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One-Of-A-Kind Voutilainen VINGT-8 Prototype Watch In Platinum

One-Of-A-Kind Voutilainen VINGT-8 Prototype Watch In Platinum Sales & Auctions Sponsored Post

The Kari Voutilainen VINGT-8 watch (which aBlogtoWatch went hands-on with here) is a classic 3-hand piece made in very small numbers for some of the most discerning watch collectors out there. Watch Xchange recently got ahold of a rare, one-of-a-kind Voutilainen VINGT-8 watch in platinum (more here) that is a prototype model numbered 000 and represents the first time the watchmaker used his then newly developed escapement design as well as his first COSC-certified in-house movement.

Undeniably, Kari Voutilainen sits amongst the greats of independent watchmaking. In a peer group shared with Roger Smith, Philippe Dufour, and François-Paul Journe, the Finnish Master Watchmaker practices his horological art from the sleepy hamlet of Môtiers, deep in the Vallée de Joux. Voutilainen and his team of around twenty make fewer than fifty watches a year. His handmade pieces are characterised by their distinct “Kari” design: beautifully engine-turned, guilloché dials, tear-drop lugs, classically finished movements, and with the VINGT-8, in-house mechanics.

Enjoying an enviable reputation, his pieces have long waiting-lists and a growing following of fans that include the world’s biggest collectors. Where others have felt a pinch in recent years, the enterprising Finn, never seems to have been busier.

One-Of-A-Kind Voutilainen VINGT-8 Prototype Watch In Platinum Sales & Auctions

One-Of-A-Kind Voutilainen VINGT-8 Prototype Watch In Platinum Sales & Auctions

Indeed, I remember the first time I got to hold one of his watches. It was the tail end of a balmy London Summer evening when I spotted it on the wrist of a friend. As he rolled up his sleeves, to better resist the weather, I casually inquired if I could take a look.

At the time, I’m ashamed to admit, I knew nothing about Kari or his work. I remember praising the simplicity of the design as I turned the watch over in my hands. With plain, applied Arabic numerals set on a flat, matt surface, divided by sunken chapter rings – there was an art deco quality to the dial, that I loved. This was only improved by being set in a simple, rose-gold case with straight-line lugs.

One-Of-A-Kind Voutilainen VINGT-8 Prototype Watch In Platinum Sales & Auctions

One-Of-A-Kind Voutilainen VINGT-8 Prototype Watch In Platinum Sales & Auctions

After a few minutes of enjoyable distraction, I returned the watch and we continued our conversation. It was only later that I came to appreciate that, however briefly, that night I had held a small piece of horological history in my hands: The very first Observatoire, the first major Voutilainen series watch. Based on a Peseux calibre 260, this highly-modified ébauche was an experimental movement, chronometer-graded by the Observatoire de Besançon to the highest time-keeping standards. For the purists, seeking an accurate, beautifully designed, hand-made watch, this was the perfect addition to any collection.

One-Of-A-Kind Voutilainen VINGT-8 Prototype Watch In Platinum Sales & Auctions

As time passed and his reputation grew, Kari evolved his craft and collectors began to push for something new. Thus was born the VINGT-8, powered by his very own in-house Caliber 28 movement. With his new watch designed and almost entirely built in-house, this was philosophically (and practically) an emancipating step for one of the most independent of independent watchmakers. The movement, however, was not chronometer graded. This is incredibly hard to achieve, both economically and materially, and ultimately not why many collectors covet watches produced by the Finnish, master watchmaker. In effect, a necessary compromise on the path to true independence.

One-Of-A-Kind Voutilainen VINGT-8 Prototype Watch In Platinum Sales & Auctions

One-Of-A-Kind Voutilainen VINGT-8 Prototype Watch In Platinum Sales & Auctions

And so, it appeared, ended the story. Except, well, not quite…

Known only to a very small number of people, one Voutilainen VINGT-8 did actually pass the test and become chronometer-graded. A prototype, rebuilt several times and highly modified, this is the only Voutilainen of its kind in existence, to my knowledge. In some ways, it’s almost the “missing link” between the Observatoire and the VINGT-8. In Kari’s own words at the time “this particular watch, number 000, represent[ed] the very first time that a watch using my new escapement design [had been] issued a certificate from Besançon Observatory.”

One-Of-A-Kind Voutilainen VINGT-8 Prototype Watch In Platinum Sales & Auctions

To achieve this, Kari stated that the movement underwent “several notable changes concerning the weight of the balance itself, the configuration of balance screws, as well as the design of certain escapement parts.” He also said, “these optimisations represent a further refinement of my dual-escapement wheel concept and have also led to a notable decrease in power consumption of the entire movement design.”

Cased in a 39mm platinum case with a champagne dial, this was already a fantastic watch, but with a one-of-a-kind, upgraded, prototype movement, holding this watch reminds me of that feeling I experienced holding the first Observatoire. Watch Xchange is proud to offer this one of a kind piece for £70,000.

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  • Bill W

    OK, well, quite a departure from recent sponsoredposts. I wonder if, very deep down, this watch was inspired by aviation or motorsports.

  • Marius

    This is a beautiful watch, but I am slightly confused. Shouldn’t such a watch sell without the need of a sponsored post. I mean, I thought that such watches would sell immediately and wouldn’t even need to appear on the dealer`s website. Maybe it’s the overall bad state of the watch industry.

    Also, £70,000 equals almost 80,000 Swiss francs, and for this price I would rather go to Voutilainen and order a brand new bespoke watch from him.

    • Berndt Norten

      Exactly… and that’s probably why it’s a sponsored post. Perhaps the watch was acquired for a good price. Now it’s time to flip it, flip it real good! This is really more like a classified ad…on the world’s most popular watch blog.

    • Bill W

      Eh, I prefer Lary Koutilainen. 🙂

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Love it love it love it. From the beautiful colour of the face and a gorgeous movement with some fine work on the metal.The work on the face is beautifully done and at last i can see the time at glace without some dumb ” think outside the box ” movements i’ve seen recently. The price ? , well that’s a bit cheeky baring in mind what i could get for the price of this relatively unknown maker, but this is a solidly made piece. At 39 mm it would look a bit girly on me.

    • Timestandsstill

      Well, maybe one of the most well known of the “relatively unknown” 😉

  • BrJean

    Never seen a watch with caramel-made dial before.

  • srs144

    My goodness. An undeniable work of art.

  • wallydog2

    Be still, my heart.

  • word-merchant

    This, the sapphire Hublot or a snappy little hottie by Janis Trading? Horological decisions are getting harder each day. The Hublot says I’m a streetwise playa and keepah of durty ho’s, the Janis says I’m a cool barista boi with an espresso to impresso, and this one says I’m Bill Nighy. And he rocks.

  • laup nomis

    Delightful movement, love its simplicity. Beautiful colour, hands, etc. As others have said its art, where art meets engineering. Extremely covetable.

  • The patient zero of an horological outbreak of magnificent and highly tasty proportions.

  • MEddie90

    perfectly sums up why the Vingt-8 is my profile pic, iit’s probably the most perfectly conceived movement I can think of. Well proportioned, classical layout, gorgeous balance and black polished bridge plus a level of finishing few can match. The addition of a guilloche bridge layout is icing on the cake (though I think I personally prefer the frosted finish).

    The watch its’self is beautifully unique, the exaggerated breguet hands, three dimensional guilloche dial and applied numerals are subtly art deco and unimmitatable and i’m not afraid to say I think the case suits the design well. An excellent example of why I love independents, no sterile design by committee or lack of flare and character, these are different watches executed to the highest possible degree and show a real integrity and passion.

    • Berndt Norten

      That’s a brilliant description of the watch. I love the way it has one foot firmly in tradition and one foot is just out there, betraying KV’s daring and originality.

    • egznyc

      Would this be your Grail watch, then? “Was there a time in your life when you actually had it within your grasp?” In all seriousness, thanks for such a nice description of this awesome watch!

  • SuperStrapper

    Nice, but certainly not my favourite iteration of the 8. The possibilities with it are endless, so why would I want a dial the colour of baby food? Lol champagne.

    As usual, it would look better with centre seconds. And I’d prefer something slightly more wearable than the almost-waifish 39mm.

  • ??????

    True piece of eternal art. Everything about it speaks pure horology and brilliance in watchmaking, its just opposite from Hublot. I would prefer the Philippe Dufour Simplicity, but they are at same unbeatable level imo.

  • Timestandsstill

    Nice watch (as so many have already pointed out so much more descriptively)

    • hatster

      Ditto. I am a simple soul so read what MEddie90 says below to get a feel of what the rest of us seem to think. My only nit-pick (and this would not stop me buying this instantly if I could afford it) is that I think the hands should be simpler. I would lose the cut-out circles, they feel a little incongruous with the rest of the design. But I love the dial/case/numerals contrast.

  • thecouchguy

    If this was in my budget I’d be all over it. Way better than that unreadable all black Hublot on the other page.