Kari Voutilainen was born in Finland in 1962 and has a passionate interest in horology spanning thirty years. He completed his initial watchmaker’s training at the world renowned watchmaking school of Tapiola in Finland.
He first came to Switzerland in 1989 to attend the International Watchmaking School, where he completed the WOSTEP complicated watch course, a post graduate course for those watchmakers dedicated to the restoration of complicated, high quality rare watches. He was quickly spotted by Parmigiani Mesure et Art du Temps, where over the following ten years he was at the centre of the restoration work of some of the world’s rarest pieces as well as the creation of new and original ‘one-off’ pieces.
Giving back to others much of the fruit of his experience, Kari Voutilainen taught for the next three years at the WOSTEP School of Watchmaking, heading the department of complicated watchmaking. He also undertook the complete training of beginners, and added many new courses to the curriculum that he had devised himself.
He is, as his nature suggests, the first to commend the kind and generous teaching of those master watchmakers who have passed on their ‘centuries old’ watchmaking knowledge.
Alongside his professional work, Kari Voutilainen has devoted himself, through many long evenings of tireless work over the last fifteen years, to developing the ultimate perfection of new and unique mechanisms, which are represented in his highly elegant watches.
Following his passion, and in order to preserve this highly prized tradition, Kari Voutilainen established his own business as an independent Artist Watchmaker in the village of Môtiers in 2002. The beautiful and tranquil region of ‘Val-de-Travers’ gives itself by its very nature to thoughtful and creative watchmaking. Distant markets as far away as China have been conquered by the works of past Masters from this region.
Kari Voutilainen’s natural gift for perfection, coupled with his broad experience and deep understanding of very high quality, antique, complicated watches, are the quintessential ingredients for innovative creation in the art of watchmaking. Not one to satisfy himself by imagined creations alone, he makes all of his creations himself. He is totally involved in every detail whether technical or aesthetic; like a true artist or sculptor, nothing is left to chance.
Only this way can his masterpiece timekeepers, based on solid technical foundations and incorporating timeless classical design, pass from generation to generation as the inheritance of a time honoured and proudly maintained tradition.
As with all entirely handmade watches, their number will remain limited; each one is crafted according to specific requirements and has its own individual and personal qualities. It goes without saying that these technical marvels are clothed and protected only by the most precious of metals.
It is for these reasons that pieces signed by Kari Voutilainen will make their mark in the history of watchmaking, to the great delight of those collectors fortunate enough to own one.
“The key to success as an independent watchmaker in my view is closely associated with seeing the reality around you. You have to strike a happy balance between making enough timepieces in order to be an established and proven atelier as well as to be taken seriously, which also means economically viable.
However, if you go beyond the natural limitations of the situation there is an ever-lurking danger that you become a manager and are never behind the bench anymore. The product will suffer with that, and within the shortest time, you have sold your soul to the devil.
This is why, from the very beginning of starting for myself I defined exactly what my goals were, which timepieces I wanted to create in the future, how much time I was willing to spend on non-watchmaking activities like organization and the like.
The result is that I know exactly how many watches I can make a year and the exact limits I have on production. This also means it is not easy for me sometimes. Many people call me and I feel bad because I cannot help them with a watch right away, they will have to have the patience to wait.
Doing it any other way would disturb the balance here in the atelier that I have worked so hard to build up exactly as I want it.”