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Rare Watches: Voutilainen Détente Escapement Tourbillon Wristwatch

by Peter Chong on August 31, 2014

Kari Voutilainen is one of the most interesting watchmakers living with us today. And when he delivers a significant wristwatch, first in the hands of a collector and a pièce unique, the event needs to be recorded.

 

One of our Deployant friends took delivery of this magnificent watch, and we took the opportunity to photograph and give a hands-on view of the piece. This is a wristwatch which utilizes an escapement with a Pivoted Détente Escapement Tourbillon. We spoke to Kari Voutilainen , who personally delivered the watch to its new owner, and he revealed that he began this project in 1995, and almost the entire watch, from dial, hands and movement is hand made by himself. Kari revealed that this is the kind of work he enjoys most, working silently in his atelier and creating magnificent and technically challenging timepieces.

 

Voutilainen Détente Escapement Tourbillon Wristwatch

Voutilainen Pivoted Détente Escapement Tourbillon Wristwatch

 

The dial is typical Voutilainen style, with appliqué Roman and bar hour markers and a gorgeous hand guilloché dial. The dial is most beautiful, with the guilloché pattern made by hand on a rose machine.

 

Hand guilloché dial.

Hand guilloché dial. The dial is made of gold, with gold applique numerals. The hands are also hand made and also in gold is soldered to a blued steel ring providing added contrast to make legibility even better.

 

The watch case is almost sans bezel, the front crystal extending and showing the entire dial, making the watch look lighter and less bulky than the dimensions suggest. Legibility is excellent.

 

Voutilainen Detent Escapement Tourbillon.

Voutilainen Detent Escapement Tourbillon. The case is classical, and typical of Voutilainen watches with the beautiful teardrop lugs. And hand guilloché gold dial with gold applique numerals makes a very beautiful watch.

 

The movement is magnificent, with the tourbillon cage, which measures some 16mm in a 32mm movement taking center stage. A half plate covers the rest of the wheel train, and none of the wheels are exposed.

 

The movement. A plate, in  untreated German Silver, covers and supports the entire wheel train. A magnificent one arm cock supports the tourbillon.

The movement, magnificent and breath taking. The main plate, in untreated German Silver, covers and supports the entire wheel train. A magnificent one arm cock supports the tourbillon, anchored with a very traditionally styled plate. Note also the name plate is in gold, and attached to the main plate by screws.

 

The movement finish is exemplary. The classical finnasage elements are designed and excuted par excellence. We love the sensuous curve of the mainplate, the beautifully sharp points of the anchor for the tourbillon cock. We also love the juxtaposition of the black polished steel tourbillon cock and the untreated German Silver main plate, the beautifully polished, conical steel tourbillon cock extending from its black polished anchor to the ruby endstone for the tourbillon cage, held by a rose gold chaton. Magnificent!

 

The anchor of the cock which hold the tourbillon.

The anchor of the cock which hold the tourbillon.
Note the magnificent execution of the anglage, and the sharp curved points of the anchor plate. This anchor plate is in black polished steel, and magnificently executed. See the sharp points and the even, shiny anglage and chamfering for the screw openings. The base plate is in untreated German Silver, with fausse côte. Note also the gold chaton holding the jewel. And the chamferred openings where the screws holding the rounded, polished cock is affixed to the plate and to affix the plate to the base plate of the movement.

 

The movement beats at 18,000 bph, 19 jewels, and runs on on a single barrel, with a power reserve of nearly 48 hours, despite the large tourbillon cage and balance wheel. The pivoted detent escapement is used in the escapement, and the entire escapement runs dry, sans lubrication.

 

The tourbillon cage is attached to the cock, running on a ruby with  a rose gold chaton. The cage is very light and entirely made by hand.

The tourbillon cage is attached to the cock, running on a ruby with a rose gold chaton. The cage is very light and entirely made by hand.  Also of interest is the hairspring which features a Grossmann inside curve and Philips overcoil.

 

The watch feels great on the hand and on the wrist.

 

Voutilainen Détente Escapement Tourbillon

Voutilainen Détente Escapement Tourbillon

 

And on the reverse

 

Voutilainen Détente Escapement Tourbillon, movement side.

Voutilainen Détente Escapement Tourbillon, movement side.

 

Our impression is that though the photograph below it sits amongst lemons, it certainly is not one, and in our opinion, represents a true masterpiece.

 

Voutilainen Détente Escapement Tourbillon resting amongst lemons.

Voutilainen Détente Escapement Tourbillon resting amongst lemons.

 

p.s. Photographs taken on site at a restaurant. And as this is a pièce unique which has already been sold, there is no press documentation for the watch. Technical details and information directly from Kari Voutilainen in our discussion over lunch. Some technical drawings and photographs of Kari working on the watch may be available later, and we will update this article.

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