Laine Refreshes Their Catalog with Three New Customizable Watches

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Laine is an independent watch brand based in Switzerland, but with roots in Finland. Torsti Laine is a graduate of the Finnish School of Watchmaking, a surprisingly vital starting point for some of the most admired watchmakers in the world, including Stepan Sarpaneva and Kari Voutilainen. Laine’s watches are rooted in traditional craft, but like Sarpaneva and Voutilainen’s creations they have a distinct personality and style all their own. Laine just refreshed their catalog for 2021, and the new watches offer some subtle refinements to previous work, with a focus on customization with unique and unexpected color, material, and finishing combinations. 

The Laine update comprises three watches in total. At the top of the line we have the V38, a slim dress watch measuring 38mm in diameter, 9mm thick, and running on a Vaucher 5401 micro rotor movement. Like all of Laine’s watches, the appeal is really in the dial, and they offer a variety of custom options on the V38 to accent the basic Breguet numeral with subsidiary seconds layout. The different sectors of the dial can be finished in a number of different ways, including a guilloche center section with frosted outer section, triple guilloche, and a meteorite center section. According to Laine, a selection of colors are available for each modifiable section. The V38 starts at 9400 CHF for a watch with Laine’s basic “Moonfrosting” finishing, and tops out at 10,900 CHF for the triple guilloche option. 

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Next up is the Gelidus 3, or G3, a sequel of sorts to the Gelidus 2. This watch, at a glance, appears very similar to the V38, but is powered by the Unitas derived LA18.1 handwound caliber, and case is larger in every dimension to accommodate it (it measures 40.5mm in diameter, and is 11.3mm thick). A larger movement, though, means a larger canvas for impressive finishing, and Laine doesn’t disappoint in this area, and offers three different customizable options for decoration, from the simple to the abstract. This type of customization on a movement is practically unheard of in contemporary watchmaking. While plenty of brands will allow a simple customizable engraving on a plate or bridge, Laine lets you choose from wildly different styles of finishing, changing the character of what you see when you flip the watch over to a great degree. The G3 starts at 8,500 CHF for a watch with a Moonfrost finished dial, and goes up to 9,000 CHF if you prefer guilloche or meteorite. 

Laine’s “Abstract” movement finishing option, one of three available on the new Gelidus 3

The third new watch in Laine’s lineup is the GG3, which is short for Gelidus/Guilloche, with the “3” indicating full customization ability over three different guilloche patterns. The GG3 utilizes the same hand wound movement as the G3, and the case measurements are exactly the same as well. As you can see in these photos of the GG3, the combination of three distinct guilloche patterns leaves quite an impression, particularly when viewed up close. Traditional guilloche patterns available include Clou de Paris (the finest weave, recommended for the small subsidiary seconds dial), Panier (a traditional pattern resembling a basket weave), and Flamme (an almost psychedelic pattern with long, undulating waves). All of the guilloche on the GG3 is completed in the traditional way, on an engine turning machine, and Laine provides owners with signed authenticity documentation from the artisan who created the dial, along with photographs of the process. The GG3 retails for 9,800 CHF, and Laine is still producing the GG1 and GG2, which cost a bit less, and accordingly have fewer customizable patterns per dial. 

Three guilloche patters on one dial

These watches are made in an extremely particular aesthetic that is obviously not for everyone, but if traditional finishing techniques are appealing, there’s a lot to like here. While Laine watches are certainly more expensive, they remind me a bit of the Ophion Velos I reviewed last year. Those featured guilloche dials made with a CNC process, which achieve a similar aesthetic at a lower price point. Laine can be thought of as the no-compromises option for guilloche heads looking to invest in a small independent brand that makes watches in a traditional way. They’re expensive, sure, but they offer real value in being able to get exactly what you want from a small batch watchmaker. Besides, how many watches do you own that shipped with photographs of it being made? Laine

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Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.
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