Today, we’ll take a brief look at the Sarpaneva Dragonskin, a watch that owes its existence to a fellow watch journalist. It’s a fascinating watch with a great story. Plus, it brings together watchmaking and artisanal materials. What could be better?

Justin Mastine-Frost is the Director of Digital Content for Sharp Magazine, one of Canada’s leading men’s lifestyle journals. He’s also a longtime watch journalist who has developed relationships with several founders of watchmaking companies. One of his favorites happens to be Sarpaneva. The Finnish watchmaker has a spectacular reputation for nouveau-gothic watches featuring bold designs and fantastic finishing. Justin mentions that he has owned several pieces from Sarpaneva and truly enjoys reviewing new watches from the brand. He has also developed an interest in EDC items, such as knives. At some point, both the EDC world and watches collided, and he hatched the idea for the Sarpaneva Dragonskin.

The Sarpaneva Dragonskin

Justin explains that he had seen plenty of Damascus steel watches and dials. However, he had never seen a dial made from Dragonskin Damascus steel. He gave Stepan Sarpaneva a call, and the idea went into action. Of course, this required a dial producer, so Justin contacted Grimsmo Knives in Ontario, Canada, a maker of Dragonskin EDC knives. The company showed an interest and noted the similarities in watchmaking and knifemaking, such as using precision machinery to shape metal.

I did some research on Dragonskin, and there’s surprisingly little information on how the material is created. However, the consensus is that powdered steel and ball bearings are forged to create blanks. Information from Grimsmo on the process suggests that multiple rounds of experimentation occurred to achieve the right flatness and clear separation between the nodules and background. As far as coloration, the articles I read suggest that it results from a blueing process. The outcome is a material with a beautifully unique pattern among dial mediums.

The result

The Sarpaneva Dragonskin uses the K1 as its base, which is a 42mm by 46mm stainless steel watch. I assume it has the modified Chronode P1003 automatic movement inside with 60 hours of power reserve. It is water resistant to 100 meters, making this wild-looking watch suitable for everyday use.

Final thoughts

I applaud Justin’s idea because the result is a super cool watch. In fact, I think others would like the chance to own one. While Sarpaneva doesn’t list this watch on its website, contacting the brand and inquiring is worthwhile. We’re told that the price is roughly €21,000. That’s not inexpensive, but the fact that the watch was born out of enthusiasm and introduces a novel dial material makes it compelling. I can’t say that I always love custom-order watches, but the Sarpaneva Dragonskin is lovely. Well done!