Exclusive Preview: Kari Voutilainen Watches For SIHH 2017 (Live Photos)
SIHH week 2017 is off to a great start for our small group of California collectors, and I am sure that there is much more to come! The highlight of our first day was our now-traditional Saturday night dinner with independent watchmaking legend Kari Voutilianen. Each year, Kari meets with us to share and explain the watches that he will be introducing at SIHH.
And once again this year, Kari was kind enough to allow me to show some live photos of his new pieces before the official opening of the show. So here goes.
The first piece that Kari brought was a lovely update on his prior power reserve watches, the V8-R and GMR. This year’s watch, shown above with a striking dark grey dial, draws both on the V8-R with a power reserve indicator positioned at 2 o’clock, and the GMR, a two-time-zone watch that also had a power reserve indicator, but centered below the 12 o’clock index.
Th new watch is (to me) a very well balanced piece that provides the useful power reserve complication for those who don’t need the travel time indication.
The second watch, seen above with a silver dial, is something altogether different. The Vingt-8 ISO is the watchmaker’s transformation of psychologist Daniel Kahneman’s theory of “System 1 and System 2” thinking into wristwatch form.
By Kahneman’s definition, “System 1” thinking is the instinctive recognition that allows us, for instance, to tell the time shown by analog watch dial at a glance. In an attempt to make us more mindful about reading the time, the Vingt-8 ISO intentionally returns us to the sort of “little hand is on the X and big hand is on the Y” thought pattern we needed to use when first learning to tell time by creating a new relationship between the minute and hour hands.
Simply put (or as simply as I can do it, anyway), any time the minute and hour hands are superimposed, it’s on the hour. So, for instance, at 3 o’clock, both hands point at 3. As the hands progress, at the half-hour mark the hour hand and minute hand point directly away from each other; at 3:30, for instance, the hour hand is pointing 17.5 minutes past the hour and the minute hand is at 47.5 minutes past. The minute hand then continues to “catch” the hour hand until both point at 4 on the next hour.
New gearing was needed to make the minute hand advance by 65 minutes each hour so that it can catch up to the hour hand by the time it reaches the next full hour.
I can testify that reading the time on this watch at first attempt is definitely a non-intuitive “System 2” task! Kari helps us out by incorporating a moving chapter ring at the perimeter of the dial that advances in lock step with the hour hand, allowing us literally to read the minutes using the “big hand points to the . . .” method.
In the photo of the blue-dialed watch above, for instance, the time is 5:52, and at 6 o’clock both hands will point to 6.
I’m sure that a lot more will be written explaining this piece and its underlying mechanics, but for now let’s just enjoy another view, this time side by side with my own Voutilainen watch.
No watch dinner is complete without a table shot, and Kari obliged by contributing his three new watches to join the two Masterpiece Chronograph IIs in the room.
All of us at Quill & Pad are looking forward to bringing you much more from SIHH 2017, so stay tuned!
For more information, please visit www.voutilainen.ch.
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I very much enjoy the idea behind the ISO, and like how it invokes a necessary relationship between the wearer and the timepiece.
Thank you for sharing, and hope you have a wonderful time in Geneva.
Thanks, Colton! We are having a blast — more to come, I am sure.
This is an interesting piece, and completely unexpected — I’ve already heard a number of enthusiastic comments as well as several skeptical ones, and will be interested to monitor the tenor of feedback as the week proceeds.
The ISO is just pure silliness – let’s go through a ton of effort to make it harder for the wearer to tell the time. I expected gimmicks like this from Tag not Kari
Thanks for commenting, Graham — I am pretty sure from feedback I’ve heard at the show so far that this will be a polarizing watch! One watch fanatic’s clever innovation is another’s superfluous gimmick, to be sure…
Beautiful dial on the ISO – is it blue gold like the Harrods Breguet, does anyone know? I quite like this reimagined time-telling with the zero for the minute hand effectively being shifted on the hour, a bit like a secret signature that only the owner (plus a few cognoscenti) know about.