Monday, March 28, 2011

A bit of Moonshine and some Northern stars from Stepan Sarpaneva

My fondness for Stepan Sarpaneva's moon continues unabated. Many find it too gloomy or despondent in appearance, but to me it's a contemplative, poignant, and only slightly mournful moon, reminiscent of Georges Méliès.

Finally, after much anticipation, the moon's latest appearance, courtesy of the Korona Moonshine, has been formally launched at Basel, though photos of it started appearing late last year. Here is the beautiful short film created for it.

The Moonshine shows the time via a single rotating disc that moves around the periphery of the dial; you read the time through a display window at 6 o'clock which reveals the moving disc. It's not a method of time display for those for whom accuracy to the minute is paramount, but it will appeal to fans of jump hours and direct read displays.

This 42mm watch will come in three versions. One in 18k red gold, and two in steel, with one of those being DLC coated in black.

The disc is lumed at night, as befitting a moon.


· Modified Soprod A10 calibre, 11.5 lines, 28800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz)
· Mechanical, automatic winding
· The movement’s mainplate is modified to incorporate phases of the moon (29.5 days) function
· 25 jewels
· 42-hour power reserve
· Stainless steel winding mass with red or white gold masses and single hand-engraved face
· Rhodium-plated, perlage finishing
· Moon phase wheel made of stainless steel with luminous

· Available in stainless steel or solid gold case (18K red or white gold)
· 42 mm in diameter, 10.2 mm thick
· 1.5 mm thick sapphire crystal with multi anti-reflection coating inside
· Double secured water-resistant SARPANEVA stainless steel or solid gold crown
· Water-resistant to 5 ATM

· Stainless steel, open “skeleton” dial
· Black diamond coated
· The face of the moon made of oxydiced sterling silver or 18K gold

· Skeletonized hour wheel made of stainless steel

· Leather in various colours
· Stainless steel or solid gold buckle

As well as the Moonshine, Sarpaneva has launched the Korona K3 Northern Stars, the dial now including cut-out stars, through which glimpses of the movement can be seen, adding layers and depth to the watch :

It comes in a white gold version and a black diamond coated steel one, and the caseback is Sarpaneva's well known winding mass.

It seems that Stepan Sarpaneva can't get enough of the moon, and both the Moonshine and Northern Stars fit comfortably into his brand's style.

A lot of Sarpaneva fans like the contrast of rose gold and black, but for me, the Moonshine in steel is the one that calls to my watch heart. The lume is such an obvious yet unexpected addition, and I love it. 

With regards to the Northern Stars model, I am undecided; the black diamond coated steel version appeals to the 'stealth watch' part of me, the blackness reinforcing the slight mournfulness of the moon. The blue dialled one has such a different tone, so much lighter, and with a touch of the whimsy about it. I don't think that I could choose between the two without seeing them both in the flesh, especially as I believe that the blue dial takes on different colours and effects under different lighting conditions.

Stepan Sarpaneva's moon continues to be a design that people either seem to love, or find too melancholy. As someone comfortably in the former camp, these are watches that I would love to be able to see in the flesh. Unfortunately, as the Northern Stars are a limited edition of 10, the chances of my seeing them in the flesh are highly unlikely!



Sam said...

OMG... the northern stay is SOOOO GOOOD!!!! especially the blue dialed one...


JeffM said...

I was in Basel yesterday to meet Stepan and pickup my K3 Harvest Moon from him and he told me about your blog. We should catch up sometime when I get back to Sydney. Apparently I'm the first Aussie to have a Sarpaneva based on what Stepan told me yesterday...

The Sydney Tarts said...

JeffM - Hi. I think yours is the second Aussie Sarpaneva, as one of us got a K2 a few years ago. I emailed Stepan about the Moonshine the day before I did this post, I'm glad that he told you about us. Email me at when you get back.

Anonymous said...

Well, theoretically, Jeff M is correct to say that he is the first resident Aussie to own a Korona, afterall the first Aussie owner is an ex-pat and a non-tax resident :)

Congrats JeffM. I bought the K2 sight unseen.


JeffM said...

The watches are really something to behold in the flesh. I have to admit that I wasn't sure about the moonshine from the photos I'd seen on the web but in person it just 'works'.

The big surprise for me was the K3 Northern Stars in DLC. From the pictures to me it just looked like a more plain version of the K3 Harvest Moon that I had ordered but in the flesh there was a real depth to the dial that is impossible to convey with photos. So many layers create a really nice impression of the dial when viewed from different angles and lighting positions.

There was no buyers remorse though and I happily wore my new K3 Harvest Moon around Basel all day and was even more satisfied at the end when I couldn't find a watch that I would rather go home with.

The Sydney Tarts said...

JeffM - Very interesting re: the K3 Northern Stars in DLC. I think it's hard to get a proper grip on his watches just on photos, they are definitely watches that need to be seen in the flesh. I'm particularly interested in the readability of the Moonshine. Glad that you don't have buyer's remorse, and that's true watch love if you couldn't find anor watch that day which grabbed you as much as your new K3.