ArtQuench spoke with Leonid Khankin and found a man with true passion for the understanding that time is valuable. His drive and dedication to his craftsmanship is beyond excellent. Leonid shared his wonderful experiences as a young boy watching and learning from his father a watchmaker with great talent, about mechanical technique and “what the object of accomplishment means…to “give life” to something that measures your time. Time is not disposable and so the way in which you measure your time should last for centuries. It takes 9 months to create something so authentic as an Ernst Benz timepiece.” His grandfather was a pilot in the Russian Airforce and the watch he wore was of great importance. Ernst Benz celebrates the tradition of the authentic aviation chronographs and famous wrist timers worn by pilots in the 1940’s. As legibility was one of the most important criteria of those timepieces, their dials were designed to resemble those of the era’s aviation instruments while their diameter allowed for large numerals and oversized hands for instant readability.
Ernst Benz is given the utmost respect from pilots, designers and celebrities all over the world for not only the luxury in design and quality but for the genius of Leonid Khankin.
Leonid has helped to raise over $500,000 for the Food Bank of New York with the limited edition Mario Batali watch. He has helped in many other ways in giving back for the great success he has been given.
He is a humble man who is inspired….”How do we work together to make the world a better place?”
“I feel success is to work in your chosen field and I will continue to be authentic.”
Leonid brings inspiration to those who have great skill and passion for their craft. If you become part of it you are already half way there!
Leonid Khankin, Managing and Creative Director for Ernst Benz, a Swiss watch company was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. A second-generation watchmaker and talented craftsman by nature, watches first captivated Khankin at a young age. He grew up working alongside his father, one of the most prolific and talented watchmakers of his generation, who was trained and worked at the illustrious shop of Paul Buhre. Khankin learned his craft while servicing and restoring timepieces from the top Swiss manufacturers, which instilled a passion for horological art and the skills and knowledge necessary to build the technically exceptional timepieces that the Ernst Benz Great Circle Collection is known for.
Being particularly passionate about and interested in chronograph and complicated mechanical watches, specifically the timepieces of the great era of wristwatches, Khankin began working in collaboration with Ernst Benz. Realizing the demand for a complete calendar moon face chronograph within the Great Circle perimeter, Khankin worked to develop the company’s third and most complex model, the ChronoLunar. The ChronoLunar debuted as the company’s premier model in 2002 and garnered abundant praise in the industry. Khankin then began working closely with the company and after two years was asked to lead the brand, as it was decided that Ernst Benz would be better served with a watchmaker at the helm. Khankin was chosen to cultivate the brand, ensure its continued success and guide the company and its production into the future. Mr. Benz himself was so pleased with the immediate development and results that he noted to Khankin personally, that at the brands showing at the 2006 BASELWORLD fair, it was clear to him that the company had chosen a good custodian.
Since taking the helm of the company in 2005, Khankin has grown the brand by developing and introducing new models in the spirit of aviation instruments, travel, and the art of watchmaking. He has designed and produced numerous well-received models including the ChronoDiver, ChronoFlite World Timer and GMT, along with several special editions. He has also developed a range of sizes, as well as a series for women inspired by the style of gentleman’s mid-century watches, while remaining true to Ernst Benz’s heritage of aviation, legibility and precision. Khankin has made Ernst Benz unique and relevant by designing the entire collection inspired by the great timepieces of the 1940’s and 1950’s he grew up restoring and the iconic life and career of the founder.
Khankin’s passion for watchmaking and for Ernst Benz is both extraordinary and endless. He leads production and design for Ernst Benz in Switzerland as well as distribution and marketing teams in North America, Asia, and Europe. Fostering an environment of creativity, he serves as an example that anything is possible as he travels the globe working closely with all those that support the brand and its vision – customers, retailers, and partners. The Great Circle Collection is now featured in over one hundred and fifty of the finest stores in cities across the world.
Khankin has been recognized for Ernst Benz’s unique design collaborations and numerous charitable partnerships that include exclusive Limited Edition collections with award winning men’s Designer, John Varvatos, sports icon Dan Marino and iconic chef Mario Batali. Khankin has also won several awards for both Ernst Benz’s design and its advertising campaign, which was published by Cengage Learning in Advertising and Integrated Brand Promotion – Fifth Edition. Khankin and the classic vintage-inspired timepieces of the Ernst Benz collection have been featured in many publications including: Esquire, GQ, The New York Times, International Watch, Europa Star, Details, Men’s Health, WWD, Vogue, US Weekly, ESPN, Forbes, Departures, Milk, and Robb Report.
Deeply passionate about the collection, Leonid Khankin ensures that all Ernst Benz timepieces are built to his exacting criteria and without compromise, yielding the highest quality of precision timepieces that the brand is renowned for.
Designed and manufactured in Switzerland in the traditional Swiss manner, Ernst Benz watches are sought after by connoisseurs and collectors across the globe. Ernst Benz watches are unrivaled for their durability, accuracy and reliability, exemplifying their slogan:
PRECISION INTRUMENTS FOR TIMEKEEPING.
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