This year, Swiss watch maker Kari Voutilainen unveils a unique timepiece in association with Unryuan lacquer studio of Japan. Sarasamon, the only one of its kind timepiece proudly carries the legacies of both ancient Japanese lacquer art and the traditional Swiss watch making.
One of the greatest lacquer studios of Japan, Unryuan, under the guidance of Mr. T. Kitamura, create works of lacquer art that stand at the pinnacle of Japanese tradition, bringing a craft that has existed for hundreds of years into the present, exemplifying the passion to preserve the soul, spirit and identity of traditional Japanese culture as expressed in the Edo period.
This superlative work engages us immediately on a physical level and one can only stand in awe at the commitment, patience and dedication required to create these works of art. The dial shown here, using the techniques of lacquering with Saiei Makie and Somata zaiku takes several months of work to complete. The raw materials for its creation are: Kinpun (gold dust), Jyunkin-itakane (gold leaf), Yakou-gai (shell of great green turban) and Awabi-gai (abalone shell from New Zealand).
For this particular Sarasamon design, gold channels are created first and then filled in with layers of a special organic compound made from an ancient recipe. Using diverse techniques, miniscule pieces of hand cut shell are placed in patterns with extreme attention to the changes of color and the directions in which each fragment catches and reflects the light.
Additional layers of lacquer in colors and gold are applied and polishing taking place at each intermediate step in the process. At the end of these laborious and time consuming procedures, a dial is created that continuously changes and moves, like a small living microcosmos of light and color.
This symbiosis of Japanese tradition with the Swiss haute horlogerie creations of Kari Voutilainen represents an all-embracing mechanical and visual work of art that unites the East and West in perfect harmony.
Unique, in house designed movement with hours and minutes
New direct impulse escapement with two escapement wheels
Movement: 30mm x 5.60mm with pure German silver main plate and bridges
Wheels in rose gold
Free sprung balance (wheel diameter 13.60mm) with Grossman interior curve and Philips exterior curve, beating at 18,000 vph
Dial: Unique art piece created by the legendary Japanese lacquer studio Unryuan
Hands: gold and steel, hand made
All manufacturing, construction, fabrication, hand finishing and assembly in the Voutilainen workshop
Case: 37.00mm x 10.80mm
Sapphire glass front and back, with anti reflection treatment
In 18K yellow gold with matching tang buckle and alligator strap
Limited to 1 unique example