Walkthrough The Great Set Up of Kari Voutilainen

Walkthrough The Great Set Up of Kari Voutilainen

Hello and welcome on TheWATCHES.tv for one
of my favorite types of content where we discover together, you and us, the behind the scenes
of our favorite watchmakers with these extended walkthrough visits and today we have the privilege
of visiting the very interesting and impressive set up of Kari Voutilainen and his team. And I say impressive, because Kari Voutilainen
produces a bit more than 50 timepieces per year, but he is now able to produce practically
every single component of these timepieces; movement components of course, obviously his
own dials, a real signature of the brand, and even his own cases. He managed to do so by acquiring small companies
that were complementary to his original activity and he reorganized them to his liking and
obviously to his high quality standards. So today we’re heading off to the Val de
Travers in the Canton of Neuchâtel, a valley with a rich history of watchmaking significance,
and visited his main facility of Môtiers where they develop and construct timepieces,
produce certain components and in particular do the finishing on these components and naturally
the assembly and testing of each timepiece. But this facility works closely with another
one found some 10 minutes away in a small and cute village of St Sulpice where you will
find the Comblémines company where a serious machining operation is set up, working on
components and dials, material treatment and all is really state of the art, very impressive. So obviously one doesn’t really need this
full operation to produce 50 timepieces and therefore this Comblémines operation can
also work for other brands based on the great established know how and you have some serious
players using this. Anyhow we didn’t have the time to visit
the case maker, which is a bit farther away in the Jura, but it’s just the perfect excuse
to go back there one day. Ok, let’s start the visit and for the sake
of the video, we will jump from one place to the other and let’s enjoy together the
openness with which Kari and his team greeted us. Hello, Kari. Hello. Thanks a lot for having us here, and we are
really looking forward to going through this walk-through with you and understanding how
you work. Thank you so much, welcome. Thank you, let’s start the visit. Let’s go. Everything starts from here. That’s ideas and then it’s followed by construction
of the movement mechanism. These two gentlemen are doing this construction:
movement, dial, cases. After construction, they’re making all the
drawings for the components and then we’re going to fabricate all these. We have our own calibers, which are created
by us and then the development. Then afterwards we do our all drawings, and
then we’re creating all the components by ourselves. A dial like this, it takes several days to
do. First of all, the technical part, but then
it’s also an esthetical part to get the proportions right and once the construction is done, then
to do drawings. We prefer to use silver, because silver is
a nice metal to engine turn. Platinum is very noble, but it’s not very
good for the engine turning. We have done a system like this which we have
patented. We can easily put the dial on when we have
a case and three pieces. We can do the casing, then put the dial on
and also for the casing it’s very easy. This movement 28TI is also a bit more complicated. It has powers of indication as well. The movement by itself contains 300 components. The principle is inspired from the escapement
invented by Breguet, we call it natural escapement as we’re working directly, the escape wheel
is giving direct impulse to the balance wheel and it performs better. We have more power on this portion, so we
can have longer power reserve, for instance. Then we have a hairspring, which is different
as we have a Phillips overcoil, but then we have also an inside curve, which is different,
we call it Grossman inside curve. Merci. We need parts. The watch contains hundreds of parts so we
have to make them. They don’t drop from the sky. We’re obliged to do these. We’re buying raw material and we’re making
them. What we’re doing here is that we’re meshing
them for instance here, we’re doing balance wheels. Also, what is interesting is that even with
modern machines, the action between the tool and the piece is exactly as it was 300 years
ago. They’re using classical materials and they’re
removing shapes. We’re cutting the metal. That’s what we have been doing with this machine. The machines can be precise, but you have
to be able to use it correctly. To set up the tools, to use the right tools,
the right speed and how we’re meshing. It’s a combination between all these things
which makes that we’re achieving the precision. It’s the man behind and not the machine. Once we set up, we do small quantities, like
here it’s for about one year. You have one year of material done. Yes, one or two. Once it’s set up, you just go. Every part is controlled individually, we
do 100% control. 100% control? Yes, because our production is so small and
it’s a pity to waste the time until the end and then find out that there’s something wrong. Control is important part of the work. Already at the beginning before starting the
small series, if it starts so-so, it’s finished so-so. It’s better to be strict on that. I see that just behind you, you have wagons
and a railway track. When a train comes by, is everything okay
here, no shaking? Yes, it takes our delivery directly from here. Well, taking watches? Yes. That’s what you need. Exactly. Here, we’re decorating dials or some movement
parts with scientific machines, they’re called engine turning lathe or Rose engine in English. It was useful 150 years ago in United Kingdom
where they printed banknotes, otherwise it has been used as a decorative tool, to decorate
watch dials, jewelry, watch cases. The head is moving. It’s very sensible. Then the cutting tool remains still. The cutting tool doesn’t move, it’s the piece,
which is moving. The head is heavy and the motion is very stable
and slow. When it cuts, it doesn’t vibrate and this
you can’t obtain with a machine. The very first thing before engine turning
is that these surfaces, which are smooth, we have to do the decoration on them, so that’s
the very first thing. Then afterwards, we put protection lacquer
on it, and then we do engine turning. It can take from two days up to one week. You’re mentioning two techniques; I guess
this is the second one? Exactly. This is called a straight line. It means that the pieces fix on the head and
goes only down, but it can also move sideways and we can create different type of patterns
let’s say. If you want waves like this. Exactly. Then we can turn the head once we’re doing
the lines so we can do lines in different manuals. There’s a lot of different type of things
and, of course, it changed completely the face of the watch and the character of the
watch. This is the operation that we’re polishing
the pinion. Leaves of the pinion it can be done under
industrial way, or it can be done like this and to do that, we use this wooden disc and
we obtain the polish which is black polish. It’s flat so we’re reducing the friction between
these two pinion leafs. To set up the machine it takes easily a few
hours, and then the operation by itself is only a few seconds. Here, we’re doing the hardening of the steel. We’re heating up to something like 800, 900
degrees, and then we’re cooling down the piece immediately. The physical structure of the steel will change,
and it will become, we call it glass hard. Then we’re heating again until certain temperature
something like between 270 to 300 degrees according what it is and then we obtain the
right hardness of the steel to his purpose. Per year, how many components of yours go
through this process? We’re fabricating about 16,000 components
per year and half of the components they’re made from steel. We’re doing about 8,000 heat treatments so
8,000 pieces. That’s quite significant, about 48-50 watches
per year. Once all the components are done and they’re
decorated or pre-decorated, so it means that all the functional parts like the gear train,
escapement, balance wheel, we do the assembling of those components, finishing of those components. Afterwards, we have a main plate, for instance,
like in this case, which is finished. It’s decorated but the rest, the main bridges
they are not yet decorated. Then once the pre-assembling is done and at
the moment that watch is running its time, then we do the disassembling, and then we
do finishing on all the components. On the pre-assembling stage, we’re also using
working screws, which are unfinished or the ratchet wheel, which is unfinished. This stage takes one-two days and then the
movement will remain clear. The pre-assembly stage is much longer than
the final assembly? That takes time because on the pre-assembling
stage, we have to polish pins, we have to do small adjustments, that’s the real work. What we are doing here, we are doing the finishing
work for the moment, beveling on glass, polishing, doing crane surface, surface finishing decoration. We’re using hand tools, files, stones and
then afterwards we need polishing paste, mold to be able to polish. You need tools but you need also the know-how,
how to do it and the experience as well. In this part of your workshop, what do you
do? Here we are doing pre-assembling and assembling
watches, casing, striking watches. Here is Carine, she’s finishing the pre-assembling,
so now she’s doing the hand setting gear train. This we call it a minute wheel and minute
wheel pinion, so we have to attach them together. Here we’re doing mechanics or we are milling,
we’re turning and fabricating these components for the dials. Dial making is very different in a way, because
it’s a face of the watch, so we have to do the finishing on it. The machining has to be very clean because
afterwards, there is less work to clean it and it’s more difficult. It’s very important that the machining is
very well done. Here we’re in the small workshop, where we’re
doing also surface treatments. We call it “giclage” and “écrémage”,
it’s surface treatment and we are working with water and mixing a stone powder, a little
bit like cream tarter and some other things. This is injected with pressure against the
dial. We can have a thickness of 0.2 mm and there
is no deformation and it creates very fine matte surface. Here we’re in the galvanic treatment workshop
and we can do almost all the galvanic colors we want. This is something excellent for us because
it’s good for creativity. I can imagine, yes, you can do whatever you
want. Exactly. I like that the dial has a rendering like
here, it’s a bit shiny so it’s a play between the surface and the lacquer. You can have a shiny surface matte-lacquered. It gives a different rendering and that’s
the know-how of the dial maker but that’s the type of rendering the customer wants to
have. Now, the dial is done. Then, the last operation after printing is
setting the hands or assembling the dial. Very often it can be that the dial comes in
multiple pieces, so in this room we’re assembling dials, we’re setting the indices, our indices. We have small tools for that. And once final operation is done? Then it’s the control. Control again. Then shipping. Then shipping. Yes. The train is waiting. Ok, hope you enjoyed as much as we did this
nice walkthrough and looking forward discovering together another great operation soon. All the very best, thanks for watching, thanks
to our great Patrons making this possible, don’t hesitate to join in and a massive
Viva Watchmaking to you.

61 thoughts on “Walkthrough The Great Set Up of Kari Voutilainen

  1. I feel a bit overwhelmed seeing the amount of work it takes to produce 1 vautilainen watch……just wow. This level of quality is amazing. Honestly, to put a price tag on these beautiful pieces is kind of an insult for they are priceless. Thank you for this video.

  2. A revealing discovery for me, fell in love with the dial making +finish. Truly exclusive brand, hence the price I guess… Keep teaching us why and how are these crafts men and women so precious. Best, Benoit

  3. Excellent educational video MAD & team. Great 👍 job Kari & team for bringing the best in high Horology. Hope to see other independents in future videos.

  4. He has a very traditional look to his watches despite the technology, I guess they are all the same in that regard; a blend of traditional and modern. Nice walk through again. Are you still planning to do the follow up video of the Greubel Forsey hand made watch? Still some editing to do perhaps…

  5. Wow wow wow… This is just unbelievable content. Fascinating on so many levels, the contrast between the HAAS CNC machines (Kari would be a cool F1 sponsor lol), to the engine turning machines is incredible. My favourite thing about Voutilainen was that he released a chronograph as his first model I think, which are surprisingly rare in haute horology. Thank you for the amazing work!

  6. It’s a joy to see this beautifull, skillfull craftsmanship. It’s something as an artisan you do by yourself, you are in a creative bubble, totally lost in your work, it’s not for everybody, it’s so special. I have the highest adoration for these people, creating all those components by hand with so much dedication.

  7. These are my favorite type of video that you good folks do! Keep them coming. I also like everything else you guys do too… 😉

  8. Really like these behind the scenes videos they show of the excellent craftsmanship and ingenuity that is required to make these wonderful timepieces. I like Kari Voutilainen watches they always look amazing. Excellent video from the watches team and especially appreciate the time Kari gave up to walk us through his wonderland. Thanks and Viva Watchmaking (maybe time to consider trademarking your catchphrase).

  9. Thanks, Marc for the great video, Keri is a watch-making wizard and a true gentleman.
    I had the pleasure of seeing his watch from this Basel, and talk to him about it and about his design process.

  10. I mean, he was the teacher on wostep at the restoration department. One of his student is now at omega technical support which taught me coaxial movements once at our office.

  11. As usual, your videos are always full of interesting information and precious details, where we always learn something new while having a lot of fun as we were watching a well-done movie!

  12. Great walkthrough! Once I have enough money I think I'll get a watch from Voutilainen rather than a car, it is supreme craftsmanship.

  13. Totaly awestruck. Once again by using your knowledge you have given us insight to some of the lessor known but wow wow extremes of outstanding watchmaking at it's peak. Each watch should be in a museum of art. Those shots in the dial-making area OMG. Thank you, its surely one of your best videos.

  14. I could watch this for hours. Thank you so much for another great video.

    Marc, may I ask what watch you are wearing during this walkthrough?

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