You may have heard of the watch brand Sarpaneva so why the name and where did it originate from?
The brand was created in 2003 by Finnish watchmaker Stepan Sarpaneva. Based in Helsinki, the capital of Finland, Sarpaneva became the country’s only watch brand.
While Finland has its horological school: Kelloseppäkoulu – The Finnish School of Watchmaking which was established in 1944 and is currently located in Leppävaara, the largest city centre in Espoo, the more than 700 graduates throughout its history work mainly outside of Finland. Most will be found in the Swiss watch industry with some in the United Kingdom and the United States.
Stepan Sarpaneva obtained his formal education in watch training from Kelloseppäkoulu which was then located in Tapiola (the Finnish School of Watchmaking was relocated to Leppävaara in the late 2000s and is just five kilometres from the old school).
He then cut his teeth in watchmaking companies such as Piaget, Parmigiani, Vianney Halter and Christophe Claret.
It was at Parmigiani where Stepan Sarpaneva not only worked on complicated timepieces but with another talented Finnish watchmaker, Kari Voutilainen. Voutilainen, a fellow graduate from Kelloseppäkoulu, is currently an independent watchmaker and has based himself in Switzerland.
Stepan Sarpaneva hails from a family known for producing artists and designers. His father, Pentti Sarpaneva was well-known for unusual jewellery, bronze and glass objects while his uncle, Timo Sarpaneva, is an influential designer and sculptor who is popularly known for his sculptures of glass that are also utilitarian in form.
This explains why Stepan Sarpaneva’s designs are unique; one fine example being the distinctive Sarpaneva Korona watchcase which takes its name from the word “corona” which means the “rarefied gaseous envelope of the sun or a star” as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary.
The moon on his watches also has a characteristic Stepan Sarpaneva look. In Sarpaneva’s moon phase timepieces, the moon has “an aura of aristocratic melancholy with a bit of indecision as to whether he is basically happy or sad in nature”.
For those facing indecision as to whether a Sarpaneva timepiece is for them; perhaps they should firstly ask if they are looking for an individualistic and easily recognisable watch that is extremely limited in production quantity bearing the mark of the brand the artisan is named after or simply a more industrial and commercial watch made in the thousands.
“Stepan is highly opinionated, creative and passionate in his work. He remains independent as he wishes to have freedom such that he can express himself through his masterpieces,” says Jacky Lim of Miluxe, the distributor of Sarpaneva timepieces in Singapore and Malaysia.
Note: for a private viewing of Sarpaneva timepieces in Singapore and / or Malaysia, contact Jacky Lim on his mobile: +65 8415 8866 (Singapore) or +60 12670 9689 (Malaysia). Email: email@example.com