Kari Voutilainen is, undoubtedly, one of the finest independent watchmakers in the world. Today he is considered by many to be the best in what he does. His watches are famous for their numerous customization options and superb finishing. He makes approximately 50 pieces every year from Switzerland. Kari is responsible for designing, building, fabricating and assembling the timepieces. He has already built a strong brand and many people looking for expensive watches go for this brand. Do you want to know some of his five best watches of all time? Read on to find out.
Voutilainen Vingt-8 White Gold
This is a stunning, 21-jewel, hand-made piece that was made from the Voutilainen shop in 2012. Its rare blue dial has three very different engine –turned patterns. Each pattern can reflect light differently, hence making the dial have a wonderful depth and mixture of blue tones. The face is made up of Arabic index markers and numerals, blue steel Breguet hands and a sub second dial placed at 6 o’clock. Its black crocodile strap is hand-sewn. Kari used his tear-shaped lugs signature to finish this incredible timepiece.
This shows that Mr. Kari doesn’t take chances when it comes to his brand; that is why he pays uncompromising attention to craftsmanship and detail. The interior is just as impressive as the exterior. A sapphire crystal is placed on the reverse, and it allows the wearer to see the inside movements, showing a rich palette of forms and hues. One unique thing about Voutilainen watches is that they have superlative finishing. You will also find a mixture of brushed, polished or frosted surfaces. Its movement is facilitated by two-wheeled escarpment and a 13.6mm balance spring.
The combination of a Grossmann curve with a Breguet overcoil forms a great mix of engineering aesthetics and ingenuity.
Voutilainen Observatoire Limited Edition
This is an extremely rare, hand-made watch that comes in white gold. The Observatoire won the Grand Prix in 2007 in the ‘Best Men’s Watch’ category. Only 50 pieces were ever made, which is one of the reasons it is extremely rare and most sought after.
The Observatoire was crafted in 2008. It features three entirely different engine-turned patterns fixed on its gold dial. The patterns reflect light differently giving the dial a fantastic depth. While the Observatoire may look similar to the Vingt-8 model on the outside, the two models are distinguished by the movement. This model houses a special Peseux 260 ebauche. Kari saw the opportunity in this movement because it was never made available to the public and he knew he had found something special.
That’s when he chose to build a special watch that could house them. This manual-winding movement is very accurate, but Kari still modified it heavily for the Observatoire. Aesthetic changes made include chamfering on the pelage beneath and edges, high-level finishing and Geneva stripes that were added on the bridges. The timing screws Kari used were made of platinum. The Observatoire is truly a unique watch because it holds some place in the horological history.
Voutilainen GMT-6 Titanium
The GMT-6 is a unique watch that was donated by Duncan Wang’s family. Voutilainen watches are made using precious metals, but this is made of titanium. However, unlike other titanium cases (have a matter finish), the GMT-6 has a mirror-polished case. Its surface is so glossy that anyone can mistake it for steel, but the lightness reveals it as titanium. Its dial has been decorated and is elaborately made. The outermost section is grey-blue and made using solid silver. The dial’s central portion is elegantly finished with a blue vitreous enamel. At crescent-shaped section with a disc of gold is engraved.
These models hands are handmade using white gold with blued steel rings at the center and the ends. All the primary markers are in white Gold. Inside the GMT-6 is Voutilainen’s Cal 28. This is a hand-wound movement that has been impeccably constructed and finished. The German silver bridges are plated in black gold and have a frosted finish. All the wheels are made using solid rose gold. Each and every detail of this model’s movement is executed beautifully.
Voutilainen Vingt-8 Kaen
The Kaen is a masterpiece made as a result of the collaboration between Unryuan, a Japan Lacquer studio and Kari Voutilainen. Master Tatsuo Kitamura was the one who guided this project. His works are celebrated highly and command increasingly elevated prices at any auction. The Voutilainen Kaen is no exception. While the dial’s beauty cannot go unrecognized, the patience and dedication taken to make this piece deserves attention too. The movement and dial finishing took a year to complete.
The dial’s visual language is rooted in the Japanese tradition. It is based on a sacred ball-shaped gem(Hojyu) that was believed to have powers to fulfill a wish. The Kaen is different from the Vingt-8 in terms of the movement finishing and artistic decoration. The movement is finished by Unryuan and has a colorful kaleidoscopic emphasizing the craftsmanship and dedication taken to make this piece. The Kaen has a 64-hour power reserve housed in a 39 mm 18k white gold case. It comes accompanied by a matching white gold tang buckle placed on a blue strap.
Voutilainen Vingt-8 Prototype
The prototype Voutilainen is most probably the most powerful Vingt-8 to get to the market. It has been numbered 000, and is the only Vingt-8 that has received a certificate from Besancon Observatory. To get this certificate, the watch went through a testing period. The document states its movement’s actual performance, including its observatory chronometer status. To get this feature, the movement was modified by Kari, and it passed the test.
This timepiece features a platinum case (39 mm) and the distinctive Voutilainen teardrop lugs. Its dial is salmon colored and made with silver. It also features the modified Cal-28 movement, which is expertly finished and elegantly decorated. It is equipped with a frosted baseplate and a line motif made from gold engraved on the bridges. This decoration style from Voutilainen is not often used, and it represents the uniqueness of the brand.