checkmate is a labor of time and love; the shatter-resistant chess pieces are cast in eight to ten layers of Lucite ® over a 24-hour period before being baked in an autoclave at 140 ° F with a force of 120 pounds per square inch to achieve a seamless, crystal-clear artwork. Each piece is then carefully shaped and polished by hand to highlight every curve, edge, and important detail. Additionally, they are each individually numbered and feature accompanying gloves, and a Certificate of Authenticity bearing the sculpture's serial number. Sculptures are individually sold and limited to 999 pieces each. In debut of Berd Vay'e's latest ecommerce platform, they are available for purchase on and authorized dealers worldwide.


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