Since the release of their first watch in 2012, the Finnish independent brand Rönkkö has produced a handful of compelling timepieces with watchmaker Antti Rönkkö at the helm. Much like his Finnish peers Stepan Sarpaneva and Kari Voutilainen, Rönkkö takes a distinct avant-garde approach to his designs, which is often one of the joys of discovering new independents. One thing to note is that each design centers around stories rooted in Greek mythology. Even more compelling in the Rönkkö Icarus Silver Sky Edition watch, however, is the in-house bi-hemispheric moon complication which tracks moon phases in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.
As this is not the brand's first watch, we should begin with some background in order to put the Rönkkö Icarus into context. The first Rönkkö watch, called the Steel Labyrinth, was fully designed and produced in-house, according to the brand. In corresponding with Mr. Rönkkö, he speaks with the passion and obstinance of a true craftsman, emphasizing the more than five years of development and over 20 different movement layouts he tried before finalizing his first movement, called the AR1. He says that hand-finishing (using "classical watchmakers tools"), assembly, and fine-tuning would take about 400 hours.
Returning to the watch at hand, the movement in the Rönkkö Icarus Silver Sky Edition is a Soprod A10 movement modified with the in-house moonphase complication, but we are clearly talking about the kind of independent watchmaker that offers a unique perspective, true exclusivity due to extremely limited quantities, and hand-craftsmanship.
The moonphase complication is one of the more romantic features in watchmaking. Though relatively common today, it is welcome when manufacturers move beyond its most basic function and introduce unique elements that can make a piece more interesting. When first taking a look at the Rönkkö Icarus Silver Sky Edition watch, one might be able to find some stylistic similarities to pieces from fellow Finnish watchmaker Sarpaneva who also has a distinct penchant for the moonphase complication.
The Rönkkö Icarus Silver Sky Edition serves up an interesting approach to the complication that also incorporates visual elements of the narrative it is tied to, the Greek tale of Icarus and Daedalus. This continues the theme of past Rönkkö creations, the Labyrinth watch with a handmade AR1 movement and Minotaur watch with a dual moon complication, which are also inspired by Greek myths but similarly have the angular, architectural, and lattice-like design elements that give the watch a dramatic and three-dimensional visual effect.
With that noted, let's get into some of the technical details. The Rönkkö Icarus Silver Sky Edition comes in a hand-finished stainless steel case that is 42mm wide and 11.75mm thick. That's much thinner than what I was expecting upon first look, and it appears to give the watch a compact feel while retaining the dial's sense of depth. The bezel and lug tops are satin-finished by hand with mirror-polished edges, and a single signed crown at 3 o'clock serves to adjust each of the watch's functions. Other features include 30 meters of water-resistance and anti-reflective sapphire crystals on the dial and case back sides.
Looking at the dial, we start to get an idea of how the bi-hemispheric moon complication actually works. It's a skeletonized design with a brushed horizontal structure that represents the dark side of the moon for each hemisphere at 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock. As the 10.5mm electrum (gold and silver alloy) Icarus moon talismans move counterclockwise, the wearer will then get an idea of the moon phases in the Northern (top dial side) and Southern (bottom dial side) hemispheres.
Two simple, syringe-like hands with Super-LumiNova indicate the hours and minutes, and the absence of a dedicated seconds hand allows for an unobstructed view of the moonphase complication and the dial's details. While the skeletonized hour index and Icarus engravings on the discs are a nice touch, my favorite part of the dial has to be the luminous constellation chart with Polaris in the center of the main rotating disc that works together with the Icarus talismans.
As mentioned previously, the Rönkkö Icarus Silver Sky Edition is powered by a modified Soprod A10 movement operating at 28,800vph with 42 hours of power reserve. Though it isn't exactly fully visible from the case back, it has been decorated with some circular graining. The case back also reveals a single, free-rotating steel Icarus talisman that works alongside another skeletonized structure above the movement. While I like the thematic connection here, I can't help but think that I would've preferred a clear view of the movement. Finally, from the case back we can see just how well the matte black alligator strap integrates with the case. It features a matched stitching pattern and a stainless steel buckle with an embossed Rönkkö logo.
Like a lot of designs brought to us by independents, the Rönkkö Icarus Silver Sky Edition won't necessarily click with everyone. Still, I find that my desire to learn more about this alternative watchmaking genre paired with its quirky take on moon phase tracking makes this a watch I would love to see in person. It seems very wearable, and although I don't feel a deep connection with the story attached to it, designs like this will keep you looking closer again and again. The Rönkkö Icarus Silver Sky Edition watch is limited to ten pieces and is priced at €15,400 excluding VAT. ronkkowatches.fi