Sarpaneva K1 Enamel - Part of the Adventure

Sarpaneva K1 Enamel – Part of the Adventure

by Johnny McElherron

Stepan Sarpaneva shuns the dark side, brings the purity of enamel to his portfolio and creates a masterpiece.

Sarpaneva K1 Enamel – A Watchmaking Adventure

Simple, pure, flawless – these are not descriptions normally associated with watches created by Stepan Sarpaneva. His models are renowned for their bold styling, shadowy characteristics and stunning web-like skeletonisation. Inspiration taken from his native Finnish landscapes and folklore has given rise to dramatic models with powerful themes. Is it not strange that such a watchmaker should select frangible, delicate enamel with which to dilute his unique designs? Discuss the “business” of making watches with any independent watchmaker and they will rarely make references to their career, but instead will refer to it as an adventure. For those who question the use of such purity, I suggest that the Sarpaneva K1 Enamel is simply this particular watchmaker’s latest chapter.

Sarpaneva K1 Enamel – Free to Experiment

Good design is in Stephan’s DNA. Born in 1970 his father was the jewellery designer Pentti Sarpaneva. A love of mechanical playthings led him to watchmaking, first at the Tapiola School of Watchmaking, then on to WOSTEP. Although youthful, he has worked with some of the best Master Watchmakers in the business including Vianney Halter and Christophe Claret. No stranger to complicated timepieces, his education has included time spent restoring pieces and he has worked with Minute Repeaters, Tourbillons and Perpetual Calendars. In 2003 he formed his own company back in Helsinki, Finland and began creating his own eponymous wristwatches. His early pieces speak of a man who, having been liberated from the constraints of a design department was free to experiment. Even from the start, his exploration of shapes and materials reveal dramatic case shapes, razor-sharp styling often with motorbike-inspired components.

Sarpaneva K1 Enamel

Sarpaneva K1 Enamel

Sarpaneva K1 Enamel – An Organic Evolution

A moon-lit walk home with friends gave Stepan the inspiration to create his stunning labyrinthine skeletonised dial, having noted the effect of the moonlight on openworked iron gratings. The design made its first appearance on the Korona K1 with its follow-up, the K2 adding depth to the aesthetics by removing the baseplate. Since then the collection has evolved, but the progression has been organic and highly creative, with new elements such as his devilish moonphase bringing acclaim and new fans throughout the world. Powerful themes, inspired by the nature of the Finnish landscape and mystical tales have added to the excitement of new releases, the K3 Black Moon was awarded a Red Dot award for the communication design created around it – lessons to be learned by other brands who have huge marketing budgets, yet still churn out presentations which are so mundane that they beggar belief.

Sarpaneva K1 Enamel – The Latest Chapter

And so to the latest “chapter” in the adventure – the K1 Enamel. Despite its new immaculate dial this model still retains some of its creator’s synonymous features. The sculpted case, the interconnected and slightly industrial index ring and the wickedly razor-sharp hands are all still in evidence – but, the addition of enamel makes for a very well behaved dial. The drama of the spider’s web-like skeletonisation is gone, there is no severity and there is no moodiness, yet – despite the fact that the bold character of the K1 has been somewhat tamed by its new appearance, it doesn’t quite manage to break the spirit of Sarpaneva’s styling. For those who mourn the absence of melancholy relax, the next chapter is yet to be written. The Sarpaneva K1 Enamel edition will be limited to just 8 pieces

Sarpaneva K1 Enamel

Sarpaneva K1 Enamel

You can read an interesting Hands-On review of the Sarpaneva K1 Enamel on Escapement Magazine.

    Author Bio

    Articles by Johnny McElherron


    Johnny McElherron was busy minding his own business as a successful company director, when one day he fell in love with watches. So deeply that soon after his eureka! moment he established The Watch Press as a vehicle where he could indulge his passion with gusto. What his eye beheld he would write about, in his own unique style, and in time his work penetrated through to numerous national and international mainstream and online publications. Today Johnny creates engaging content for watch industry clients, and in 2014 joined forces with the highly respected watch industry specialists Delos Communications, with whom he works to provide Delos clients with high quality content to ensure no part of their company message gets lost in translation.