Finland is not the first place people with an interest in watches tend to think of, but there’s legitimate watchmaking being done in the Scandinavian country. Of course, us being MONOCHROME, we mainly focus on independent watchmakers such as Stepan Sarpaneva or Kari Voutilainen, but there’s more to it than that. It’s just not every day we hear something new and exciting coming from Finland. But low and behold, Finnish watchmaking company Leijona just announced a brand new series of watches involving, you’ve guessed it; Kari Voutilainen! Here’s the Leijona Försti Diver.
Leijona probably doesn’t ring too many bells, but the company’s history dates back to 1907 when Johan Werner Lindroos started importing watches into Finland. The name Leijona is Finnish for Lion, which makes sense given the company’s logo. Owned by the Perkko family since 1919, the Leijona brand has endured hardships like WWII and the quartz crisis, and is still operational today. With watches produced in Switzerland, Leijona has presented the Heritage 1907 project, which introduces several watch collections developed in close collaboration with fellow-Finn Kari Voutilainen. According to Leijona, all watches are assembled, tested and regulated under the scrutiny of Voutilainen & Catin SA, based in Switzerland before being sent to Finland for final checks and distributed to retailers and clients.
One such model to emerge from the Heritage 1907 project, is the Leijona Försti Diver, which comes in two variations. The Försti Diver has a subtle retro barrel-shaped case, measuring 41mm in diameter and 12.75mm in height. The design is based on a quartz-powered diving watch made by Leijona in the 1970s. It features alternating brushed and polished finishes, with a screw-down crown protected by crown guards. The bezel rotates one way only and is fitted with a coloured bezel insert and a domed sapphire crystal. The solid caseback has a laser-engraved Leijona logo (complete with snorkel and goggles).
The Leijona Försti Diver is available as a non-limited version with a black dial, and a black and red bezel insert. The other model, with a white dial and a blue bezel insert, is limited to 50 pieces only. Both dials, made by Kari Voutilianen’s dial manufacturing company Comblemine, feature a mix of round, rectangular and triangular indices. All indices are finished with Super-LumiNova.
The hour and minute hands are straight, with a luminous insert, and paired with a lollipop seconds hand (also luminous). At three you can find a date window revealing the white disc with black digits underneath. Leijona supplies each model with a replacement bezel insert, to change the look if desired (see below).
Power comes from the Sellita SW200 automatic movement. This reliable alternative to the ETA 2824 has proven its worth by now and is a sensible choice, as it can be easily serviced. It runs at a frequency of 28,800vph and provides 38 hours of power reserve when fully wound.
The Leijona Försti Diver comes on a stainless steel five-link bracelet with a fine-adjustment clasp. Depending on which reference, you also get a secondary rubber strap in either black or blue. The watch retails for EUR 4,490 for both models, which took us by surprise considering the competition it is up against. For that kind of money, there are a lot of strong alternatives on the market.
The Leijona Försti Diver is available through selected retailers across Finland or through the brand’s eCommerce platform. For more information, please visit LeijonaHeritage.com.