Voutilainen x Leijona Försti Diver Watch

Försti Diver is the most recent addition to the collaborative series between master watchmaker Voutilainen and Leijona, the brand known for its Finnish-Swiss watchmaking heritage.

This is the first diving watch in which Kari Voutilainen and his studio have been closely involved. This amazing timepiece boasts good proportions and user comfort, without compromising on the features characteristic of a diving watch: durability and water resistance.

Voutilainen x Leijona Försti Diver Watch

The Finnish temperament, honest and unyielding, is reflected in the high-quality implementation of the unique details. Every Försti Diver wristwatch undergoes several stages of artisan work before its journey to Finland from the Val-de-Travers valley of watches next to the Jura Mountains in Switzerland.

Voutilainen x Leijona Försti Diver Watch

The effective implementation of the stylish black and light-coloured dials involves several production stages emphasizing the importance of flawless craftsmanship and professional skill. A galvanic tint defined by a special kind of plating method has been chosen as the dial colour for both Försti Diver watches. This exceptional technique brings out the stunning finish of the dial.

Voutilainen x Leijona Försti Diver Watch

The dials have been manufactured by Voutilainen’s dial making company Comblémine SA, which produces these flawless dials down to the finest detail.

Made of high-grade stainless steel, each watch case is refined and finished by hand at Voutilainen & Cattin SA’s factory. In the finishing of the case, special attention has been paid to the quality of the surfaces, the longevity, and the durability.

Voutilainen x Leijona Försti Diver Watch

A Leijona quartz diving watch of the 1970s/1980s was the source of inspiration for the Försti Diver watches. To support the design work, an original model in good condition was tracked down and used as part of the model’s design. The Leijona diving watch found to support the design was discovered intact in the sea in the early 1990s by its current owner while diving.

The watch that inspired the Försti is incidentally almost identical to the first watch (Leijona) of Grand Master Kari Voutilainen, which was a black-dial Leijona diving watch with a rubber strap and a reddish bezel. In honour of the original model and Kari’s first watch (Leijona), the new model, the design of which has been adapted for the present day, also has a black dial, a red and black bezel and a rubber strap in addition to a steel one.

Voutilainen x Leijona Försti Diver Watch

Even though the Försti Diver wristwatch has been made to be aesthetically pleasing as a whole, the specific requirements for a diving watch have also been taken into account in the model’s design. Its 3 mm thick sapphire crystal glass has been placed slightly above the watch’s rotating bezel to protect it.

The watch also has a screw-down crown as well as crown protection for added resistance against water and light shocks. The structure of the case thus protects the crown and reduces pressure against the wrist.

Voutilainen x Leijona Försti Diver Watch

Functionality has been considered with regard to the steel watch strap as well. The strap has been equipped with fine tuning that can be used to fit over a diving suit, for example, at the touch of a button. The dazzling side profile of the watch reveals the quality of the handcrafted finishing and the complexity of the surfaces.

Voutilainen x Leijona Försti Diver Watch

Under the leadership of Kari Voutilainen, the aim was top-quality finishing of the watch case, down to the smallest detail. The assembly of the watches as well as the checking of their operation and water resistance also takes place at Voutilainen & Cattin SA.

Voutilainen x Leijona Försti Diver Watch

The movement chosen for the Försti Diver watches is the Sellita SW200-1 automatic movement, which is known for its accuracy, durability and reliability. The availability of spare parts for the movement has accordingly been ensured for a long time to come. The watch movement is checked three times before placement in the case. The first check is carried out at Sellita, the second before the movement is attached to the watch, and the third once this has been completed.

The straps of the Försti Diver watches are also manufactured in accordance with the principles of the Voutilainen x Leijona collaboration collection, which is why Rhein Fils (steel strap) and Crafter Blue (rubber strap) have been chosen as the manufacturers. Both manufacturers rely solely on the best materials and solutions in their straps, a choice reflected in their user comfort, finish and unique solutions.

About Voutilainen x Leijona Series

Voutilainen x Leijona is a collaboration that brings together two icons from the world of watches; where watch models inspired by the history of Leijona watches are combined with Finnish-Swiss watchmaking expertise, creating a unique collection that honours craftsmanship and the value of time.

In addition to the new Försti Diver, the collection includes three different watches suitable for different situations: Urho Chrono, Oiva Classic, and Jalo Sport. The most technical of the models is Urho, the design of which is based on a traditional chronograph. Urho’s sporty design offers everyday luxury for the man who values momentum. Oiva is a more understated three-hand dress watch; while Jalo’s powerful and sporty design was inspired by Leijona watches from the 1970s.

The Voutilainen x Leijona collection is available in nine specialty shops throughout Finland and at https://leijonaheritage.com/, an online shop that has been serving customers across the EU (excl. Finland) since the summer of 2021.

Technical details

Model: Försti Diver

Movement
Sellita SW200-1 (automatic movement)
Frequency: 28,800 vph, 4 Hz
Power reserve: approximately 38 hours
Accuracy: ± 7–20 seconds per day

Case
Made of stainless steel (Switzerland), screw-down crown
Diameter: 41 mm
Thickness: 12.75 mm
3 mm thick sapphire crystal with anti-reflection (AR) coating
Screw down caseback with laser engraved Leijona logo
Water resistance: 20 atm

Replacement bezels
Ref. 21.400.01.521: Comes with a two-colour replacement bezel
Ref. 21.400.01.220: Comes with a single-colour replacement bezel

Dial
Ref. 21.400.01.521: Light-coloured dial (galvanised), luminous indexes and pointers (Super LumiNova)
Ref. 21.400.01.220: Black dial (galvanised), luminous indexes and pointers (Super LumiNova)

Strap
Steel bracelet with fine tuning
Black or blue rubber strap
Width: 20 mm

Edition
Each version is limited to 50 units

Recommended retail price
€4,490.00

Availability
From 2 December 2021

Voutilainen X Leijona: Heritage 1907 Collection

Leijona a historic watch brand that proudly keeps an enduring relationship with two countries: Switzerland and Finland.

Leijona means Lion in Finnish language. The brand traces its history to the last decades of the 19th century. Initially, Leijona watches were made in Switzerland. Since then, it has remained a popular watch brand in Finland. However, after the quartz crisis, the production of Leijona watches has been moved out from the country.

Finnish company Perkko has collaborated with Master watchmaker Kari Voutilainen and launched Leijona Heritage Collection as a tribute to the brand’s Swiss origins. This new series is comprised of Swiss made watches produced in the valley of Val-de-Travers.

Voutilainen X Leijona Heritage 1907 Collection

Leijona watch brand was originated in the famous watchmaking valley of Val-de-Travers in Switzerland. Since 1892, a watchmaking company named Manufacture d’Horlogerie Lion SA had been the location where the watches bearing the distinct twin-tailed Leijona logo were made. The same logo, however, had already appeared on some of the pocket watches created by Albert Kenel in the 1880s, who would later be hired to work at the Lion factory.

The first importer of the Leijona watch in Finland was J.W. Lindroos, a watch wholesaler and retailer based in Tampere. The first documented appearance of a Leijona watch in Finland was recorded in 1907, but Lindroos may very well have imported Leijona watches at an earlier period in time as well.

Voutilainen X Leijona Heritage 1907 Collection
Voutilainen X Leijona Heritage 1907 Jalo

The last decade of the 18th century was a period of great unrest in Finland. The popularity of the Fennoman (Finnish nationalist) movement, which sought to establish the dominance of Finnish culture and the Finnish language in a country that was still ruled by the Russian Empire, was increasing by the day.

The Russianization policy at the turn of the century also contributed to the popularity of this historic movement. Many everyday items were given Finnish names, and so J.W. Lindroos decided to register his new Lion watches under the equivalent Finnish brand name “Leijona”.

The Finnish Coat of Arms has featured a lion since the Middle Ages, and it is most likely for this reason that the Leijona watch became a symbol that the populace could use to discretely show which side they stood on. While this may sound like a small gesture, it was anything but – even the act of displaying the wrong type of painting (for example, Edvard Isto’s “The Attack”, where the three-headed Russian eagle attacks the Finnish Maiden) could result in exile.

Voutilainen X Leijona Heritage 1907 Collection
Voutilainen X Leijona Heritage 1907 Oiva Classic

The use of wristwatches became more widespread in Finland during the wars, and the Leijona watch could be seen on the wrists of those fighting for the independence and freedom of Finland during the Second World War. Finns have worn their Leijona watches as they reconstructed the country, educated themselves and gained new success across the globe. During all of this, the Leijona watch would always remain the best-selling timepiece in Finland, and the history of the Leijona watch encompasses hundreds of thousands of touching personal stories of success and loss.

On the 8th of November 1918, three brothers (Jalo, Urho and Oiva Perkko) founded a company bearing their family name, Oy Perkko Ab. One year later, they would purchase J.W. Lindroos’ business. Their brand portfolio now encompassed the watches made by Omega, Tissot, Certina, Rado, Leijona, Pierre Balmain and Jaz.

In 1939, Perkko became the first watch company in Finland to launch a gross price system to stabilize the retail prices of watches. The previous net price system had introduced an element of uncertainty to the market when it came to determining the “right price” of a watch.

Voutilainen X Leijona Heritage 1907 Collection
Voutilainen X Leijona Heritage 1907 Urho Chrono

The Second World War would also cast its shadow on the Perkko family: the company’s managing clerk, C.U. Bergman, and Ensio Perkko, the son of managing director Jalo Perkko, perished on the front in 1941. The following year, Jalo himself died from his grief, after which his position in the company was passed on to his beloved wife, Esteri.

To honor the life’s work of her late spouse, in 1943 Esteri Perkko made the remarkable decision to donate 500,000 Finnish marks to the establishment of the Finnish School of Watchmaking. The school began its operations only a few months later in February 1944.

A lack of currency, strong import regulations and high tariffs created a good opportunity for smuggling activities. Coffee, watches, tobacco and money soon became the most smuggled items to Finland. Leijona watches would also become a popular item with smugglers, as tens of thousands of Leijona wristwatches were smuggled to the country.

The ever-popular Leijona watches were easy to smuggle as, by the 50s, the watches were manufactured in numerous Swiss watch factories across Switzerland. For its part, the Perkko Company attempted to restrain these activities by registering the Leijona trademark in Sweden, which had served as the main thoroughfare for watch smugglers, and by having its factories stamp the letter P on each genuine Leijona watch.

Voutilainen X Leijona Heritage 1907 Collection

In the 70s, Quartz watches became increasingly widespread and completely disrupted the market for traditional mechanical watches. The Swiss watchmaking industry was badly behind in the development of its quartz machineries, and it was decided at this time that the production of Leijona watches would be moved from Switzerland to Japan, which would allow for more affordable consumer prices and further increase the popularity of the Leijona brand.

Leijona is Finland’s oldest and best-selling watch brand of all time, with hundreds of thousands of satisfied consumers. Despite the fact that the Leijona watch has always been considered a “Finnish watch”, its origins lie in Switzerland. With the new Heritage Collection, the Leijona watch now returns to Switzerland and the same famous watchmaking valley of Val-de-Travers from which it once departed, but this time to the village of Môtiers and the studio of Kari Voutilainen, the Finnish watchmaker extraordinaire. A new page in history has been turned.

During the era of Finnish import regulations in the 1950s, Oy Perkko Ab stamped every watch that came through its official channels with its own stamp to weed out the market for smuggled Leijona watches.

Voutilainen X Leijona Heritage 1907 Collection

To honor the company’s past, this same stamp can be seen in the back of Heritage Collection watches which has a solid caseback (Oiva & Jalo).

Leijona Heritage 1907 Collection

In 2017, Perkko, the Finnish company that owns the Leijona watch brand decided to create a Swiss made watch collection inspired by its history and approached master watchmaker Kari Voutilainen for this project.

The conceptual design of this milestone collection was done in Finland by Perkko. The Leijona Heritage watches are manufactured in Switzerland under the proficient supervision of Voutilainen.

Voutilainen X Leijona Heritage 1907 Collection

The cases are manufactured by Voutilainen & Cattin SA who also assembles the complete watches. The dials are made by Comblémine SA, the dial manufactory established by Kari Voutilainen. The straps are made by Rhein Fils.

Voutilainen X Leijona Heritage 1907 Collection

Inspired by the historic Leijona watches, this series is comprised of three different models – Jalo, Urho and Oiva – representing the first names of the three Perkko brothers. The Leijona Heritage 1907 collection now includes three categories: Classic (Oiva and Môtiers), Sport (Jalo) and Chronograph (Urho).

Leijona Heritage 1907 Môtiers Classic Limited Edition

The Leijona Môtiers Classic Limited Edition celebrates the collaboration between Leijona and Kari Voutilainen, as well as the village of Môtiers, located in the valley of Val-de-Travers, where the watches are produced. The blue color of the dial invokes the atmosphere of Val-de-Travers, and blue is also the favorite color of Voutilainen. Introduced in 2019, this timepiece was limited to 50 pieces. Sold out.

Leijona Heritage Môtiers Limited Edition, Reference: 19.300.02.311
Leijona Heritage Môtiers Limited Edition, Reference: 19.300.02.311

Technical details

  • Dimensions of case: width 39 mm & thickness 11,6 mm
  • Dial colour: Blue sky
  • Crystal: Sapphire
  • Caliber: Sellita SW200-1 self-winding movement
  • Case material: Stainless steel
  • Strap material and colour: alligator leather, brown
  • Strap dimensions: width 20 mm
  • Water resistance: 30 m
  • Power reserve: 38 hours
  • Price: 2,790 Euros
  • Origin: Swiss Made

Leijona Heritage 1907 Oiva Classic

The Leijona Oiva Classic automatic wristwatch is inspired by the style of the Leijona watches made in the 1950s. Its clean and harmonious appearance exudes a timeless sense of style that makes a real statement.

Oiva Classic Graphite Black
Oiva Classic Graphite Black, Reference: 19.300.01.210

The name of the model is a reference to one of the founding brothers of Oy Perkko Ab, Oiva Perkko. Oiva was the oldest of the brothers and very skilled goldsmith in his own right. He served as the director of the store that the brothers purchased from J.W. Lindroos. Oiva was known for his restrained and balanced nature, and these qualities can be seen in this namesake watch as well.

Oiva Classic Ivory White, Reference: 19.300.01.110
Oiva Classic Ivory White, Reference: 19.300.01.110

Equipped with the Sellita SW200-1 self-winding movement, this stainless steel watch is available in two dial colors: Graphite Black and White.

Technical details

  • Case: Stainless steel
  • Thickness: 11.6 mm
  • Width without the crown: 39 mm
  • Width with the crown: 42.60 mm
  • Lug to Lug: 48.72 mm
  • Dial: Graphite Black/ White
  • Strap width: 20 mm
  • Crystal: Sapphire, 1.5 mm thick
  • Movement: Sellita SW200-1, power reserve 38 h
  • Water resistance: 30 m
  • Price: 2,590 Euros
  • Origin: Swiss Made

Leijona Heritage 1907 Jalo

Leijona Jalo Sport is a practical and robust watch that is also equally elegant and sporty in appearance. The design of the watch is based on the style of the Leijona watches made in the 1960s.

Jalo Sport Royal Blue, Reference: 19.200.01.310
Jalo Sport Royal Blue, Reference: 19.200.01.310

Jalo Sport is named after Jalo Perkko, one of the three founding brothers of the company and the company’s beloved managing director who was famed for his honest nature and bold initiatives.

Jalo Sport Sunburst Gray, Reference: 19.200.01.410
Jalo Sport Sunburst Gray, Reference: 19.200.01.410

This stainless steel watch has a water resistance of 100 meters. It houses the Sellita SW200-1 automatic movement. The Leijona Heritage Jalo Sport model is available in two dial versions: Royal Blue and Sunburst Gray.

Technical details

  • Case: Stainless steel
  • Thickness: 13.20 mm
  • Width without the crown: 45 mm
  • Width with the crown: 48.60 mm
  • Lug to Lug: 53.50 mm
  • Dial: Royal Blue/ Sunburst Gray
  • Strap: Leather & rubber hybrid strap made by Rhein Fils
  • Strap width: 22 mm
  • Crystal: Sapphire, 1.65 mm thick
  • Movement: Sellita SW200-1, power reserve 38 h
  • Water resistance: 100 m
  • Price: 2,590 Euros
  • Origin: Swiss Made

Leijona Heritage 1907 Urho

The Urho Chronograph is a testament to the daring speed and aesthetic qualities of the 1970s. Urho Perkko was the youngest of the three founding brothers and a highly skilled watchmaker. Urho was responsible for the company’s office in Vyborg, and he was known for his meticulous nature and acute sense of style.

Urho Chrono Black, Reference: 19.100.01.210
Urho Chrono Black, Reference: 19.100.01.210

This stainless steel automatic chronograph watch is equipped with the Sellita SW510 BH movement. Measuring 42mm in diameter, the watch is water resistant to 100 meters.

Urho Chrono White Panda, Reference: 19.100.01.110
Urho Chrono White Panda, Reference: 19.100.01.110

The Leijona Heritage 1907 Urho chronograph is available in three dial versions: Black, White Panda and Toivo (with deep blue sky dial with satin silver sub-dials).

Urho Chrono Toivo, Reference: 20.100.01.310
Urho Chrono Toivo, Reference: 20.100.01.310

Technical details

  • Case: Stainless steel
  • Thickness: 15.75 mm
  • Width without the crown: 42 mm
  • Width with the crown: 58.60 mm
  • Lug to Lug: 52.82 mm
  • Strap: Ventilated leather strap by Rhein Fils, stainless steel pin buckle
  • Strap color: Black, Blue or Tan
  • Strap width: 22 mm
  • Crystal: Sapphire both front and back, 1.65 mm thick
  • Movement: Sellita SW510 BH, power reserve 48 h
  • Water resistance: 100 m
  • Price: 4,990 Euros
  • Origin: Swiss Made

Website: https://leijonaheritage.com/