Up Close with the Voutilainen GMR Triton et Sirène

Exceptional artisanal decoration - hand-engraving and plique-à-jour enamelling - is the highlight of the unique GMR Triton et Sirène by Kari Voutilainen.
Voutilainen GMR Triton et Sirène 1

Voutilainen is highly regarded, and rightly so, for his finely made watches that rank amongst the best in terms of movement finishing. The one of a kind GMR Triton et Sirène in white gold exemplifies Voutilainen’s craft.

First introduced last year, the GMR is a more complicated version of Voutilainen’s Vingt-8 chronometer, featuring a second time zone at six o’clock and a power reserve display at noon; pushing the crown advances the second time zone in one hour steps, exactly as on the simpler GMT-6. The Triton et Sirène has the exact same functions and dial layout as the basic GMR, but with a splash of red against the matte blue dial. This gives the watch a modern twist, though traditionalists might find this adventurous.

Since Voutilainen acquired dial maker Comblémine in 2014, he has added bold new colours to his repertoire, particular with coloured hands. Practically any colour dreamed up by a client can be achieved. While Voutilainen has been intrepid in his dial design adventures, the quality of the dial remains exemplary, particularly in the exceptional hand-made hands.

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Voutilainen GMR Triton et Sirène 2

Despite the striking colour on the front, the highlight of the Triton et Sirène is on the reverse. A hinged hunter back serves as the canvas for a relief engraving decorated with vitreous enamel. Depicting Greek god Triton, son of Poseidon, and a siren or mermaid, the back is gorgeous.

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Voutilainen GMR Triton et Sirène 10

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In fact, the hinged lid is double sided, engraved and enamelled on both faces; the inside of the lid is engraved with “We will return to where we came from”, a discreet memento mori.

The inside of the hinged back

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The remarkably detailed engraving was done by Eddy Jaquet, a talented Swiss specialist whom Voutilainen has relied on for years. Some of Jaquet’s best known works for Voutilainen are amongst the watchmaker’s earliest, notably the Masterpiece series of minute repeaters that started in the early 2000s. Further embellishment of the back is accomplished with plique-à-jour enamel, an uncommon technique similar to stained glass that enhances the double-sided beauty of the back.

Done by Swiss enameller Inès Hamaguchi, an independent artisan located in the same town as Voutilainen who has also done similar work for Cartier and Hermes, plique-à-jour enamel calls for vitreous enamel to be painted inside a cell, similar to cloisonné, but without any backing, creating a translucent motif.

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The decorated back leaves the GMR Triton et Sirène slightly thicker than the average Voutilainen chronometer at 13.8mm high, but the white gold case diameter remains the standard 39mm.

Underneath the elaborate lid is the Voutilainen calibre 28, a hand-wound movement with an extra-large balance wheel and twin, blued steel escape wheel’s of Voutilainen’s own design. The bridges and baseplate are plated in a dark grey ruthenium finish, a style Voutilainen favours (the Tourbillon-6 is another example) but one that is more contemporary than the traditional striped finish.

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Price and availability

The GMR Triton et Sirène is a one-off creation and priced at SFr180,000. That’s steep enough to raise eyebrows but the obvious degree of skill and effort that went into this watch makes it more forgivable.

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