Two Important Voutilainen Watches Go For Sale At A Collected Man – Robb Report
A Collected Man, the London-based watch retailer known for getting its hands on extraordinary pre-owned pieces made by some of the greatest living independent watchmakers, has just released two ultra-rare pieces for sale.
One of the big names that site founder Silas Walton keeps in his lap is Kari Voutilainen. The Finnish-born, Swiss-based watchmaker only makes 50-60 watches a year, but has developed a cult following among serious collectors. Two high caliber examples of his work being offered for sale is an opportunity that doesn’t come around very often.
To be won, a Voutilainen Minute Repeater 10 at the price of $1,321,000. It is a unique piece in a 38mm steel case housing a classic minute repeater – striking the hours, quarters and minutes via two hammers striking two gongs – executed in an openwork design on both sides so that its wearer can enjoy a full theater view of its mechanism in action. It comes with a superb finish – the company is revered for the level of its techniques – including classic Côtes de Genève bridges and a snail grain mainplate.
At less than a third of the price of the Minute Repeater 10, but still not for the shallow pockets, is a 39mm Observatory in 18k rose gold for $382,000. It is estimated that only 50 examples of this watch were made, but what sets this piece apart from the very limited number in existence is the use of triangular indexes at 12 and 6 o’clock above the numerals. While seemingly inconsequential, it’s worth noting that this detail appeared on the first Observatory ever made and has only been seen on a handful since. Voutilainen now refuses requests to have this design feature on all other watches it makes, meaning this model is an exception and therefore highly collectible. Its hand-turned dial is adorned with three guilloché patterns as well as horns and teardrop-shaped hands, an unusual take on the classic Breguet-style hands that are known for their moon-tipped design, are all features immediately recognizable from the design of the model. .
For a bit of history, Voutilainen first introduced the Observatory at the request of a collector. The customer came to see him to make a movement with old Peseux 260 components – the Peseux 260 caliber was an observatory-competition movement used by brands to take part in chronometry competitions. He wanted her in a time-only watch with straight lugs. The project required a year of negotiation and research for parts before being delivered as a unique piece in 2007. It won the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève in the “Best Men’s Watch” category the same year. The watch was nicknamed “the Observatory” because the customer took the final piece to the Besançon Observatory in Besançon, France, to be officially tested and certified as an observatory chronometer. It’s a step up from the industry standard COSC certification, as it inspects the entire watch for accuracy rather than just the movement. This decision would lead the Besnaçon Observatory to launch a new chronometer certification. The watch eventually spawned around 50 more iterations, thus launching Voutilainen’s career as an independent watchmaker. Moreover, it wasn’t just a recreation of a Peseux 260 movement – Voutilainen modified the entire escapement, using its own balance wheel, hairspring and escapement mechanism (notoriously difficult-to-produce components internally).
As a result, this piece is an important slice of modern horological history. You might find one at auction one day, but you’ll pay a higher premium, with auctions driving up the price and including fees.
Act fast, before these two beauties disappear.