Finnish folklore holds that the Northern Lights are caused by a fox sweeping its tail on the snowy slopes of the mountains. While of course now we know it not to be true, the allure of that mystical glow remains ethereal. Premiering at Baselworld 2015, Helsinki-based Sarpaneva Watches is set to unveil the Korona K0 Northern Lights. The timepiece is a collaboration with Sweden’s Black Badger, an advanced composite specialist who has given its dial a magical “moonglow.”
Sarpaneva Watches are unashamedly niche, stating matter-of-factly on their site that its watches “are not created for everyone.” Disregard the price points and take its timepieces at face value alone and you’re in for an aesthetic flight of fancy. Multi-layered dials, eye-catching skeletonisation, elaborately machined bezels, advanced finishes and treatments are all present and executed with precision—and that’s before even going into the attention to buffing up its movements. It’s only right then that Stepan Sarpaneva (who designs and handcrafts every watch) should team up with James “Black Badger” Thompson, whose work with spaceship-appropriate composites and glowing materials is equally unyielding in its quest for perfection.
Named Korona Northern Lights, three luminous variants of the watch have been created using a proprietary new solid-lume composite developed with Ambient Glow Technology that’s never been seen in watchmaking before. With eight of each version being made, it ticks all the boxes of upper level watchmaking: materiality, finishing, movement and scarcity to name a few. But the standout in this particular case is the meeting of its collaborators’ minds on the dial. Bold lume material on a dial is always tricky and this new lume is particularly vibrant, with the chance of being completely overbearing. Yet Sarpaneva’s craftsmanship softens the dial and creates an almost stained-glass window effect that fits the central moon phase complication perfectly.
Images courtesy of Sarpaneva Watches