“This experience taught me that I prefer to deal with connoisseurs because connoisseurs bring knowledge, unlike experts who bring a science and their science is not always exact because if it were, I would never have been able to restore these so-called destroyed objects.”
Another timepiece purchased in 1997, an oval-shaped pocket watch made by Vardon and Stedman in 1800, was restored and would later form the basis for the calibre PF111 found in Parmigiani Fleurier’s Ovale Pantographe in 2016. The work was not just confined to clocks and watches, but also included automatons such as the Yusupov Fabergé Egg and the Frères Rochat Singing Bird Pistols.
Sarpaneva, a Finnish independent watchmaker who is known for his experimental work and unusual aesthetics, was employed at the restoration workshop between the years of 1997 to 1999, eventually starting his own eponymous brand in 2003. He describes how small the team there actually was: “There were only two departments within the workshop. In addition to the restoration department, which had [about] four people in there, I worked in the ‘pièces uniques and private label’ department, where we created unique and complicated pieces for other watch brands. When I joined at first, Kari [Voutilainen] was already working there, with another guy, but he left, and in the end, it was only me and Kari.”
“We did a minute repeater based on the old vintage movement, which we modified to have a better calendar module on top of it. It was a lot of work, maybe way too much work. We also made quite modern watches, using new movements that we built things around. So, we didn’t only modify old movements to become a modern movement, but we also did things like hand-shaping the bridges, so it was almost like making the same watch twice.”