Most mechanical watches come from Switzerland and are made by Swiss watchmaking companies. High-end watches are commonly thought of as being under the ‘Swiss Watchmaking’ umbrella and the entire industry uses that denomination. But are all high-end mechan
Are all high-end mechanical watches made in Switzerland? We look at some of the key players in the world of independent watchmaking.
is no, not all high-end watches are Swiss-made. Allow us to reveal to you six nonSwiss independent watchmakers, who make watches of the very highest quality. Whether they are made in Finland, the Netherlands, Austria or simply hand-made, these watches can easily compete with their Swiss rivals. Three of them were just awarded prizes at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, the Oscars of watchmaking.
The simple answer
Let’s start with someone whose reputation is already impeccable. His name is celebrated among watch collectors and if you own one of his timepieces, you will be taken very seriously by every watch collector. His name is Kari Voutilainen and he was born in Finland in 1962. His training as a watchmaker started at the renowned watchmaking school of Tapiola in Finland. Yes indeed, there is a renowned watchmaking school outside Switzerland. In 1989 Voutilainen went to Switzerland to attend the International Watchmaking School of WOSTEP and he was quickly spotted by Parmigiani and offered a job there. He worked in the magnificent restoration workshop, handling some of the most complicated and outstanding timepieces and automata that have ever been created. Kari Voutilainen taught for the next three years at the WOSTEP School of Watchmaking, heading the department of complicated watchmaking.
In 2002 he started an independent watchmaking business, and now his atelier is in Môtiers, Switzerland. He started by building a limited number of handmade timepieces and his pieces were immediately sold to collectors around the world. In 2005, he introduced the world's first decimal repeater that sounds at hours, ten-minute intervals and then minutes. When you think of it, a much more logical solution than the odd minute repeater that strikes for hours, quarters and minutes. In 2011, Voutlainen introduced his first in-house developed movement that could be produced in a
Voutilainen Vin gt- 8.