Vouti­lainen 28 Hisui

Plaza Watch International - - The Best of Baselworld 2014 - YJMD

In­de­pen­dent watch­maker Kari Vouti­lainen strikes again with his Hisui master­piece fea­tur­ing the an­ces­tral art of Ja­panese lac­quer mas­tered by Un­ryuan. Led by T. Ki­ta­mura, the renowned lac­quer stu­dio in Ja­pan, de­ter­mined to keep alive the soul, spirit and iden­tity of time-hon­oured Ja­panese cul­ture as ex­pressed in the Edo pe­riod, per­pet­u­ates a cen­turies-old art. It comes to­gether with Swiss fine watch­mak­ing in a con­tem­po­rary cre­ation that per­fectly mar­ries East­ern and Western tra­di­tions. The de­gree of com­mit­ment, pa­tience and ded­i­ca­tion re­quired to cre­ate the unique visual work of art is un­ri­valled. Us­ing raw ma­te­ri­als like kin­pun (gold dust), jyunkin-itakane (gold leaf), yakou-gai (great green tur­ban shell) and awabi­gai (abalone shell from New Zealand), the lac­quer tech­nique known as “saiei-makie”, de­vel­oped by Un­ryuan, which is given pride of place on the dial and bridges, re­quired more than 1,000 work hours to com­plete. A time-con­sum­ing and del­i­cate process, the ar­ti­sans had to find shells of the right colour, cut ev­ery sin­gle one of them into pieces and ad­just them. Vouti­lainen had been in­tro­duced to Un­ryuan by his stu­dent, Masahito Hayashi, who comes from a watch­mak­ing fam­ily. They went to­gether to Wa­jima to meet Ki­ta­mura for ini­tial dis­cus­sions, then pre­pared a move­ment and dial ébauche for him to work on. The dif­fi­culty lay in cre­at­ing bridges that could be dec­o­rated; the so­lu­tion was to build them in two lay­ers: Ger­man sil­ver topped by a ti­ta­nium part that could be dis­as­sem­bled at any time. The name “Hisui” comes from the Ja­panese word for jade and emer­ald, pre­cious stones from which the one-off be­spoke watch drew in­spi­ra­tion. Sold for CHF225,000, it comes in a 39mm plat­inum case with hand­made gold and steel hands. Com­pris­ing a pure Ger­man sil­ver main­plate, the in-house de­signed and man­u­fac­tured Vingt-8 move­ment fea­tures a new pro­pri­etary di­rect im­pulse es­cape­ment with two es­cape­ment wheels. All man­u­fac­tur­ing, hand fin­ish­ing and assem­bly were car­ried out in Vouti­lainen’s seven-per­son work­shop, and the lac­quer work by a team of three in the Un­ryuan stu­dio.

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