Parmigiani Fleurier Ovale Tourbillon 10
During a recent visit to London, I accepted an invitation to “get up close and personal” with a white gold Parmigiani Fleurier Ovale Tourbillon 10. Opportunities like this do not come along every day.
This detailed review of the Parmigiani Fleurier Ovale Tourbillon 10 includes live images and specification details.
An oval shaped face is regarded as the ultimate expression of beauty. It therefore seems befitting that the haute horlogerie brand, Parmigiani Fleurier, have captured this naturally alluring form and applied it to a new range of models, the Ovale. The pinnable of the new line of models is the Ovale Tourbillon.
During a recent visit to London, I accepted an invitation to “get up close and personal” with a white gold Ovale Tourbillon. Opportunities like this do not come along every day. These elevated examples of horological excellence, by their very nature, are in limited supply. Indeed, only 30 examples will be created and the winsome watch located at L’Atelier Parmigiani, Mount Street is number seven.
Parmigiani Fleurier offer the Ovale Tourbillon in two variants, 18-carat rose gold and my preferred model, 18-carat white gold. This version immediately appealed to me with its Côtes de Genève motif presented as a backdrop to the functions depicted. I always enjoy seeing the motif granted to bridges on a movement, but in featuring the brushed lines centre stage it provides an attractive reminder of the adroit craftsmanship practised by the brand.
Delta shaped hands, a feature on several Parmigiani Fleurier models, convey hours and minutes. They are filled with luminous material, enhancing legibility in poor light conditions.
The tourbillon resides above 6 o’clock and close examination of the tourbillon bridge reveals a matchless example of patient endeavour. The skilled polishing of the bridge takes a timed-served artisan numerous hours to achieve. This particular tourbillon is unusual in that it rotates every 30 seconds, instead of the more usual 60 seconds. The increased rate of rotation is said to enhance the accuracy of the watch.
A power reserve indicator is located beneath noon and is presented in a crescent shaped form. The timepiece has a power reserve of 168 hours which is remarkable considering the presence of the tourbillon complication.
Adjacent 10 o’clock is an open-worked area, presented via a figure of eight aperture. It reveals some of the gear train with comely circular grained wheels partially disclosed, reaffirming the intrinsic craftsmanship.
A central seconds hand, lithe in form, with a crescent shaped counterweight, completes the ensemble of functions presented.
Whilst oval shapes are sometimes perceived as feminine in character, the Ovale Tourbillon appeared masculine as it adorned my wrist. This is no accident. Michel Parmigiani and his colleagues manipulated proportions, avoiding an effiminate elliptical form, by stretching the oval shape diagonally to create straighter sides.
Speaking to a member of the company’s staff, based in Fleurier, she explained, “Our designers have worked on alternating curves and straight lines through systematic beveling of every surface so as to create a very sharp edged look. This is what makes the piece “masculine” despite its curves”.
The profile of the articulated lugs which interface with the caseband, add to the manly persona of the timepiece. They are a key design element found on other models within the Parmigiani Fleurier collection. However, in this instance, when the watch is viewed from the front, the straight lines of the lugs, in contrast with the oval shaped caseband, appear to elongate the appearance of the watch, once more imparting a muscular character.
A further reason for the masculine persona, is the scale of the timepiece. The watch measures 45.00 mm x 37.60 mm and has a height of 12.20 mm. Whilst wearing the watch, I found it eminently comfortable courtesy of the lugs guiding the strap around the wrist in nuzzling union.
The caseback features a rectangular shaped sapphire crystal. It allows the fortuitous wearer to admire the no-compromise creation of the movement within.
The PF 501 calibre is a manually wound movement, made at Vaucher Manufacture, Fleurier, a sister company of Parmigiani Fleurier and a member of Les Manufactures Horlogères de la Fondation (MHF).
It is the epitome of craftsmanship. The bridges are hand bevelled. The aforementioned tourbillon bridge shares an equally attractive appearance when viewed via the caseback. The jewel sinks are polished. There is no evidence of expedience when admiring this movement, all aspects are the result of painstaking refinement.
The power reserve of 168 hours is very impressive, partly owing to the use of two series-coupled barrels. I would suspect that the mass of the tourbillon itself is incredibly low thus mitigating power consumption, however, without the data from manufacturer, this is merely conjecture.
The Parmigiani Fleurier Ovale Tourbillon 10, as you may well expect, commands an eye-watering asking price which sadly renders it beyond my financial grasp and probably that of the many readers. However, horological excellence of this magnitude seldom comes cheap.
Some may question the relevance of watches which command six-figure prices. But, I would counter that it is by creating timepieces of this calibre, that skills are preserved and the know-how trickles down to more accessibly priced models.
- Model: Parmigiani Fleurier Ovale Tourbillon 10
- Case: 18-carat white gold; dimensions 45.00 mm x 37.60 mm; height 12.20 mm; water resistant to 3 bar (30 metres); sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
- Functions: Hours; minutes; central seconds; power-reserve indicator; tourbillon.
- Movement: PF501, hand-wound movement; frequency 21,600 vph (3Hz); 28 jewels; power reserve 168 hours; 237 parts
- Strap: Black Hermès hand-stitched alligator leather strap presented on a white gold pin buckle.
- Limited Edition: 30 pieces
Images kindly provided by © Euan Davies 2013