There are already a few established and well respected independent watchmakers based in Germany, however, a talented relative newcomer based in Berlin, seems to be making all the right moves.
Felipe Pikullik made his first watch for a paying customer under his own name, only 5 years ago, but he is gathering momentum and demand for his hand finished pieces is growing at a very fast pace.
The ambitious newcomer aims to combine art, individualism and traditional watchmaking with high attention to detail, to create classical timepieces with an astronomical inspiration.
Felipe Pikullik explains the concept behind his “Sternenhimmel”, which is translated from German as “Starry Sky”:
The Sternenhimmel is the first astronomic inspired watch in my collection. The idea behind the Sternenhimmel was to do a very simple and elegant watch that marks the start of astronomical themed watches, as I have a big admiration for physics and astronomy. My next watch in this line will be the 3d moon phase.
Face & case
The 41mm stainless steel case has been highly polished, with well defined “horn” shaped lugs and has a relatively thin bezel, making the watch appear bigger. The centre of the case has a band of directionally brushed edges, to create a contrasting finish that wraps around the sides of the case.
Underneath the sapphire crystal, a brass dial has been decorated using an acrylic airbrush technique. The blue colour in this unique piece is bespoke and was matched to a photo of a night sky provided to Felipe – as in all the Sternenhimmel watches, different sizes and depths of white “stars” are delicately scattered across the dial, creating an effect almost identical to the sample photo provided.
The starry sky is clearly the main focus on the dial and there is not a lot else going on, other than the Felipe Pikullik name plate, that is fixed between 11 and 1 o’clock and of course the additional “stars”, being 3 round cut diamonds, each set in their own stainless steel cradles at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock. The diamonds add a luxurious element and the fact they are VVS quality stones (colour G), amplifies this concept.
Highly polished, spear shaped stainless steel hands, confidently rotate around the dial; the tip of the minute hand just passing the very inside edge of the diamonds, which could only be by design.
Turn the watch over and the visual excitement continues under the sapphire crystal case back – the narrow frame allows an almost edge to edge view of the movement. The whole movement has been plated with black rhodium, continuing the luxurious feel and the shapes of the highly skeletoned bridges swoop and curve towards the centre, creating what could potentially be seen in a fairy tale or fantasy illustration.
There are a number of contrasting elements that “pop” against the rhodium; the screws are all highly polished, as are the ratchet and crown wheels, both of which have 2 band snailing. Purple jewels and the balance wheel, also add some additional colour contrast.
Unusually, there are no markings or engravings on the case back or movement, other than the “unique piece” engraving on the balance cock.
Looking at the side of the watch, the lugs appear quite long and curve down to follow the shape of the wrist. The barrel shaped crown is sturdy with good grip for winding and has the FP logo printed in black on the end.
The Sternenhimmel is powered by the hand wound ETA 6498-1; it is actually a pocket watch movement, which is a large movement and at 37.2mm it fills almost the entire case.
Featuring 17 jewels, it beats at 18,000 vph and provides up to 46 hours power reserve once fully wound.
Made from soft calf leather and colour matched to the blue on the dial; the strap also has stitching in a matching blue tone. The lining is a traditional tan coloured leather, with the brand’s FP Icon and logo engraved into the leather.
Fastening is secured by a highly polished steel pin buckle.
Felipe Pikullik was founded in 2017 by a relatively young, passionate watchmaker from Berlin, who was on a mission to create something special.
Learning the art of watchmaking in one of the famous watchmaking schools in Glashütte, Germany, he also spent time working in the ateliers of Stefan Kudoke and Rolf Lang in Dresden, in order to learn and develop his skills.
He made his first watch for himself and after a friend requested he build a custom watch with a hand-engraved lionhead on it for him, which he successfully did. Once complete, he decided to begin his commercial operation, in order to make individual handmade watches with a personal touch that could be available to everyone.
This was only 5 years ago and bearing in mind that Felipe is still only in his late twenties, his journey into watchmaking is clearly still in its infancy.
Felipe Pikullik Sternenhimmel On The Wrist
I first came across Felipe Pikullik’s work on InstaGram and had a strong feeling that he was going places – after an initial discussion on what we could do, I really liked his approach and the result here is really quite something.
The case size is probably my ideal choice and with the thin bezel, the starry sky gets the most real estate possible; add that to the longer lugs and the watch seems to appear slightly bigger on the wrist. However, at only 10mm thick and the polished, curved edges, there should be no wrestling with cuffs.
Whilst the design of the dial and all the elements that make it up are fantastic, the movement side is really where I think this Sternenhimmel speaks to me. The shapes of the skeletonised areas, the bevelling and finishing in all other areas are exquisite and the tone of the rhodium plating is such a well received change to the usual movement appearances.
Regular readers know I try to give some negative feedback on every review, but there really is only 1 “niggle” for me and it’s a personal opinion – I think that whilst it is highly polished and does suit the watch, I sort of expected the pin buckle to have been designed to match the high design dial and movement aesthetics.
The Sternenhimmel has a starting price of 2,800 EUR, which is excellent value, especially since there are elements that can be changed (some of which will come with an additional cost, such as skeletonisation and diamond settings to the lugs) and that although they are not limited editions, manufacturing bottlenecks due to limited manpower, does limit the number of watches produced each year.
And on that point…. due to his relative whirlwind success over the last year or so, it’s no surprise that Felipe has decided to stop taking orders for now. His current work commitments take him out to beyond 2027, however, he does have a number of other new ideas, so keep your eyes peeled for what might come next.