Introducing the Sarpaneva X MoominBy Suan Futt Yeo
Moomin characters by Swedish-Finn illustrator and writer Tove Jansson have made their way into a mountain of merchandise, enough to fill Aladdin’s cave. In its collaboration with Finnish watchmaker Sarpaneva, we find one of the most uniquely styled products to bear a motif of the pudgy troll.
The watch case shaped like a rosette is distinctively Sarpaneva, and instead of simply silk-screening any of the host of Moomin characters on a dial, the wearer is treated to an elaborate dial cut-out of a charming Moomin scene, laid over a solid plate. For many other watches in Sarpaneva’s collection, this underlying plate would be plainly painted in a single luminescent colour as a backdrop for the skeletonised dial above it. Here, what peeks through is a rendition of tall grass, with eight hand-painted Super-LumiNova colours, executed in varying order to create unique combinations from watch to watch. The uppermost layer of the watch’s three-layer dial is a circlet of hand-finished rings, 12 of them to frame the scene while marking the hours at the same time.
An excerpt from Moominsummer Madness by Tove Jansson (1955) to help us understand the context of the dial scene:
“Moomintroll was lying in his customary place (or one of his places) curled up on the green-and-yellow moss with his tail carefully tucked in under him. He looked gravely and contentedly down into the water while he listened to the rustle of wings and the drowsy buzz of bees around him. It’s for me, he thought. I’m sure it’s for me. She always makes the first bark boat of the summer for the one she likes most.”
Turning the watch over, one is greeted by the familiar Sarpaneva Moonface with eyes and lips in lume. While watchmakers generally stop at signing their names on their watches, the Sarpaneva Moonface that adorns the watches of the collection is itself a stylised rendition of watchmaker Stepan Sarpaneva’s own face, a piece of deadpan humour that is a very fitting expression of Sarpaneva’s personality, since he personally handcrafts each watch at his workshop in Helsinki.
Sarpaneva X Moomin is available in four colourways of 25 pieces each: Steel Rhodium, Flame Blue, Red Gold and Pitch Black. Each watch is delivered in a treasure roll made by Finnish textiles manufacturer Finlayson.
Sarpaneva watches are interesting because Stepan Sarpaneva is able to infuse so much of his personality into his watches. We won’t pretend to know anyone to any depth, but what is apparent enough, is Sarpaneva as an old-school watchmaker (hands-on craftsman as opposed to machine operator) with innate creativity drawn from his homeland Finland, and Switzerland which formed part of his watchmaking journey. The result are watches inflected with a certain wild energy that comes from the watchmaker himself. Sarpaneva used his own face as a model for his collection’s signature Moonface because he wanted something more fun than the usual Man in the Moon. We agree. And in Sarpaneva X Moomin, he is also presenting a larger piece of his homeland, having sourced materials and content from Finland – Moomintroll, steel for the watch, and watch roll from the one of the country’s oldest textiles manufacturers. This assembly of things Finnish can’t be a bad thing, seeing Finland is the world’s happiest country on earth, four years running.
Movement: Modified self-winding Soprod A10, 4 Hz, 42 hours power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes
Case: 42 mm Outokumpu stainless steel from Finland, 11.4 mm case height, sapphire crystal front and back, screw-down crown, water resistant to 10 ATM
Strap: Handmade black salmon leather strap, 22mm
Price: €12,000 excluding VAT