Rough, cold, with a unique character and surprisingly fascinating… that is the manner by which I would describe the contrasting country that is Finland. Funnily enough, it’s also how I would describe the new S.U.F. Helsinki Vetehinen, the brand’s first plunge watch. A Finnish watch made by Finnish watchmaker Stepan Sarpaneva, who loves to play with the elements of unique design DNA he has developed, transposing and combining them in his little universe, resulting in a watch that simply looks and feels different, in an awesome way.
What is S.U.F. Helsinki? Basically, it stands for SarpanevaUhrenFabrik, a brand that is said to be “Finland, through and through“. What you may have spotted of course is the name Sarpaneva, perhaps the most productive members of the “independent watchmakers” scene. With S.U.F., Stepan needed to explore different horizons, with sporty and more accessible watches – generally simple sports watches, with out-sourced movements, prices starting at around EUR 2,500 and some beautiful distinctive DNA (see for instance the Paroni Flying Finn ). While his usual image Sarpaneva is used for complex watches and feature the emblematic menacing moonface, S.U.F., while staying an assortment of watches for the cognoscenti, focuses on exploring different styles, anyway still with a substantial Scandinavian pedigree.
After the first two watches, both with a pilot look, one aeronautics related piece – the Myrsky – and one motorbike-related – the Panori – SarpanevaUhrenFabrik is presently jumping in the chilly Baltic Sea, with the introduction of its vision of a plunge watch at Baselworld 2017. Furthermore, of course, don’t expect another Submariner duplicate here. The codes of the jump watch are present, anyway with particularly a unique Scandinavian look. The S.U.F. Helsinki Vetehinen is cool, rough, pure but also complex in shapes. The 42mm case, made in 316L steel, remains simple at first, anyway the influence of Stepan Sarpaneva is easily visible in the details. The bezel and the crown for instance display the same concave curves and sharp angles of Sarpaneva’s different models, utilized here to make grip.
One interesting subtlety, which reiterates this idea of being “Finland, through and through” is that the steel used for the case is high-grade Supra 316L/4435 stainless steel from Finland’s widely acclaimed steel monster, Outokumpu – forged in Helsinki, impregnated with against corrosive nickel mined from the Finnish ground. Of course, this remains a detail but one that adds to the story and to the authenticity of the watch. The S.U.F. Helsinki Vetehinen is a true jumper, with a 300m water resistance, a screw-down crown and a single direction rotatable bezel – with a perfect look, as no markers aside from the 12 o’clock luminous speck are present – implying that it does not satisfy the ISO 6425 standards, which require a minute scale going up to 60 min and markings demonstrating each 5 min… but honestly, who cares.
The dial and hands continue the Made in Finland subject. Although they may seem ordinary of plunge watch at first, the hand-set in particular assistance give this Vetehinen its own character, making it readily identifiable as being Sarpaneva’s brainchild. Enormous, sharp, shaped as swords, these “fallen angel tail” hands show a dual-finishing, polished on one side and matte sand-blasted on the other. The dials, manufactured by no-less than Kari Voutilainen – tutor to S.U.F’s. own special Stepan Sarpaneva during his initial years – offer 4 possible colors: silver, dim, cooper and blue. Various straps are accessible, from simple calfskin bands to snake-skin Natos.
Inside the case of the S.U.F. Helsinki Vetehinen is another development, the Eterna Caliber 39 (the brand used to depend on Sorpod A10 movements). Visible through the caseback, this automatic type shows a matte enrichment and a personalized rotor – a look that is in accordance with the utilitarian and cold design of the Vetehinen. It displays hours, minutes and seconds by means of a sub-dial at 9, ticks at 4Hz and boasts a comfortable force reserve of 65 hours. This Swiss development actually has its own association with the S.U.F.’s heartland, as Eterna was the first to recruit Finnish watchmakers, harking back to the Sixties.
The S.U.F. Helsinki Vetehinen By Sarpaneva is an extremely decent offer, a watch that has its own style, that shares its origins and that stands out of the crowd. It is isn’t modest as valued at EUR 4,650, anyway this is the cost you’ll pay for a mainstream Omega Seamaster or IWC Aquatimer – and here, each shading will be restricted to 26 pieces as it were. Those who feel somewhat adventurous won’t be disappointed. Note: the Gray and Blue editions are presently sold-out. The Silver and Cooper versions are still accessible on the brand’s own webshop here .
Technical Specifications S.U.F. Helsinki Vetehinen
- Case: 42mm breadth x 13mm thickness – Stainless Steel (Finnish Supra 316L/4435) – sapphire crystal on the two faces – One-way turning bezel, Screw in case back and crown – 300m water resistant
- Movement: Eterna Caliber 3901A – automatic – 4Hz frequency – 65H force reserve – 29 jewels – hours, minutes, small seconds
- Strap: Leather in various colors and rubber – steel pin buckle
- Price: EUR 4,650
- Limitation: 26 pieces for each color