Kari Voutilainen At SIHH 2018: A Sneak Peek At New Introductions
In keeping with longstanding tradition, on the Saturday evening our Northern California collector group held its annual pre-SIHH dinner with independent watchmaking legend Kari Voutilainen, who was joined this year by his wife and business partner, Terttu.
As is also traditional for us, Voutilainen brought along some of the watches that he will be showing during coming week at SIHH and agreed to let us share them prior to the opening of the show on Monday, January 15.
The first watch we passed around was a new variant of last year’s Vingt-8 ISO that I immediately dubbed “the Big Boy.” This 44 mm diameter platinum piece is something to be reckoned with, and the combination of bright guilloche central area, slightly darker and more colorful nickel-plated chapter ring, and gold markers and hands provides substantial visual interest.
The next stunner was a conventional Vingt-8, but with a dial that combined vivid blue surrounding areas with grey central ones.
This year’s exciting introduction from Kari is another Vingt-8 with a retrograde calendar indication surrounding the central area of the dial. Pushing the crown advances the date indicator, and at midnight on the thirty-first of the month the date pointer rotates smoothly and slowly back to 1 o’clock, providing a pleasing show.
Voutilainen explained that the retrograde date is integrated within the movement, which required an extensive redesign of the Vingt-8 architecture and yielded a more complicated movement that is identical in height to the original Vingt-8 caliber. The smooth action of the retrograde date is the result of a chain of wheels whose inertia slows the date hand as it sweeps back across the dial to start a new month.
The first example of the retrograde that Kari showed us (shown above) was in pink gold with a frosted silver dial, gold hands, and dark blue applied markers.
The second retrograde watch was a lovely white gold piece with now-familiar Comblémine guilloche work on its deep blue dial.
If you take a close look at the photo above, you’ll see another key feature of Voutilainen’s new retrograde watches: a “new age” case design that maintains many of the traditional Voutilainen design cues but adds several concave design elements in the form of scoop-sided lugs and concave case band and bezel. I don’t think that my light-hearted suggestion to dub this design the “Concavolainen” will get much traction, but I do like the way that Kari has tested out some changes to his traditional case design in a way that both refreshes the look of the case and retains the core elements of the Voutilainen visual language.
Kari plans to make ten each of the new retrograde date in pink and white gold.
For more on Kari Voutilainen, please visit www.voutilainen.ch.