For this Weekly Watch Photo, we continue our independent watchmakers’ tour. After an overview of the Arnold and Son Collection, a very cool photo set of a Speake Marin Wing Commander and a view of the Grönefeld beauties into the wild, we’re having the pleasure to share some timepieces of M. Stepan Sarpaneva. And as we love to do now, all the credits of the photos should be given to the watchmaker himself.
Who is Stepan Sarpaneva?
When you take a look at the Sarpaneva collection, you won’t find any double tourbillon or minute repeater. It is clearly not the point of Stepan Sarpaneva. However, what you’ll get with one of his watches is a strong and unique design, imbued by his native country: Finland. Meaning that it is neat, pure, sometimes quite rough and highly recognizable now. Stepan is certainly among the best watch designers of the actual industry. And, from the words of some of his peers, a very good watchmaker too.
His father, Pentti Sarpaneva, was a famous jewelry designer who’s career started some 50 years ago. His uncle is Timo Sarpaneva who is best known in the art world for innovative work in glass, which he often designed for Iittalla, and a very well known cast-iron pot that even made it onto a Finnish post stamp in 1998. Again, we wouldn’t be surprised if you immediately recognized some of his designs. Here are the roots of the Sarpaneva’s family. Not the worst place to grow you’ll admit. This artistic sense is also (mainly) part of Stepan’s work.
In 2003, Stepan founded Sarpaneva Watches in Helsinki and presented his first collection, inspired by the harshness of its country, his love for custom motorbikes and the now iconic moon-face (and by the way, the moon that he designed and that is so recognizable now is representing… himself!). Alongside the entire collection he created for his own company, Stepan has also collaborated with several other brands, such as MB&F, with the marvelous HM3 Moon Machine as a result.
And here is a view, with Stepan’s own sense of photography, of the Sarpaneva’s workshop.
Now let’s talk watches and see how these beauties feel in the real world. We told you, the moon is a great part of Stepan’s inspiration. That stylized moon-face is probably the best ambassador of the collection and it’s always a pleasure to admire this ‘sketch’ on the wrist. First example of a watch adorning this is the Sarpaneva Korona Kosmos, that we presented to you quite recently, as part of the Baselworld 2014 collection. Don’t confuse this one with the Northem Stars that also uses a moon phase indication. The Korona Kosmos relies on a rotating disc that display the moon position, by showing it partially or hiding it (the moon face here is fixed) and that is perforated with stars. The dial’s construction is highly complex, with multiple skeletonized layers. And that same inspiration can be found on the back of the watch, with a personalized rotor (also skeletonized and adorned with a moon-face).
The other moon-face watch is certainly one of the most eccentric of the collection (if not the most). We’re talking about a very original display. No hands here but a massive ¾ moon on the dial (purely decorative). This is the Moonshine. This is what happened when a designer pushes the button far (but not too far). In the aperture bellow the moon, you can read the time and the moon position thanks to two rotating discs. Clearly not everyone’s watch but, once on the wrist, it definitely works.
Stepan was also inspired by its Korona K0 when taking photos for us. This one is quite far from the other watches that you can find in the collection, as it is a diving watch. But for the rest, it shares the same design and the same inspiration. It is a Sarpaneva. As simple as the K0 (with a zero and not the letter O) can be visually, it is made entirely according to the ISO specifications for dive watches. Meaning: large and luminous hands and markers, water resistance up to 300m and a rotating bezel… Yes, there is a dive time ring, to be precise a internal rotating bezel activated by the crown, that you can use both to wind the movement, to set time and to move that ring. A very masculine watch with a 46mm case. The strength of this watch: integrating the classical diving codes without losing the Sarpaneva’s soul.
More about Sarpaneva on the brand’s official website.