East meets West – Kari Voutlainen 28 Sarasamon
Most Monochrome readers know Kari Voutilainen and of where he stands in the spectrum of watchmakers and brands all together. Exactly… somewhere near the summit. I was more than surprised to see Kari latest venture, a collaboration with one of the greatest the Japanese lacquer studios, Unryuan, which is under the guidance of mister T. Kitamura.
Both men can be considered the pinnacle in their respective fields of work and a collaboration between these two men brings something more than the sum of both. One and one is three? Well, just have a look at how incredibly stunning the dial, created by the Unryuan studios, is. The dial features lacquering, using Saiei Maki-e and Somata Zaiku techniques, which takes several months of work to complete.
The raw materials used for the 28 Sarasamon are: Kinpun (gold dust), Jyunkin-itakane (gold leaf), Yakou-gai (shell of great green turban) and Awabi-gai (abalone shell from New Zealand). First gold ‘channels’ are created, which are then filled with layers of a special organic compound made from an ancient recipe. Minuscule pieces of hand cut shell are placed in patterns. Not just nice patterns, no, extreme attention has been paid to the variations of color and the directions in which each fragment catches and reflects the light. Additional layers of lacquer and gold are applied and between each step everything is polished.
This is a magnificent symbiosis of Japanese tradition with Swiss Haute Horlogerie, is so strikingly beautiful that it cannot be ignored. Art that unites the East and West in perfect harmony. The ‘Swiss’ part of this symbiosis is Kari Voutilainen’s in-house developed and manufactured movement, which features a new direct impulse escapement with two escapement wheels.
When Voutilainen launched the Twenty-8 (or 28) we described the movement and all it’s particularities in details; check here for that article. The main plate and bridges are executed in German silver, the wheels are in rose gold and 21 jewels make sure that pivots rotate without friction. The free sprung balance (diameter 13.60 mm) with a Grossman interior curve and a Philips exterior curve, vibrates at 18,000 vph.
All this, the unique dial created by the legendary Japanese lacquer studio Unryuan and Voutilainen’s splendid own movement, is brought together in the iconic Voutilainen case, measuring 37.00 mm in diameter and 10.80 mm in height. Let’s enjoy the full size photo of this overwhelming piece of art.