(draft : 6th of September 2006)

The Finnish Association of Watchmakers celebrates its 100th anniversary:
Kari Voutilainen, “Watchmaker of the Year 2006”

Jean-Jacques Subrenat* (Photos by the author)

On Saturday, 3rd of September 2006, the Finnish Association of Watchmakers celebrated its 100th anniversary. A gala dinner was held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Helsinki, and 3 special prizes were granted on this occasion:
- The distinction of “Watchmaker of the year 2006”, for outstanding achievements in horology, was bestowed on Kari Voutilainen, who has set up his own atelier in Môtiers (Switzerland).
The commendation, which was read by Ms. Maj-Lis Kvist, President of the Finnish Association of Watchmakers, is an interesting résumé of Kari Voutilainen’s professional history and achievements: it mentions that he graduated from the School of Watchmaking in Tapiola in 1986, attended WOSTEP courses in 1988 and 1989, and graduated from the Finnish Institute of Business Management in 1988.
This prize also recognizes his “outstanding professionalism, his open mind”, and his high technology solutions to watchmaking.
“He is also, for the moment, the most famous Finnish watchmaker, who has kept alive the tradition and reputation of Finnish watchmaking in the world, especially in Switzerland”.
The commendation goes on to mention that he worked 10 years with Parmigiani and Mesure et Temps S.A.. After that, as a teacher in WOSTEP, he was in charge of the course on complicated watches. From 2002, has been working as an independent watchmaker in Switzerland, “concentrating on crafting high-quality watches by hand. He possesses all the talents required of a representative, successful watchmaker”. And the commendation ends with this conclusion: “Has demonstrated great skills as well as a sense of innovation, and has set the highest technological standards in watchmaking. Has not been afraid to go out and discover the world”.
- The diploma of “Watch and Jewellery Shop of the Year 2006” was awarded to the Piekäinen shop in Helsinki, managed by Riikka Piekäinen
- The diploma of “The most attractive shopwindow of the Year 2006” related to horology was awarded to Kultakaksikko in Lohja, managed by Ms. Eija Kullaa.

Kari Voutilainen winding his way through the tables of applauding guests, on his way to the podium to receive the distinction of “Watchmaker of the Year 2006”, bestowed by the Finnish Association of Watchmakers, on the occasion of its 100th anniversary


Kari Voutilainen thanking the Association of Finnish Watchmakers for having nominated him “Watchmaker of the Year 2006”

Kari Voutilainen holding the diploma of “Watchmaker of the Year 2006”. To his right, Ms. Maj-Lis Kvist, President, and Ms. Tuula Navia, Managing Director of the Finnish Association of Watchmakers

With their prizes (from left to right): Riikka Piekäinen, Eija Kullaa, Kari Voutilainen

Earlier that day, a ceremony was held to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Finnish Association of Watchmakers. The ceremony celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Finnish Association of Watchmakers

Founded in 1906, the Finnish Association of Watchmakers has some members who are war veterans

In the course of this ceremony, the Association bestowed for the first time, in honour of the centennial celebration, numbered silver hammers to watchmakers having demonstrated special skill, interest and talent in craftmanship:
Hammer n° 1 was offered to Kari Voutilainen,
2, Harry Åkerman,
3, Seppo Tienhaara,
4, Stepan Sarpaneva,
5, Hannu Korsman.

The centennial award (a numbered silver hammer) was presented by Ms Maj-Lis Kvist (far right), President of the Finnish Association of Watchmakers, to Kari Voutilainen, Harry Akerman, Seppo Tienhaara, Stepan Sarpaneva and Hannu Korsman (from right to left)

From 2007 onwards, only one watchmaker will receive this yearly distinction.

*The author, a retired ambassador, has been interested in horology since childhood.




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