Finnish independent watchmaker Stepan Sarpaneva is not famed for his subtlety or lack of creativity. In fact, more than most, he allows these forces to run rampant. It should come as no surprise, then, that after having been given the green light to collaborate with Swedish-Finn illustrator and Moomin Creator Tove Jansson for their 75th anniversary, Mr. Sarpaneva created something truly extraordinary. The Sarpaneva x Moomin watch which resulted not only went on to win accolades at SIHH, but featured what I certainly consider to be the most creative use of Superluminova application of all time.
In watchmaking, there are monolithic corporations like Richemont or Swatch. Then there are the established independents: think Journe, Dufour, RW Smith, etc. Finally, there are the niche independents. Though they don’t have a monopoly, in my estimation this is where the bulk of boundless creativity resides. Sarpaneva gained fame largely for putting his own face on the moonphase complication but backed it up through serious watchmaking, having trained under Vianney Halter, Christophe Claret, and Kari Voutilainen. The designs are as wild as one could hope with scalloped cases, texturized or machined dials, and generous use of luminous material. The purity of niche independents is the completeness of vision. One man can imagine, design, engineer, and create a singular vision. Perhaps that is overly romantic, but the singleminded-ness of approach seems tangible when you pay close attention.
The 39mm steel case on this example may seem sedate, but that is only to contrast the scene inside. The dial is . . .well, look at it; different in the best way possible. It features layered discs of laser-cut steel, then finished by hand at every level. The black lacquer and laser etching are contrasted against eight different color of Superluminova, leading to a painstakingly-enriched magical artwork under the night sky. While there are many diver’s and aviator’s watches that can be said to be practical lighthouses at night, I simply can’t think of another watch comparable in its artful lume glow. As it was the Moomin’s 75th (and, I imagine, because the dial process was highly involved), just 75 examples of this first iteration Sarpaneva x Moomin were ever created.
This example is unmarred in its year of life so far. The case is clean, crystal unmarked. Case back sticker still intact. It comes with a full set from the inventory arm of Phillips auctions, Perpetual. It is, however, listed on Chrono24. Many of their watches seem to appear on their Chrono24 storefront ahead of their direct website, as was the case here. It comes with a full set.
Find this Sarpaneva x Moomin here from Phillips for 19000 USD.