Sarpaneva Marks 20 Years with the Stardust

Neo-Gothic, sci-fi, and hand finished.

Having built a reputation with original timepieces characterised by Neo-Gothic flair, Stepan Sarpaneva celebrates his 20th year in watchmaking with a pair in typical Sarpaneva style – Stardust and Stardust “Nostromo”Limited to twenty pieces each, the duo embody Sarpaneva’s trademark aesthetic styling in their hand-finished, open-worked dials and Korona case. 

Initial thoughts

I have long admired Sarpaneva for being different. The man has a unique and often quirky vision of watchmaking that is evident in his timepieces, which are also finished well in terms of cases and dials. While Sarpaneva has not done much in terms of movements, his original approach is very much independent watchmaking.

While different from its past offerings, both Stardust variants are still recognisably Sarpaneva with their radial dial motif and sculpted case.

Stardust (left) and Stardust “Nostromo”

The iridescent colours of the Stardust are not exactly novel, but it is a different take on the fashionable “rainbow” watch and it is certainly executed well since Sarpaneva does impressive dial work in its price segment.

On the other hand, the dark colours of the Stardust “Nostromo” give it a more sci-fi feel that goes well with Sarpaneva’s house style.

Both Stardust model are priced at €16,500 each, making them slightly affordable than the comparably spec’ed Valterri Bottas “Kilpisjärvi” released last year. While hefty on its face, the price tag is easily justified considering Sarpaneva’s small output and hand finishing of the dial and case.

20th anniversary

The Stardust pair was inspired by sisu, a Finnish philosophy of overcoming adversity with resilience. According to Sarpaneva, the brand’s 20-year pursuit of creating original timepieces is all about sisu

Executed in the typical Sarpaneva style, the limited edition pair both feature open-worked dials with stencilled numerals inspired by the numerals on space rockets and fighter jets. A rocket-shaped seconds is located eccentrically at ten o’clock, giving the dial an interesting asymmetry.

The seconds hand on the Stardust

The new pair is available in two distinct dial configurations. First is Stardust, which has a titanium dial that has been heated by hand to produce a rainbow-like oxide finish inspired by the deep-space landscapes visible from observatory telescopes.

Dial detail of “Nostromo”

“Nostromo”, on the other hand, is almost monochromatic. It has a DLC-coated dial and its hands, stencilled numerals, compass-like markings on the seconds dial, and its black polished seconds hand are coated with Super-Luminova for legibility in the dark.

The “lume” shot of the Stardust Nostromo

Both versions share the same signature case measuring 42 mm in diameter and 10 mm high. It’s brushed and polished with a heavily notched outline that is the brand’s defining case design. Like all Sarpnaeva cases, the case is crafted from high-grade stainless steel smelted in Finland. 

The Stardust models are powered by the P1003 made by complications specialist Chronode. Featuring a power reserve of 60 hours, the P1003 has been customised by Sarpaneva to feature a bespoke rotor bearing the brand’s trademark moon “face”. 

Key Facts and Price

Sarpaneva Stardust and Stardust “Nostromo”

Diameter: 42 mm
Thickness: 10 mm
Material: Stainless steel
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 100 m

Movement: Modified Chronode P1003
Functions: Hours, minutes, and small seconds
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 60 hours

Strap: Alligator with pin buckle, additional rubber strap

Limited edition: 40 pieces, with 20 per model
Availability: Direct from Sarpaneva
Price: €16,500 before taxes

For more, visit


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Seiko Introduces the Prospex 1970 Diver’s “Naomi Uemura”

A "Willard" tribute to a mountaineer.

Nearly fifty years since Japanese explorer Naomi Uemura (1941-1984) scaled several of the world’s tallest mountains – and crossed Greenland on a dog sledge with a Seiko on his wrist – Seiko introduces the Prospex 1970 Diver’s Modern Re-interpretation “The Naomi Uemura Limited Edition” (SLA069).

Inspired by the ref. 6105 “Captain Willard” that accompanied Uemura on his solo dog sledge run from Greenland to Alaska in 1976, the SLA069 has a mountain-motif dial and blue coating on the bezel and crown.

Initial thoughts

This limited edition makes sense philosophically since it’s a Japanese watch that pays tribute to a Japanese explorer who wore something similar on his expeditions.

The design is obviously based on the ref. 6105, a model commonly referred to as “Captain Willard” by enthusiasts after the lead character who wore one in Apocalypse Now. Seiko has done several ref. 6105 remakes in the recent past, including another Uemura edition, but the SLA069 has details that make it distinctive, like the textured dial and blue access on the case.

As a limited edition, the SLA069 is slightly priced higher than regular production “Captain Willard” divers, but not very much more, making it an appealing proposition for someone who wants a retro diver with a few modern details.

Willard style

Uemura was a legendary explorer known for feats of mountaineering and exploration before disappearing in 1984 while descending Mount Denali after reaching the summit. Best remembered for being the first person to reach the North Pole solo, Uemura also scaled five of the world’s highest peaks, including Mont Blanc and Kilimanjaro, by age 29.

The tribute to Uemura is essentially a variant of Seiko’s “Captain Willard” remake that’s based on the ref. 6105 of 1970. It retains same design but dresses it up with a dial featuring the Mont Blanc mountain range that was created with pressing and etching.

Unlike previous variants of the “Captain Willard”, the SLA069 has a 42 mm case, but it preserves the original form of the ref. 6105 along with the crown at four. In addition, the case has been finished with “super-hard coating” that is scratch resistant according to Seiko.

Also unique to this edition are the blue-hued bezel and crown

The SLA069 is powered by the cal. 8L35, an automatic movement that shares the basic architecture of the Grand Seiko cal. 9S55. The cal. 8L35, however, was developed primarily to equip Prospex dive watches.

The 8L35

Key Facts and Price

Seiko Prospex 1970 Diver’s Modern Re-interpretation “The Naomi Uemura Limited Edition”
Ref. SLA069

Diameter: 44 mm
Height: 13 mm
Material: Steel
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 200 m

Movement: Cal. 8L35
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds and date
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Winding: Automatic
Power reserve: 50 hours

Strap: Steel bracelet

Limited edition: 500 pieces
Starting May 2023 at Seiko boutiques and retailers
Price: US$2,900

For more, visit

This was brought to you in partnership with Seiko.

Correction March 10, 2023: The inspiration of the SLA069 is the ref. 6105 “Captain Willard”, rather than the “Turtle” as stated in an earlier version of the story.

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