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May 2015

Ekso Watches Gallery

  • Where independent watchmakers show off

In a confidential Paris showroom, the most amazing creations by independent watchmakers are displayed like works of art. Let's meet the woman who runs it.


"I'm still here!" jokes Ekaterina Sotnikova, whom we first met four years ago when she open­ed her gallery. After collecting watches, Ekaterina decided she wanted to know more about them. So she attended a train­ing course at the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie, at the back of her mind the idea of promot­ing the craftsmanship of independent watchmakers. "I was no longer interested in having the same watches as everyone else," and she discovered a whole new world of "passionate, honest artists whose aspi­rations are different". But how to get herself accepted by this male milieu? "I had to prove I knew my stuff and could talk about their knowhow." Similarly she earned the trust of international clients. "People who are past concerns about social status, who travel widely and are always seeing the same things. They come to my gallery for discoveries. I display only one-off pieces because my clients want to own a watch that no one else will have." So Ekaterina surrounds herself with the elite. "These living legends work as Abraham-Louis Breguet did in his day. They're the stars of tomorrow!" Her gallery offers a broad range of styles but all with one common deno­mi­nator: technical excellence. Ludovic Ballouard, the Grönefeld brothers, Vianney Halter, Vouti­lainen... and Andreas Strehler, her latest addition whom she disco­vered through Maîtres du Temps, which gives carte blan­che to master watch­makers to create exclusive models, and with whom Ekate­rina works. Strehler is a genius who entered the Guinness World Records with his Sauterelle à Lune Perpétuelle that has an accuracy life of... two million years! Sharing a passion is very much what keeps Ekaterina Sotnikova ticking.