Indie watchmaker Stepan Sarpaneva, along with his fellow Finn Kari Voutilainen, put Finland on the map as a watchmaker’s country; both their names are at the top of the list of contemporary independent masters for a reason. S.U.F., or SarpanevaUhrenFabrik, was created in 2003 and, since then, produces limited edition watches with a distinctive design. This independent venture of Stepan Sarpaneva is well known to watch collectors beyond Northern Europe and enjoys its rather exclusive status due to the small number of watches obtainable and the relatively high price when compared to “similar” models. Two new 180 Field Watches have just been presented.
The 180 collection offers what the company calls “the most Finnish watch yet”, clearly taking pride in that S.U.F. was created by one of the famous watchmakers with Finnish roots, and not just that. The watches are assembled in Helsinki, Finland’s capital and designed to look like a product from the North, where nature is harsh, the sky is grey, and the people are cold blooded and practical. And that is a good thing.
At the collection’s core is a field watch – a time instrument made to serve the ultimate purpose. The new generation of the 180s has no date indication, much to the pleasure of many date-haters, but remains the “minimal utility” product with hours, minutes and seconds. Two recently released models, the 180 N (Noki) and the 180 NN (Noki Nero), are twins; the only difference is the black DLC coating on the NN reference. Their 38.7mm cases are made of Finnish stainless steel and are 9.4mm thick, with a lug-to-lug length of 46.4mm. The dark silver fumé dials look attractive and minimalist yet elaborate simultaneously. Using proprietary Scandi-noir typeface numerals in silver print, the clever mix of indices, with a triangle at 12, rectangular blocks at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock and corresponding dots on the white printed railway-style minute track, reveal the nostalgic nature of the watch. The logo and the collection’s name are in grey, matching the numerals. The hour and minute hands are polished and filled with Super-LumiNova, while the blued central seconds hand has a lollipop design. The dial is legible in all light conditions thanks to the lumed indices. Very practical.
The caseback is open, and the movement inside is a slim, automatic Swiss-made Soprod A10, rhodium-plated and decorated with circular engraving and Geneva stripes. It may look like an ETA 2892, but it is not, and in fact, it competes with the Swatch Group movement, being a perfect replacement. The A10 is an advanced calibre based on the Seiko 4L design and manufactured in Switzerland under license. This calibre beats at 4Hz and goes on for 42 hours when fully wound. A workhorse, to repeat the familiar phrase.
The S.U.F. Helsinki 180 N and 180 NN are delivered on a black Nordic elk leather strap with a pin buckle, with an additional Grassbay strap made by Erika’s Originals, a small artisanal company located in Spain. This strap comes with an engraved S.U.F. Helsinki buckle. The 180 Noki will set you back EUR 3,100, and the DLC-coated 180 Noki Nero is EUR 3,720, including taxes. The S.U.F. Helsinki pricing policy is often discussed online and often in comparison with other brands’ field watches. Just check the company’s website for the sold-out list of models. When it is hard to dispute that the 180s each cost an average Finn’s monthly income, there is no lack of those willing to become proud owners of a S.U.F. Helsinki.
For more details and orders, please visit sufhelsinki.com.