So, I’m a member of this Whatsapp chat group, right. It’s got a whole bunch of people in it who are interested in watches — mostly collectors, some industry heavy hitters, handful of journalists. We share wristshots, horological news, commentary, funny videos — the kind of stuff you’d expect from a group like this.
Last night, someone hit us up with the news that Kari Voutilainen is collaborating with a Chinese smartphone manufacturer to produce a signature series of phones bearing Voutilainen elements. Specifically, Kari is contributing a SIM-card cover, which comes in the shape of a watch dial, mounted on the back of the phone. It’s not some half-assed exercise in repurposing stock components either — the dials only go up to the eighth marker, so they’ve got to be custom. They’re made in Comblémine, Kari’s dial factory, and are as well made as you’d expect anything by Kari to be. Fellow Finn Stepan Sarpaneva has also pitched in with some work on the bezels, so you can see this is a group effort. Yay, Scandinavian solidarity!
Within the group chat, initial reactions to this announcement were kinda mixed, which seems fair, because it is an unexpected move from Kari. But then later that evening I did a quick tour of my social media accounts and it seemed as if people were, like, going apeshit over this.
Am I the only one who doesn’t have a problem with this news at all? I’m actually cheering for Kari in this situation, and although I understand a lot of the knee-jerk reactions and where they’re coming from, I would be really surprised if people didn’t move past their emotions fairly rapidly and take a more balanced view. Or maybe I wouldn’t be surprised in the least, just appalled and disappointed, but we’ll see.