At his workshop in Môtiers, Kari
disassembled each of the 21 jewel movements, fabricating new parts and testing them before decorating them in his own style. Fewer than twenty five Chronomètre 27s were made
, housing the movement. Voutilainen’s
exceptional finishing reveals the watchmaker's hand, with traditional frosting to the bridges, chamfering on all the edges and perlage beneath. The free-sprung balance-wheel beats at a frequency of 36,000 A/h, necessary for high precision.
A regulator by design, the lineage of the Chronomètre 27
goes back to a time when watchmakers would use a master clock to set timepieces. The hour and minute hands are separated on their axes, so the hands rarely align (only twice a day at 12 o’clock), allowing for the most accurate readout at any given time. Considering the overriding importance of accuracy in Observatory
watches, the regulator layout is perfectly suited.
The solid gold dial shows Voutilainen's
uncompromising attention to detail and craftsmanship. Each pyramidal shape of the one-pattern, Clous de Paris grey dial creates a glistening effect, giving the dial a mixture of tones and depth. Applied Roman numerals feature on the sub-dial at 12 o’clock, showing the hours, with Arabic numerals for the sub-seconds. The sapphire, regulator minute-dial
is placed above, raised by four blued screws.
The 31.5 x 44mm rectangular case is unique to the Chronomètre 27
, with bold integral lugs. The watch comes on one of our Helsinki
, grey nubuck straps, along with the original, hand-stitched black alligator strap and corresponding white gold deployment clasp.Observatory-grade movementObservatory
watches - emphasising watchmaking prowess over visual finishing and aesthetics - were the product of a pursuit of true mechanical accuracy. Originally these watches were almost exclusively used in timing-trials and precision timing competitions, and were rarely available for public sale. Capable of a mean accuracy within tenths of a second per day under test conditions, these movements were a remarkable achievement, even by today's standards. Components were made for individual movements; fine-tuned, polished and resized by hand, and the Chronomètre 27
falls in line of this prestigious horological legacy.
Official observatory testing became less common with the introduction of ‘high-beat' mechanical movements and later with quartz-based timekeeping. However, using advances in technology, uncased movements could be tested in large number. Coinciding with the increased commercialisation of watchmaking, the COSC
(Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres
) was formed, with its purpose being the chronometric measurement of movements in large quantities. This Chronomètre 27
comes with the original certificate from Besançon, from May, 2008.
Viewings can be arranged in Central London by appointment.