For the occasion of the 2017 SIHH in Geneva, Voutilainen has unveiled a new version of his Vingt-8 collection, which although seemingly a conventional timepiece actually features a wonderfully deceptive twist which makes telling the time easy (once you know how), but cryptic and confounding for the first time viewer.
In the world of fine watchmaking, few names are held in such reverence as that of Kari Voutilainen. Working from his atelier in the tranquil setting outside Môtiers, his hand made watches are justifiably recognised as being among the very finest that money can buy, and it's no wonder that the process of ordering one will easily take eight months or longer before you are invited to collect in person, should you so desire.
The Voutilainen Vingt-8 ISO as it is named, really does resemble its siblings, as at first glance, everything seems to be as it should, but on closer examination, it becomes clear that all is not what it seems, as the position of the hands confusingly appear to be at odds with the actual time, and the minutes hand in particular seeming to require adjustment. Of course this is where the genius of the ISO lies, as for inspiration, the watchmaker has delved not into the annals of historic watchmaking, but instead the world of psychology and how our minds can adapt to make sense of things which are designed to deceive the eye!
Using a minutes ring around the inner bezel which actually rotates constantly throughout the twelve-hour cycle, Voutilainen has designed this mobile reference so that every hour, on the hour, the two principal hands are as one (so at ten o'clock both hour and minutes hands are overlaid at the 10), which to the unexpectant eye, could take a little getting used to. Or a lot! To achieve this, the minutes ring rotates precisely sixty-five minutes in every hour, so that come eleven, the 60 is aligned so the hands will overlie at the top of the hour.
Another effect of this is that on the half hour, the two hands will aways be pointing in perfectly opposing directions. It is a watch for the collector who prefers the complicated crossword clue over the easier coffee-break alternative, and it will initially perplex the untrained eye/mind!
Powering this attention demanding curio is of course an in-house Voutilainen hand winding movement. Inside the 39mm white gold case, his direct impulse escapement increases efficiency as a pair of escapement wheels regulate the energy released by the leisurely 18,000 vph oscillation of the beautiful, oversize balance.
As is de rigeur for a Kari Voutilainen, the attention to detail, and the quality of the workmanship is quite simply on another level to 99.9% of other manufacturers. Unburdened by the commercial pressures of most of his larger competition, his painstaking and labour intensive approach guarantees a piece which is personal to the watchmaker, and which in each and every minute aspect is absolutely immaculate in its execution.