Finnish Watches: Sarpaneva Lunations

Stepan Sarpaneva

“As far as my friends are concerned, I am doing really useless stuff,” Stepan Sarpaneva confesses on his website. “And who can blame them? Why would I do this stupid thing?”  The obvious answer: to increase the sum of human happiness by making watches like Lunations. But don’t take my word for it. Check it out . . .

Sarpaneva Lunations
Lunations isn’t immediately impressive – it doesn’t blow you away with the kind of exquisite decoration and on-display micro-engineering that elevates Swiss and European horology to high art. But Mr . Sarpaneva’s most recent work is just as amazing, just as beautiful in its own Steampunk meets classical art way.

Clearly, the Finnish watchmaker isn’t the lunatic he thinks he is. Or it he? Notice the shadow across the dour-faced moon dominating the Lunations’ dial. That, my friends, is a lunar calendar, a celestial body that forms the central focus of Mr. Sarpaneva’s art. Astoundingly so.

Twin rear-mounted globes rotate to cover the aperture to reflect the exact moonphase. And I do mean exact. “The lunation in the Sarpaneva Moonment calibre lasts 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes and 2.3 seconds,” the website informs us, “it needs to be adjusted for a single day of error only once every 14,000 years.” After it’s set for the northern or southern hemisphere, of course.

So Lunations is an heirloom piece, something your grandchildren can pass on to the next 175 generations with futzing with the mechanism. Progeny who will no doubt delight in the watch’s evening performance.

Obviously, the moon discs and hands don’t spin that fast in real life, but they do spin exceedingly fine. If you’d like a different lume hue, prefer a rose gold case, fancy swapping the hands for something a little less F.P. Journe or covet  custom engraving, Mr. Sarpaneva would be happy to oblige. As long as you’re happy to pony up a pile of cash above and beyond the base model’s $35k.

Sarpaneva Lunations (courtesy thewatchilove.com)

Due to their price, not a lot of people get to go hands-on with Mr. Sarpaneva’s creations. (He has dealers in Florida, California and Pennsylvania.) Luckily, our man at watchilove.com was one of them. I can see why he didn’t call his site thewatchandstrapcomboilove.com, but his photo proves that Mr. Sarpeneva’s wearable art won’t wear out its welcome.

Lunations stem winder

All of Mr. Sarpaneva’s  timepieces have an identifiable style. They’re all superb examples of the Finnish School of Watchmaking (literally). That said, if Lunations is a little “out there” for your taste, I get it. Mr. Sarpaneva gets it, too. “These watches are not created for everyone,” he admits.

Lunations is for well-heeled collectors who admire Mr. Sarpaneva’s skill, independence creativity and persistence. The Peter Dinklage look-alike may doubt if he has all his Moomins in the valley (olla kaikki muumit laaksossa), but I reckon the world is a better place for his craziness.

[NB: The Truth About Watches does not receive commission on links.]

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