S.U.F is a small watch brand based in Helsinki and known mostly by the watch cognoscenti. It exists largely to construct one hundred or so watches each year and allow its owner to indulge his interests and make great watches influenced by the things he himself shares a passion for.
You see S.U.F stands for SarpanevaUhrenFabrik, and the man at the helm is none other than Stepan Sarpaneva – yes he of the menacing moonfaced Korona collections which would scare a small child from twenty paces – and at London’s SalonQP recently he unveiled two new S.U.F pieces, including a limited edition, both unashamed tributes to a childhood hero Jarno Saarinen, or ‘Paroni’ – the Baron – as he was known to his legions of fans around the world.
Saarinen won the motorcycling world road racing championship in 1972, competing in his distinctive red and white leathers and helmet, and before his untimely death at Monza 1973, had become a legend in his own country of Finland, and an idol of the young Stepan Sarpaneva, who has immortalized him for a second time in the new S.U.F Paroni Flying Finn.
The 2015 ‘Paroni’ is immediately striking, thanks to the red and white colour scheme which consumes the dial, accurately representing Saarinen’s crash helmet. A ‘Paroni’ motif above the chequer and Finnish flags are at the 3, and the numerals are straight out of roadside speed limit signage, and are highlighted with a luminous background. The hour indices and hands too have been hand coated with Super LumiNova, as has been a small diamond atop the flame-blued seconds hand. It might be entry level Sarpaneva, but that doesn’t mean that he has skimped on those little details.
S.U.F Paroni is crafted in a 42mm stainless steel case which has been brushed to a satin finish, but take a closer look and a difference between the two models appears as the 50-piece limited edition version features an arrangement in which the movement has been rotated 180° within the case, which sees the heavily grooved crown situated at the 9 o’clock. In a Sarpanevan twist the standard ‘production’ model comes with an added function, the date between the 4 and 5, although it could reasonably be argued that the unspoiled purity of the limited edition dial makes it that little bit more special.
A sapphire exhibition caseback reveals a Soprod A10 automatic self winding movement, Sarpaneva’s ‘weapon of choice’ since abandoning an ETA alternative some years before, in an astute decision which would ensure long term access to the parts he will need for servicing and repairs in the years to come. A 42 hour power reserve and the versatility it offers.
Both models come on the always cool black perforated leather ‘Paroni’ strap with tang buckle and will cost €2,480 or €2,604 for the limited edition.
Stepan Sarpaneva is a perfectionist, and even though his S.U.F watches are less intricate, less time consuming to produce and considerably less expensive than his eponymous Koronas, the attention to detail is the same, and as a result the finished product is a cool, sporty watch with unabashed racing heritage, and something he most likely gets a lot of fun out of doing.
You can contact Stepan Sarpaneva via his website: www.sarpanevawatches.com