Sarpaneva Watches Korona K1 Second Edition is an exquisite timepiece from Stepan Sarpaneva. I have had the profound pleasure of meeting the charismatic Finnish watchmaker and applaud his unusual approach to watch design and life in general.
I have a vivid memory from my childhood. I was a young boy growing up in a Lancashire village synonymous with the cotton trade. Skylines were punctuated with tall brick built chimneys reaching upwards towards the omnipresent nimbus clouds.
My childhood was not deprived, but conversely it was not a tale of unbridled indulgence. We were working-class.
I remember having our daily pint of milk delivered by the Co-operative Dairies. Those who seemed a little more financially able, also had fresh orange juice delivered. However, the ultimate luxury to an eight-year old was the weekly arrival of “The Corona Man”. He delivered soft drinks with exotic flavours we had never seen before. This was a time when supermarkets did not proffer the vast choice we have grown to expect today.
I recall my more affluent neighbours inviting me to partake in a glass of dandelion and burdock, cherry flavoured pop or the very exotic looking American cream soda. The glass bottles were valuable as they were left on deposit. Collecting empties could prove an entrepreneurial opportunity to a budding capitalist, there was a few pence to be made on each returned bottle.
The reason I mention “The Corona Man” is that he provided the opportunity to experience different tastes and flavours we had never previously sampled. The same could be said of the Finnish watchmaker, a modern-day “Korona Man”, Stepan Sarpaneva. His uniquely designed timepieces offer alluring aesthetics unlike any other watches on the market.
Our childhoods would appear to have been very different. Whilst the sky above my innocent, youthful head was grey, precipitous and polluted, Stepan could enjoy the clarity of a clear blue sky above. In summer, extended daylight hours would indulge the then young Finn with a prolonged view of the sun.
Later in life, after a friend pointed out his latest design resembled the “corona”, the sun’s edge during a solar eclipse, and with a momentary lapse into dyslexia, the name Korona was born.
Presented in three variants, black diamond coated, imperial blue or rust brown, the regal shade of blue is my preferred choice. It is a wonderful colour that beautifully contrasts with the stainless steel case.
The hour and minute hands are rhodium plated and polished. They are contemporary in design and blend harmoniously with the remainder of the ensemble presented.
A central seconds hand is lithe, traversing the perimeter of the dial with laser-like form. The original Korona K1 lacked the central seconds hand and I feel the additional function is a wonderful enhancement to the former model.
A silver coloured frame is affixed upon the blue canvas, repeating the open-worked theme. It is secured with four pristinely presented screws and provides pleasing contrast.
At 3 o’clock the Sarpaneva nomen is presented. It is printed on the inside of the sapphire crystal.
At 6 o’clock an aperture reveals the date with the two numbers arranged vertically, one on top of the other. The standard Soprod date disc is dispensed with and the outcome magnificent, courtesy of Stepan’s own innovative stainless steel date disc. Moreover, hold the watch against the light and you will see through the date disc. A modified mainplate with an opening in line with the aperture allows light to flood through.
A scalloped edged caseband is yet another example of the “blue-sky thinking” practised by Sarpaneva. Its curvaceous form coquettishly toys with light and will no doubt attract many admiring glances.
The dimensions of the watch have ubiquitous appeal. With a diameter of 42mm and a case height of 10.2mm, it should prove eminently comfortable for the majority of wrists.
Those with more rarefied tastes and, by default deeper pockets, can select the model in 18-carat red or white gold. However, the stainless steel variant would fulfil my needs admirably.
The caseback features a sapphire crystal to view the heavily revised Soprod A10 calibre.
Stepan has fitted a self-winding Soprod A10 calibre within the boldly designed case. But, this is no standard off-the peg movement, it has been enhanced by the Finn.
As mentioned previously, the mainplate has been drilled to enhance the date display. It is rhodium plated and features perlage.
The oscillating weight is made of stainless steel with white gold masses attached.
A frequency of 28,800 vph (4 Hz), a 42-hour power reserve and 25 jewels complete the specification.
I have had the profound pleasure of meeting the charismatic Finnish watchmaker and applaud his unusual approach to watch design and life in general. Blessed with a sense of humour, he has made much play of his individualism. This is evidenced with the heading, “The Oddball World of Stepan Sarpaneva”, proudly proclaimed on his latest brochure.
The unorthodox approach to watch design does not mean he has eschewed craftsmanship. Not a bit of it. This is an artisan who has worked for some of the finest names in the industry including Piaget, Parmigiani, Vianney Halter and Christophe Claret.
With the Korona K1 Second Edition, Stefan Sarpaneva has delivered a wonderful timepiece which is imbued with a flavour and essence that delights my horological tastebuds. This is a new Korona man for a new generation.
Model: Sarpaneva Watches Korona K1 Second Edition
Case: Stainless steel; diameter 42.00 mm; height 10.20 mm ; water resistant to 5 bar (50 metres); sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
Functions: Hours; minutes; central seconds; date.
Movement: Modified Soprod A10 calibre, self-winding; frequency 28,800vph (4Hz); 25 jewels; power reserve 42 hours.
Angus is a self-confessed watch addict and is frequently asked to contribute to various printed magazines and websites around the globe. He also writes for individual watch companies on matters of horology and has appeared on television and radio as an industry expert.