Dear Santa, in case you are reading this article, the timepiece discussed here, is the only thing on my wish-list for Christmas 2014. This edition of the Kari Voutilainen GMT-6 with Art Deco dial is horological art. It is pure, inspired, technical, lavishly finished and elegant. To me, it is perfect in every way. Kari Voutilainen has to be considered as one of the most talented watchmakers of the industry. For all these reasons, wearing one of his watches should always be considered a precious moment.
Kari Voutilainen is a man of contradiction. He’s a very humble and calm man. And he reached a surprising iconic status among the watch collector communities and even in the industry, by just trying to exert his (horological) art without any excess of communication or show-off. He is recognized and applauded for his work – and what a body of work it is. His production numbers are low – around 50 pieces per a year – and that is logical when you consider that he works respectful of traditions and with a practically monastic dedication. As said before, we’re talking about art. So let’s have a closer look at a superb piece: the Kari Voutilainen GMT-6 with Art Deco dial.
Like almost every watch made by Kari Voutilainen, this is unique piece. Engraved or engine-turned dials are the norm here, and most of these dials are one-of-a-kind examples. Although the movements are not entirely unique, they’re quite rare to begin with. To power this art-deco dial, Kari relies on the recently presented GMT-6, which is based on the beautifully constructed Vingt-8.
The GMT-6 shares the same base with the Vingt-8, and features an additional GMT indicator, located at the 6 o’clock position on the dial. It is displayed by a rotating disc showing a second time-zone as well as a day and night indicator. The GMT indication is integrated into the movement, and is not achieved by a module on top of the movement. Compared to the Vingt-8 calibre, the GMT-6 has more than 70 new components.
The movement has a special escapement featuring not one, but two escapement wheels. These give direct impulse to the balance and this construction requires no lubrication. The impulses given by both escapement wheels, are in opposite directions, directly to the balance wheel, through the impulse jewels mounted on the balance staff. The lever in the middle holds the wheels and releases them, one after another, directed by the balance wheel – a huge 13.6mm free sprung balance wheel with 4 masses for fine adjustment that ticks slowly at 18,000vph. The single main spring boasts 65 hours of autonomy, when fully wound.
The finish of this fully in-house manufactured movement is simply stunning. First, the bridges which show a frosted gilt finish, huge and superb hand-chamfered edges, re-entrant angles and polished and beveled screws slots and heads. Then, the balance wheel bridge. It is on itself already a pure feast for the eyes. It is lavishly polished to a round and tapered shape, something that only a very trained hand – and no machine – can achieve. We could also talk about the gears or the ratchet wheel. Every aspect has a level of detailing that is rarely found, even on high-end timepieces.
The dial is in the same vein. We told you, almost every watch made by Kari Voutilainen is unique. This Kari Voutilainen GMT-6 with Art Deco dial is no exception. During Baselworld, earlier this year, we already got to see one with a gilt engine-turned dial, and another one with a bamboo inspired engraving. This one present a typically art-deco pattern, and is engraved by hand. The numbers and the central part reminds us of the monumental atrium of the Chrysler Building. The classical ‘mega pomme’ hands even suits this dial perfectly. The dial-work is gorgeous and the details of the engravings on the hour track are tremendous. The dial is far from ‘pure and clean’, however it showcases a superb level of refinement and discretion.
As you can see, once on the wrist, the complexity of the dial does not come across as too busy; the Art Deco dial shows a subtle and elegant approach. The 39mm case (here in 18K white gold) is typical of Kari’s work: a full mirror polished, round, case with teardrop lugs. A classical design that allows to concentrate on the dial and that is made to be comfortable on the wrist.
Here, at Monochrome-Watches, we’re always trying to keep our articles tinted of objectivity. However, when wearing such a piece, it is extremely difficult to find negative aspects, mainly because of the emotions that this watch transmits. We are not talking about mass products and consumer oriented manufacturing. This Kari Voutilainen GMT-6 is all about passion and is by nature an unreasonable object. The only issue I can find is the price, which is north of € 100k. Although high, it is entirely justified by the unparalleled attention to detail. So, dear Santa, help me, please.
More to discover on Kari Voutilainen’s official website.