Independent watchmaking is my first love. Others may started with house names such as Panerai, Patek Philippe or Audemars Piguet.
Strange as it may sound, I always think the world of haute horlogerie should be about personalization, individuality and engagement with the creator of a watch.
Each of the independent bring so much of their personality to their creations and this is exactly what I saw when I met Stepan in person for the first time at Basel 2013. Sure I have seen some of his creations prior but that first personal interaction provided wealth of information that enabled me to understand him as a person so much more. More insights were provided when he gave me a parting gift, a booklet titled, “The Oddball World of Stepan Sarpaneva”, that tells the story about him, his family and his journey to become an independent.
I went from that Basel meeting impressed with not just the person, but his creations, and started to think which of his creations would represent him the best, so the search was on. From the new at that time K0 to K3, I wanted to pick a model that clearly has his personality as well as one that can suit my taste and my smallish wrist.
Throughout the process, email communication with Stepan never ceases as he shared multiple variations of each model so that I can see the full range of possibilities – and people, this is what I call personalized service. Finally, I decided on K3 Northern Stars. My fondness of blue color with his signature moon in white gold did the trick.
Apparently the personalization did not stop there. Throughout the process Stepan sent over pictures to show the progress of the watch but at the same time, few more decision points need to made. From color of chapter ring to moon ring, the possibilities seem endless. In the end, I came to a decision which I think provide the best end result without sacrificing what makes a Sarpaneva watch very interesting, which is the depth of the dial and that moon face.
Few months passed until I received news from Stepan that my watch has been completed. A photo of the completed watch gave me a glimpse of how the watch looks like, but as like any other person, I can’t wait to see in the metal.
The day it arrived, I had one of the most pleasant surprise. The watch has exceeded any expectation that I have with its beautifully polished 42 mm case armed with deep dial adorned by two Sarpaneva moons.
The blue and silver chapter rings provide enough legibility for the watch together with the sharp dual polished hands. And to my surprise, I actually got the third moon, which adorns the winding rotor at the back.
If there is one issue that I have is the fact that the leather strap is too supple since the padding is quite thick hence it was hard to follow the contour of my wrist at the beginning.
Overall, I think the quality of the watch is indeed top notch with nothing left spared. And at the same time, I go the personalization that I seek and most importantly, I develop a new friendship with Stepan which I think is also one of the most important aspect from this hobby that we are all love.
Stepan’s watches are not for everyone because of its unique and daring approach but one thing I can say is that wearing Stepan’s creation will convey a person’s personality more than other watches that I own and for that, I have to say thanks to him. See you in Basel 2014 my friend.