The category of modern independent watchmaking covers a wide range of players, from avant-garde brands that push the boundaries of design and mechanical expression to artisans who practice centuries of watchmaking craftsmanship in their workshops. A name is constantly present in all permutations of the category of modern independent watchmaking – a watchmaker with an eponymous brand and a traditional watchmaking workshop, whose work is also associated with one of the most “independent” brands. known, and who began his professional career within a large independent Swiss manufacturer. This man is Kari Voutilainen.
Kari Voutilainen © Voutilainen
Born in Finland in 1962, Voutilainen received his first studies in watchmaking at the Tapiola watchmaking school before taking an advanced course in complications watches at the famous Swiss institute, Watchmakers of Switzerland Training and Educational Program (WOSTEP). After gaining experience in the catering service of Parmigiani Fleurier, Voutilainen returned to WOSTEP to teach, showing a desire to pass on know-how and know-how – a desire that has defined his career ever since. His eponymous house, based in Môtiers, presented its first creation at Baselworld in 2005, and Voutilainen’s watches have become synonymous with high-end finishes, characterized by a soft but incandescent glow that has captivated watch enthusiasts the world over. Voutilainen’s signature timepiece, the Vingt-8, has won numerous industry awards, including several trophies from the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG). Connoisseurs of technical watchmaking particularly appreciated its exclusive escapement, a version of Breguet’s natural direct-impulse double escapement. Since 2011, Voutilainen has lent his talent to the cult brand MB&F, setting the standards for beautiful hand finishing as shown in its Legacy Machine collection.
Its dial factory in the Val-de-Travers region of Switzerland, Comblémine, supplies exceptional dials adorned with hand-applied guillochage to a variety of companies ranging from his fellow independent watchmakers Grönefeld to Schwarz Etienne based in La Chaux- de-Fonds.
* On the occasion of GMT Magazine and the 20 years of WorldTempus, we embarked on the ambitious project of summarizing the last 20 years of watchmaking in The Book of the Millennium Watch, a large, beautifully appointed coffee table book. This article is an excerpt. The Book of the Millennium Watch is available on www.the-watch-book.com, in French and English, with a 10% discount if you use the following code: WT2021.