SIHH 2017: Kari Voutilainen Vingt-8 ISO
January 19, 2017
Kari Voutilainen is a highly respected Finnish-born master watchmaker who has a small workshop in Môtiers, Switzerland that produces between 25 to 50 timepieces per year. From the beautiful guilloché dials to the three-part open-tipped hands, that Voutilainen is famous for, to the movement plate and bridges, all finishing is done by hand.
Components such as jewels, mainsprings, sapphire crystals, and cases are outsourced, but most parts are made in-house, including the Voutilainen direct impulse escapement with two escape wheels, made of steel (for strength). The ingenious design provides a net energy gain of about 30% power in comparison to a traditional lever escapement, and so the power reserve is 65-hours instead of 50.
The look of Voutilainen’s German silver three-quarter main plate and bridges – which are hand-finished to the highest haute horology standard – is arguably one of the best looking of its kind in the business.
The prominently displayed large balance wheel is 13.60 mm, crafted in rose gold, with rose gold timing weights, and supported by a long two-point Voutilainen balance bridge that is mirror polished. The balance spring is free sprung and features Breguet/Grossmann type curve. The oscillation system beats at 2.5Hz (18,000 vph).
The case measures 39 mm x 12.30 mm, is hand polished to perfection, and, of course, features Voutilainen’s signature tear-shaped lugs. The dial is silver, engine-turned by hand with applied gold numerals and indexes.
The watch is incredibly easy to read once you understand the logic behind it, however, it is best described using a direct quote from the company’s website “The watch bears an original display of hours and minutes. At the top of each hour, the minute hand overlaps the hour hand, regardless of the time. On every half hour, the minute and hours hands are opposite. The circle of minutes turns at the same rate as the hour hand for easy reading. The angle between the hour hand and the minute hand remains the same regardless of the time. The position of the hour and minute hands, with respect to the other, is always the same according to the minutes, whatever the hour is.”
The retail price is CHF 89,000 in gold, with many bespoke colors to choose from.