Only one day away, WatchTime New York 2022— one of the US’ largest watch collecting events— is soon to make its grand return to Midtown Manhattan’s Gotham Hall. Taking place from tomorrow Friday, October 21 until this Sunday, October 23, the event will bring together over thirty incredible watchmakers with thousands of enthusiasts for a fantastic weekend of watches.
Joining the line-up of participating brands this year is esteemed watchmaker Voutilainen. Led by its namesake founder Kari Voutilainen, the maison has built a reputation for limited production, haute horlogerie. Its showcase at WatchTime New York will reflect that, with one of its latest releases, the Ji-Ku, likely to be on display among many other interesting watches.
Launched this year in collaboration with master Japanese lacquer artist Tatsuo Kitamura, the Ji-Ku merges Swiss horological orthodoxy with eastern artistic traditionalism. Working to present a hundreds-year-old craft in a modern context, the timepiece exemplifies the passion to preserve the soul, spirit and identity of traditional Japanese culture as expressed in the Edo period. The watch via its superlative craftsmanship engages the viewer immediately on a physical level, causing one to stand in awe at the commitment, patience, and dedication required to create the work of art.
On the wrist, the Ji-Ku measures 39mm by 11.9mm in platinum, with its silhouette following in the familiar styles of Voutilainen as seen in horn-style lugs, relatively large crown, and ultra-fine polished finishing throughout. The case at its core is a frame for the dial, with a blue crocodile leather band providing a further complement to the display and securing the timepiece to the wrist.
The dial itself is a site to behold. Developed by Kitamura, it uses techniques of lacquering with Saiei Makie and Somata zaiku, taking several months of work to complete. Kinpun (gold dust), Jyunkin-itakane (gold leaf), Yakou-gai (shell of great green turban), and Awabi-gai (abalone shell from New Zealand) were all used as raw materials for the creation, with a collage of radial beauty appearing in the results. Outside of its incredible central dial sector, a worldtimer is on display upon the outer edge showcasing a second time zone alongside listed cities of the world and a peripheral 24-hour disc. At the center of the dial, a pair of signature Voutilainen hands in steel and white gold sweep above it all, with their round shapes and blue hues adding to concise aesthetic of the timepiece.
Powering the Ji-Ku is an unnamed Voutilainen calibre that was designed, constructed, fabricated, finished, and assembled in the maker’s workshops. The 18,000 vph movement features running time, a worldtimer, and quick crown correction, and uses a free sprung balance with Grossman interior curve and Philips exterior curve alongside 44 jewels. The movement is exquisitely finished to the haute horlogerie standards of Kari Voutilainen, with it visible via a sapphire exhibition case back.
The Voutilainen Ji-Ku was launched this past summer as a piece unique. Pricing at that time was marked at 365,000 CHF, or about $363,000 USD at the time of writing.
To learn more, visit Voutilainen, here.
And to purchase your tickets to WatchTime New York 2022, click here.