Voutilainen Vingt-8 Aki-No-Kure
2017 GPHG Artistic Crafts Category Finalist
Beautiful beyond words, hypnotic in its three-dimensional detail, and perfection in its immaculate finishing, the Vingt-8 Aki-No-Kure by Kari Voutilainen is a masterpiece within a masterpiece.
In 2014 Kari Voutilainen won this same award with his spectacular Vingt-8 Hisui, which featured a dial of hand crafted Japanese lacquer from a tradition of many hundreds of years. The result of a close collaboration between watchmaker and the Wajima artist Unryuan, the two Masters have formed a bond of creative synergy, and with the Aki-No-Kure and its autumnal theme of breeze-swept pampas grass and hidden dragonfly, a dial of impossible beauty, combined with the horologic elegance of one of the most revered names in independent watchmaking could be enough to repeat the success of three years ago.
Undulating furls of lacquer leaves cover the dial, individually painstakingly hand painted in glassy jades. greens and gold, and applied in a process which consumed over one thousand hours to complete, although the dial is only half of the story. That's because on the rear, a half-hunter opening caseback reveals the magnificent Voutilainen hand winding movement, its plate and barrel lid decorated with Unryuan lacquer, and then there's the dragonfly inside the caseback. Its wings are made from shell fragments which create a colour changing opalescent spectacle flashing pinks and blues as it plays with the light.
Voutilainen's work is, as ever, impeccable in every infinitesimal detail. His case design is pure and elegant with soft, flowing contours and those classic teardrop lugs and hands, and inside, the hand made Manufacture calibre and its big balance pulsing beneath the slender bridge are finished to perfection.
Like any true masterpiece, the Aki-No-Kure is a pièce unique, and in terms of artistic craft, in my opinion no other contender in the category comes near to it.
The Watch Press prediction
Yes! As much as I love the pop art of Konstantin Chaykin's irresistible Joker - and I'm half expecting a surprise, and as impressive as the Vacheron Constantin and its Celestial Spheres unquestionably is, I think that Voutilainen has, once again, set the bar beyond reach of the others.
CASE: White gold
BUCKLE: Pin buckle
MOVEMENT: Manual winding mechanical. Power reserve: 65 h, 18'000 vph
FUNCTIONS: Hours, Minutes
SIZE: ø 39 mm
THICKNESS: 13 mm
WATERPROOFNESS: 30 m
PRICE EXCL.VAT: CHF 350'000