Voutilainen V-8R Watch Hands-On

Voutilainen V-8R Watch Hands-On

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Watches that emerge from the Voutilainen workshop in Môtiers, Switzerland are the kind of creations that can weaken the knees of any watch nerd. Their entirely handmade watches are the result of one Kari Voutilainen, a Finnish watchmaker trained at WOSTEP with a specialization in restoring complicated and rare wristwatches. After eventually teaching at WOSTEP, Kari launched his own independent brand in 2002. Voutilainen watches represent a very special proposition to a specific type of enthusiast collector, or more simply put, if you can afford one, do it. Characterized by extremely limited production, customized service and the promise of something both technically interesting and quite beautiful, a Voutilainen would be a prize in any collection. This year at Baselworld, we got a chance to spend a few minutes with their lovely V-8R, an elegant dress piece with an interesting movement and stunning details.

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The Voutilainen V-8R is a 39mm dress watch that can be had in platinum or 18K red or white gold. Its elegant aesthetic promotes both legibility and the discovery of a wide range of subtle detailing from the coloring of the gold and steel hands to the contrast of the distinct finishing for the two sub displays on the silver dial. The hand-turned dial is a rich charcoal grey, with a wavy guilloché finishing and applied indices rendered in white gold. Both the sub seconds and power reserve display feature framed sub-dials that match the simple branding and the Arabic markers for three, nine, and twelve.

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Inside the 11.4mm thick case beats an in-house, hand wound movement with a number of noteworthy aspects. Designed from the ground up to be hand wound, the V-8R's movement offers a retrograde power reserve display that shows the remaining reserve in the movement's innovative winding barrel. While the movement technically provides 65 hours of power reserve from full to empty, Voutilainen has implemented a Maltese Cross to limit the power reserve to just 49 hours, cutting off the low-torque power derived from a barrel that is running into its final hours.

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A winding barrel uses a spring (called the mainspring) to retain the energy needed to power a mechanical movement. As the mainspring winds down there comes a point in its total power output where the power provided by the barrel does not provide the necessary torque to maintain the accuracy of the movement, causing the rate to slow. The V-8R is designed to cut off the supply of power before the accuracy of timekeeping is affected. This mechanism ensures the movement gets only the best possible power from the mainpsring. Along with the intricate power reserve system, the V-8R also boasts a direct impulse escapement with dual escapement wheels and a free sprung balance that runs at a relatively slow 18,000 vph. This interesting and complex movement can be viewed via the V-8R's sapphire display case back.

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The V-8R is limited to 25 pieces with a starting price of $87,200. Given both the price and the limited hand-made nature, it was a treat just to see the Voutilainen V-8R in person. If you ever get the chance to experience a Voutilainen for yourself, be sure to take the time to appreciate the level of perfection and detail that Kari demonstrates with his watches. The V-8R is undoubtedly a subtle and beautiful watch that hides much of its complexity beneath a layer of detailed finishing and fine design. voutilainen.ch

  • http://IndividualDesign.com/ MarkCarson

    Cool watch. I was able to also sit down with Kari at Baeslworld 2013 and he patiently showed me one of his other one-off hand-made pieces. He is the real deal and a real nice person also. I agree that one of his watches would be a highlight of any watch collection.

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  • Ruutzy

    I am admittedly a sucker for some kind of skeletonization of the watch face but this particular piece really got my attention with the understated but very classy dial. The fact that the movement is so complex but remains hidden beneath the downplayed surface kind of makes it like the owners private little secret. Congratulations to anyone lucky enough to experience such a delight!

  • Ryan B

    Beautiful movement

  • bichondaddy

    Maybe it’s just me…I love the view of the movement on the back…but the dial….well…just does not do a thing for me.  I guess it’s my dislike of black dials.  I would love the watch with a silver dial with furnace blue hands….but I imagine if I had the funds to shell out almost $90,000 for one…I could probably get one made with a silver dial and furnace blue hands.

  • Kris C

    This watch reminds me of the batman villian 2face. On the front, it’s uninspired and to be honest, cheap looking. Flip it over and its a complete stunner. 

    The 18k beat rate is a total cop out, we’ve discussed this before. $90k in precious metals, so in steel it would be (theoretically) worth what? $70k? What a joke.

  • bluzer

    I love it! I also like clasic blued hands but these are a very interesting twist. Nice to see he kept it under 40mm which IMHO all classy watches should be.
    James, it’s been my experience that when watches wind down they actually speed up. I’ve read several times that the cause is due to the weaker impulse from the escapement not sending the balance swinging as far, increasing the oscillation frequency.
    Are you saying the opposite effect is true for “direct” impulse escapements?

  • Ulysses31

    Kris C Bingo, I feel the same way.  Voutilainen have done way better dials.

  • Ulysses31

    bichondaddy Not their finest work if you ask me.  Check out the stunning 28 Sarasamon.

  • JonnyD

    MarkCarson  
    I’m very envious of that opportunity you had Mark. A  Voutilainen is my grail watch. His movements are exquisite, just look at his MB&F work and this is even topping that. I actually really like the dial on this one. The V-8R has been nominated for this year’s GPHG.

  • JonnyD

    MarkCarson 
    I’m very envious of that opportunity you had Mark. A  Voutilainen is my
    grail watch. His movements are exquisite, just look at his MB&F work
    and this is even topping that. I actually really like the dial on this
    one. The V-8R has been nominated for this year’s GPHG.

  • http://IndividualDesign.com/ MarkCarson

    JonnyD Ariel suggested I go to the Independents (ACHI) booth which is where I got to talk to Kari and also the Gronefeld brothers (Tim and Bart) who were very friendly and just real guys. I missed talking to Stepan Sarpaneva as he was busy with someone else. It was like a 20 x20 foot room filled with horological rock stars!

  • PellikaanTiming

    Kari Voutilainen goes on where George Daniels stopped!
    I love the double escapement, this is why:

    the escapement separated the two functions: 1 giving the balance a good
    swing 2 letting the balance regulate the geartrain so that it keeps at
    18000 rph
    – the double detent gears each swing the balance in
    their turn. Detent gears dont slide, so dont need much lubrication, they
    just push
    – the anchor just locks the gears when they are done
    giving a swing, and it unlocks the gears when they need to give a swing.
    Again no lubrication, or little and less critical is needed.

    and finally, the angle in which the balance is kept from free swinging
    is (probably) reduced. This means that the balance can be capable  of running a lot more accurate then the typical swiss escapement.
    So far so good, I woud have loved to invent this machine 😉

    Hubert Pellikaan

  • aleximd2000

    no date no love and it is too cheap for my value

  • Nouveau Riche

    But for the hands it’d have been a classier watch. No date is a plus.

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