Over the last few months I have written many articles featuring members of the AHCI (Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants). Effectively this is a really exclusive organisation devoted to fine international watchmaking. In fact some of their elite craftsmen are producing some absolutely exquisite and extraordinary results. Ultimately this collective is a great idea because numerous individual artists can combine their resources to get more exposure within the industry. This means that they stand a chance of competing against the three main groups (Swatch, Richemont and LVMH).
Although I have written about Kari Voutilainen for other magazines I haven’t reviewed any of his watches on Total Watch Reviews. Although saying that I did feature this watch (which won the Men’s Watch Prize in the prestigious Grand Prix d’Horlogerie competition) as part of my Baselworld 2014 coverage. He was born in Finland in 1962 and has an extensive career spanning 30 years. Essentially he has paved the way for innovative watchmakers like Stepan Sarpaneva and Antti Rönkkö. Normally he is associated with the development of very intricate and complicated mechanical movements. This incredibly high level of skill has led to collaborations with other luxury brands including MB & F (Maximilian Büsser and Friends).
A few weeks ago I visited The Paragon boutique (http://www.thehourglass.com) in Singapore and they kindly allowed me the opportunity to try on the marvelous Voutilainen V-8R. My first impression was how small it appeared especially because I am used to wearing and reviewing much larger watches. However I can appreciate that the 39mm diameter will appeal to traditional male buyers and potentially the unisex market. Generally I found the timepiece felt lightweight and sat comfortably on my wrist. Primarily this is down to the classical case design and choice of luxurious 18-karat white gold in production.
Visually the façade of the V-8R is absolutely fantastic and worthy of all of the praise it has been awarded. I personally feel the watch has an abundance of features, character and charm. What makes this timepiece so appealing is the wonderful silver guilloche engraved dial. This characteristic gives the watch a really high quality and opulent appearance. Other notable details include Voutilainen’s trademark hour/minute hands, small second counter (located at 6 o’clock) and retrograde power reserve indication. Overall the design is cohesive and as always the finishing is first rate.
At the heart of the watch is a highly accomplished manual winding movement. This Caliber comprises 21-jewels and oscillates at a frequency of 18,000 vibrations per hour (2.5Hz). Every component (excluding the mainspring and hairspring) has been handcrafted, decorated and assembled at the Voutilainen workshops in Switzerland. This extraordinary mechanism is perfectly showcased through the sapphire crystal exhibition case back. Functionally the V-8R features hours, minutes, small seconds and a power reserve of approximately 50-hours.
The V-8R has a hand sewn crocodile strap with matching 18-karat white gold buckle.
For more information about Kari Voutilainen visit his website: http://www.voutilainen.ch