Voutilainen Observatoire, Limited Edition, White Gold


Brand: Voutilainen
Model: Observatoire Limited Edition
Movement: manual-winding
Case material: 18-carat white gold
Case size: 38 mm
Crystal: sapphire front and case-back
Bracelet/strap: blue alligator strap with tang buckle
Functions: Time-only: Hours, Minutes, Sub-seconds
Features: Display Back, Blue Hands, Guilloche Dial
This very rare, hand-made Voutilainen Observatoire watch in white gold is in mint condition and has perfect mechanical functionality. This very special timepiece is made entirely at the Voutilainen workshop in Môtiers, near Geneva. It comes as a full set with box, papers and the certificate from the Observatoire de Besançon (to follow shortly), confirming its status as an observatory chronometer.

The Observatoire won the Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève in the category of “Best Men's Watch” in 2007, and it is estimated that only around 50 were made, making this piece an exceptionally sought-after and rare.

It was made in 2008 and has three different engine-turned patterns on the gold dial. Each pattern reflects light differently, giving the dial a mixture of tones and fantastic depth. Applied Roman numerals, a sub-second dial at six o’clock with Arabic numerals, and blue steel Breguet-style hands make up the face. A hand-sewn, blue crocodile strap and Kari Voutilainen's signature tear-shaped lugs finish off this fantastic timepiece; showing both the watchmaker's uncompromising attention to detail and craftsmanship.

While Kari Voutilainen is more famously known for the Vingt-8 model and as there were a small number of Observatoires made, they are far rarer. While they look similar on the outside, the movement distinguishes the models. This Observatoire houses a very special ébauche in the form of a Peseux 260. It was an observatory grade ébauche made in the last century for research purposes and for precision timing competitions in the Geneva and Neuchâtel Observatories. Never made available for public purchase, it is estimated that only 3300 examples of the Peseux 260 ébauche were made. When Kari Voutilainen found untouched new old stock examples of this movement, he knew he had stumbled across something special and proceeded to build a suitably special watch to house them.

The manual-winding movement itself is one of the most accurate ever made, but it was still heavily modified by Kari Voutilainen for the Observatoire. Some of the aesthetic changes made include the high level of finishing we have come to expect from Voutilainen, with Geneva stripes on the bridges, chamfering on all the edges and perlage beneath. The timing screws used are made of platinum, with all of this resulting in a stunning movement.

Mechanically, some changes were made too, as Kari modified the entire escapement and inserted his own balance wheel, hairspring and escape mechanism. Most notably, the strategically engineered balance spring with the exterior using a Breguet overcoil and the Grosmann curve for the interior, distributing tension evenly between the internal curve of the balance spring and the external overcoil. The free-sprung balance wheel beats at 18,000 A/h. With all of this, the Voutilainen Observatoire is a truly special watch that holds a place in horological history.

Viewings can be arranged in Central London by appointment.
Year: 2008
Condition: A+
Warranty: 12 months full
Box: original Voutilainen box
Paperwork: original papers from Voutilainen
Availability: now
UK Delivery: free next day
Overseas delivery: 3-5 working days
Returns: 14 days
Price: £66,000