Finishing is in many ways what makes a luxury watch a true piece of haute horology. Sure, having an exceptional movement is necessary, too, and that’s something that Swiss watchmakers Schwarz Etienne have been masters at for a while now, with their cutting-edge, modular calibres.
Once you bring in the skills of something like Kari Voutilainen though, the finest Finnish finisher in the business, then you have something seriously special: the Schwarz Etienne ROMA SYNERGY by Kari Voutilainen.
Like so many of Voutilainen’s pieces, the starting point of the ROMA SYNERGY is the dial. Available in sand grey or a stunning ocean blue, each has a number of different, intensely impressive guilloche techniques to its name.
At the centre of the dial is ‘écaille de poisson’, designed to imitate fish scales, that ripples out from the centre of the dial towards the hour track. The hour track itself is engraved with a soleil pattern, a perfectly smooth wave around the edge. As if that weren’t enough, the small seconds at 6 o’clock has its own ‘vague’ guilloche pattern, a Voutilainen signature that very, very few artisans can pull off.
Despite the various finishes, the watch is still crisp and clean to read, with a combination big silver-toned Arabic numerals and baton indexes, sharp and contemporary. The final flourish is the inclusion of both makers’ names, Schwarz Etienne in the usual spot just under 12 o’clock, Kari Voutilainen on the small seconds at 6 o’clock.
The slim, 39mm stainless steel case is less ornate than the dial – not surprising there – but nonetheless finished well, highly polished and with Etienne’s unusual lugs framing it in an unusual silhouette.
Inside though, the Calibre ASE 200.00 is almost as impressive as the dial, with an 86-hour power reserve and a surprising slimness thanks to the microrotor. That tiny rotor has once again been lavished upon by Voutilainen, as has the wider movement, with snailing, bevelling, diamond drops and black polishing. It’s a little exhausting. Even the shock absorption system is finished with a rose guilloche because by this point, why not?
The ROMA SYNERGY is a masterclass in over-the-top, artisanal watchmaking and showcases why adding Voutilainen’s name to any watch is enough to get collectors hot under the collar. It is, in short, impressive as hell. Here’s hoping we avoid another lockdown so we can see it in the flesh, soon.
Price & Specs:
Model Name: Roma Synergy by Kari Voutilainen
Ref: WROVMA03SSCUBCLTD-A (blue-grey leather strap with gold leather lining)
WROVMA03SSCUBCLTD-A (aged grey leather strap with grey leather lining)
Case/Dial: 39mm diameter x 11mm thickness, stainless steel
Water Resistance: 50m (5 bar)
Movement: Calibre ASE 200.00, automatic with micro-rotor
Frequency: 21,600 vph (3 Hz)
Power Reserve: 86h
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds at 6 o’clock
Strap: Blue-grey leather with gold leather lining or aged-grey leather with grey leather lining, both with folding buckle in stainless steel
Price: CHF 27,400 (excl. taxes), limited edition of 50 pieces each
More details at Schwarz Etienne.