The Kari Voutilainen Tourbillon 20th Anniversary

One of the most revered and respected names in the world of watchmaking, and certainly in the independent watchmaking scene, is Kari Voutilainen. The Finnish watchmaker is an expert in ‘wrapping’ the most brilliantly hand-finished movements in beautiful discrete cases with tear-drop lugs. With 20 years of track record as an Independent watchmaker and more than 30 years in total, it’s time to look back. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of his company, Kari Voutilainen introduces a new tourbillon watch that is inspired by his first-ever watch (a pocket watch), which he completed in 1994. Let’s take a look at the Voutilainen Tourbillon 22 with a new movement that echoes that of his pocket high quality replica watches.
After graduating from watchmaking school in Finland, where he then worked for a repair shop, Kari Voutilainen moved to Switzerland to attend WOSTEP courses, including the renowned complications course. Like many others back in the days, Voutilainen started his Swiss career at the restoration workshop of the one-and-only Michel Parmigiani – one of the founders of modern indie watchmaking alongside Roth, Daniels or Pratt. He worked there from 1990 to 1999, a time when he decided to complete his first own watch, too, being inspired by the work of these men and also great historical watchmakers (Breguet, first and foremost).
Working after-hours, using Parmigiani’s workshop, Kari completed his first watch, a one-minute tourbillon high quality replica watches , in 1994. Three years in the making, this watch was part of an exhibit at the renowned International Museum of Watchmaking in La Chaux-de-Fonds in 1996. This got the attention of many, including Peter Baumberger, then owner of Urban Jürgensen relaunched together with Derek Pratt, which led to a collaboration on a detent-escapement movement introduced in 2011 (notably, Voutilainen recently acquired Urban Jürgensen). In the 1990s, Kari met Charles Meylan, who became his mentor and encouraged him to create his own brand – which he did in 2002, with the first watches presented in 2004… 20 years ago.
Twenty years later, Kari Voutilainen presents (with utmost discretion) a watch to celebrate two decades of independence and to pay tribute to his first watch, the one-minute tourbillon pocket watch. Sixty-one pieces will be made, equipped with a brand new movement inspired by the architecture of the calibre found in his pocket watch. They will be housed in a relatively classical case and indicate the time on a handsome hand-guilloché dial. What else would you expect from someone who also happens to own Comblémine, a company specializing in high-end dial-making?
Design-wise, this new Tourbillon 20th Anniversary stands apart from his recent creations, mainly because it doesn’t come with the teardrop-shaped lugs we’ve long associated with Voutilainen. Instead, the 40mm x 13mm case relies on straight lugs and features a knurled pattern on the side as a tribute to his 1994 pocket watch. The watch is available in 950 platinum, 18k white gold, 18k rose gold or stainless steel – the latter being a unique piece – with entirely polished surfaces.
No major surprises for the dial since everything is classic Kari. The solid silver base is adorned with multiple hand-guilloché patterns – which can be chosen from among dozens of motifs – and the colour is also per request of the client. The model chosen by the brand to showcase this Kari Voutilainen Tourbillon 20th Anniversary has a classic dark blue colour, with silver-toned tracks, Breguet numerals and partially blued steel open-tipped hands. Interestingly, Kari also chose to update the display of his pocket watch, using the same indications (off-centred small seconds, power reserve) but differently positioned.
The high quality replica watches back is where things get really interesting, with the new calibre Tourbillon 22, directly modelled after the movement of Kari’s pocket watch – in a smaller size. Measuring 32.5mm, this large hand-wound movement relies on the same twin-barrel architecture, connected to the centre wheel pinion, and utilizing a portion of the available power reserve to maximize torque stability. The power reserve is 72 hours. The main attraction is the one-minute tourbillon, visible exclusively through the caseback. Equipped with a hairspring with a Phillips terminal curve and a Grossman internal curve, it runs at a slow 2.5Hz frequency. The movement is executed classically, with grained and gilded bridges, hand-polished bevels, black polished steel parts and a hand-engraved Voutilainen signature.