Kari Voutilainen at the SIHH

The 26th edition of the SIHH International Fine Watchmaking Fair in Geneva, that closed its doors on 22 January, was marked by a significant event: this year, it welcomed nine independent houses to the event, including one of EKSO’s iconic figures, Kari Voutilainen.

The world of mathematics is no longer the only one with a “magic square” formula. Thanks to an initiative by the Fine Watchmaking Foundation, organizer of the SIHH, the annual High Mass of time, there is now a “watchmakers’ square” or “Carré des Horlogers” within the Salon. At this 2016 edition, nine independent maisons, symbolizing both excellence as well as innovation, were invited to showcase their expertise. “Our wish is to gather together all the players in Fine Watchmaking so as to appreciate all the richness and diversity of this universe”, said a spokesperson for the Foundation.

According to observers, while the major brands who have forged the reputation of the SIHH for a quarter of a century skillfully continue to symbolize the established and prestigious vision of Fine Watchmaking, the nine artisan-creators who join the gathering this year have breathed a touch of novelty into the fragrance of creativity.

Are we talking about a new era of watchmaking? I wouldn’t like to say; everyone has their own interpretation of innovation after all. For some, modernity means challenging traditional codes and liberating aesthetic audacity. For others, there is nothing more innovative than the quest for absolute simplicity or technical perfection.

And this is clearly the language spoken by Kari Voutilainen. And with good reason, or so it would appear from the number of visitors to the stand of this renowned Finnish watchmaker, now adopted by the Swiss. Finding a couple of minutes to speak to him face-to-face appeared to be mission impossible! Another telling sign: the six watches that Kari brought with him were all sold and his order book grew by several lines.

And let the collectors and enthusiasts of watchmaking excellence rejoice: the unique piece that the EKSO gallery asked him to create is, by all accounts, nearing completion and will soon be presented in Paris. As a reminder, this will be an exclusive version of the GMR model, equipped with a GMT complication and power-reserve indicator, which won Kari Voutilainen the Grand Prix de Genève watchmaking award in 2015 in the “Men’s Watch” category. Why is it exclusive? Because with this already exceptional GMR only being issued in a limited series of twelve watches, the special EKSO version will be getting a double engraved, enameled back!

As soon as it arrives, the adventure of the SIHH magic square will continue in our gallery on the rue Magellan…

Ekaterina Sotnikova

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