Powered By A Late 1800s Movement, Parmigiani's Unique Pocket Watch Is A First

Powered By A Late 1800s Movement, Parmigiani's Unique Pocket Watch Is A First
Courtesy of Parmigiani

To create the new watch, some of Switzerland's most talented artisans came together.

In celebration of its 25th anniversary, Parmigiani has created a truly unique pocket watch showcasing its craftsmanship and the restoration expertise of its founder Michel Parmigiani.

As a watchmaker before founding his namesake brand, Parmigiani is known for reviving some of watchmaking's most significant historical pieces, for the Sandoz Foundation and for museums. 

Moreover, an embargo timed to Parmigiani's exact birthday on December 2, 1950 in Couvet, Switzerland coincides with the release, which coincides with his 71st birthday. He is a Sagittarius by astrology, a sign associated with independence, fairness, honesty and intellect. In his time, he was one of the most renowned watchmakers and restorers of independent living watches.

Courtesy of Parmigiani

Piguet, who is believed to have designed the first perpetual calendar module for a pocket watch, made the raw caliber number 5802 between 1898 and 1903. Parmigiani purchased the movement from an antique shop in the 1990s. Having recognized and appreciated Piguet's work, Parmigiani bought it. It has since been Parmigiani's possession.

A 64 mm 18-karat white-gold case was newly set in Parmigiani's movement after it was uncased and fitted with a black onyx dial on the interior, along with an engraving of the movement on the opposite side. Its case covers have been hand engraved with three to four layers of blue grand feu enamel. The two hammers have been meticulously restored.

Parmigiani enlisted the help of no fewer than 10 top Swiss craftsmen to create the final piece.

As Terreni explained, he saw the final results of Vanessa Lecci's work first, about 30 minutes before Michel Parmigiani arrived to inspect the craftsmanship on the grand feu covers. 

Terreni noted that working with grand feu enamel is notoriously difficult, so it was particularly challenging for her to get everything right in one shot and then duplicate it on the other side.

Courtesy of Parmigiani

Working not only on the case, but also on the décor of the movement was a monumental challenge for the engraver, Eddy Jacquet. One mistake and the piece was ruined.

Just before Jacquet left for vacation, the designs were first tested on trial pieces, and the movement was completed in July. In Terreni's opinion, it took three times as long to finish the covers as he had expected. In order for Parmigiani's pocket watch to be ready in time for his birthday in September, it was no easy task.

Courtesy of Parmigiani

Hand-engraved square roses with a Golden Ratio pattern are a perfect example of his expertise. The Golden Ratio, a mathematical formula found everywhere in nature, is a derivative of the Golden Spiral. To evoke the ripple effect of water, the geometrically shaped flowers follow a spiral pattern. A clean onyx dial on the interior contrasts with the engraving on Lecci's dramatic blue grand feu, which has only hour and minute hands, subtle index markers, and a sub-seconds dial at 6 o'clock. On the opposite side, the exceptional movement is clearly visible. 

As a result of careful consideration of every detail, even the interiors of the case covers were mirrored in order to provide another look at the movement and dial. In an unconventional but striking presentation, Laurent Joilliet's chain mimics the squares of the roses, said to be Switzerland's last traditional chain maker.

This watch will make a great addition to any collection for those in the know, who appreciate the exceptional watchmaker. As you can imagine, with such a high level of craftsmanship on a unique piece with historical provenance, it will be reserved for an individual with deep pockets, of course.

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