I would imagine like most watchmakers Stepan Sarpaneva is frantically making final preparations for Baselworld. This year the world watch fair is taking place between March 27th and April 3rd 2014. The show has proved a vital platform for Sarpaneva in previous years and has given his watches worldwide exposure. As well as producing his own exquisite timepieces for over ten years he has also collaborated on the phenomenal Moonmachine. This magnificent creation was released in 2012 by high-end luxury goods brand MB & F. I was very fortunate to get the opportunity to review this watch in February 2013.
Last July (2013) I featured Stepan Sarpaneva’s third generation Korona 1. What instantly appealed to me about this watch was its simple clean lines and elegant appearance. By contrast to its predecessors the general aesthetic was a lot more minimalistic. Interestingly as well as producing his exclusive Sarpaneva watches he also has another line called S.U.F. Some of the designs look pretty attractive although in my opinion nothing like as sophisticated as his ‘made to order’ timepieces.
A few months ago Stepan released an image of a forthcoming timepiece on social media network site Facebook. The model in question is called the Uniikki Northern Stars (a combination of the K0 and Korona K3 Northern Stars) and in my opinion one of the best-looking timepieces he has ever created. With a diameter of 46mm it is significantly larger than the Korona 1. These masculine dimensions will undoubtedly appeal to a wide variety of buyers. It also should feel fairly comfortable to wear on a daily basis. This is primarily down to the innovative case design and choice of stainless steel in production. Normally I would prefer titanium but in this instance steel suits the style of the watch better.
Visually the Uniikki Northern Stars is pretty striking and highly original. Facebook is normally a good way for brands to guage interest and 149 people (including myself) have liked this watch so far. For a small independent watchmaker these figures are pretty impressive. The stunning purple dial (which is adopted from the Korona K3 Northern Stars) is a revelation. I love the multi-layered aspect depicting the Little Bear star Constellation. Other sensational features include the delicate hour/minute hands, engraved case back and marvelous trademark rotating moons. Overall the composition is sensational and the finishing absolutely first rate.
To power the Uniikki Northern Stars Stepan has used a modified Soprod A10 calibre. This self-winding movement comprises 25-jewels and oscillates at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour. Functionally the timepiece features hours, minutes and sweeping seconds. It also has a power reserve of 42-hours and is water resistant to a depth of 100 metres.
The Uniikki Northern Stars has a leather strap with matching stainless stainless steel buckle. Priced for the collector at €14,000 (approximately $19,093).