Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Quaestor Modele Unique

Angus Davies provides an in-depth review of the Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Quaestor Modele Unique. He recently had the opportunity to admire this very rare minute repeater at L’Atelier Parmigiani, located on London’s prestigious Mount Street.

This detailed review of the Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Quaestor Modele Unique includes live images and specification details.

Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Quaestor Modele Unique - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

I adore swimming in the sea. A warm aqueous blanket enveloping my body engenders a sense of wellbeing which I find most agreeable. Indeed, a highlight of any summer holiday is being immersed in a cosseting sea with my face bathed in bright sunshine and fish swimming beneath my feet.

However, arguably the most enjoyable experience is finding my substantial frame being lifted in a moment of weightlessness by a strong wave. There is a brief sense of euphoria as my body is carried on the crest of a wave. Whilst I am middle-aged, the fleeting episode elicits an innocent, childlike joy. Sadly, the ephemeral levity disappears and is soon rendered to memory.

I was reminded of this passing pleasure as I cradled the Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Quaestor Modele Unique in my hands. Sat in L’Atelier Parmigiani, located on London’s prestigious Mount Street, I was aware that this moment of horological tenure would sadly come to an end.

Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Quaestor Modele Unique - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

This particular Toric Quaestor is a minute repeater, a unique piece delivered in an 18-carat rose gold case. I knew that after the brief association with this no-compromise masterpiece, I would be unlikely to ever see its adorable face again. The time I shared with this comely haute horlogerie creation may have been short-lived but, similar to riding on the crest of a wave, it was pleasure I enjoyed and now wish to share with fellow admirers of fine watchmaking.

Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Quaestor Modele Unique - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

The dial

Adorning the surface of the silver-coloured gold dial is a guilloché motif resembling waves, an aspect that readily endeared me to the watch.

Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Quaestor Modele Unique - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

The hour and minute hands are blued, featuring luminescent fill. They represent a departure from the signature Delta shaped hands often found on Parmigiani Fleurier timepieces. They enunciate time with exquisite grace.

Applied rose gold hour markers, resembling elongated isosceles triangles, succinctly impart the hours with charming discourse.

Positioned between 2 o’clock and 3 o’clock is a power-reserve indicator. Adjacent the arcing scale, a letter “B”, indicates “bas” or low, denoting the mainspring is almost deplete of energy. Conversely, “H” means “haut” or high, indicating the watch is fully wound.

Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Quaestor Modele Unique - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

A small seconds display is positioned at 6 o’clock.

Proudly residing below noon, an oval shaped cartouche proclaims the name of the justly proud Manufacture.

The case

Measuring 46 mm in diameter with a case thickness of 13.2 mm, this watch is substantial in size. However, it adopts a comfortable repose on the wrist owing to its tapering lug design.

Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Quaestor Modele Unique - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

The bezel is stepped and features a delightful fluted motif, dancing in the light with seductive prowess. The case construction is complex with numerous angles and details, all necessitating much skill on the part of the case maker. Fortunately, Parmigiani Fleurier are able to draw on the expertise of its sister-company, Les Artisans Boîtiers, located in La Chaux-de-Fonds, to produce this exquisite 18-carat gold case.

Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Quaestor Modele Unique - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

Adorning the vertical flank of the winding crown is a blue cabochon, reaffirming a sense of luxury.

Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Quaestor Modele Unique - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

Adorning the left hand flank of the case is the minute repeater slide which moves effortlessly, releasing an enchanting virtuoso performance that evokes a dewy-eyed reaction even in the most hardened soul. The cathedral chimes, with two gongs, strike the hours, quarters and minutes with incredible clarity.

Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Quaestor Modele Unique - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

The dorsal view of this “Modele Unique” is stunning. It provides a laudable antithesis to the expedient mass production of perfunctory goods.

A notable indication of the complexity of the watch is that it features six special locking screws with unusual heads. These can only be removed with a suitable tool held at the brand’s Haute Horlogerie Department in Fleurier. Indeed, this watch necessitates the adroit skill of a time-served master watchmaker to carefully fulfil any future servicing or maintenance requirements. Moreover, this new watch is an example of post-dated history and should not be compromised by unskilled hands attempting to work on its perfect form.

Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Quaestor Modele Unique - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Quaestor Modele Unique - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

The movement

The Calibre PF357 is a hand-wound Manufacture movement. It has a frequency of 21,600 vph (3Hz), contains 38 jewels and consists of 392 components

Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Quaestor Modele Unique - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

A prodigious power reserve of 72 hours is remarkable bearing in mind the watch is equipped with only one barrel.

Whilst the above details are very impressive, it is the incredible craftsmanship which truly engages with my heart. Four bridges feature centre-stage. They are decorated with Côtes de Genève motif, distilled to a matchless standard. Light is reflected on the mirror-like bevels of the bridges, all drawn with expert hand. In particular, the internal angles are incredible with no interruption to their flowing forms.

Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Quaestor Modele Unique - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

Five gold chatons pay due reverence to watchmaking tradition.

The two gongs are clearly visible via the caseback and enthral admiring eyes with an aural and visual spectacle par excellence.

The screwed balance, circular grained gears and peerless perlage on the mainplate are further indications of the refined quality of this remarkable watch.

This is a movement for the connoisseur. Its creation is beyond reproach and few movements can surpass its beauty or virtue.

Closing remarks

Inevitably I had to say goodbye to the Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Quaestor Modele Unique and as I wandered past the famous Scott’s Restaurant on Mount Street, I reflected on the watch I had been fortunate enough to see.

Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Quaestor Modele Unique - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

It is the embodiment of everything I adore about haute horlogerie. The sound waves emanating from its beauteous form impart the same momentary joy I have occasionally experienced when riding the crest of a wave. However, for the fortunate individual with the six-figure budget necessary to acquire this incredible timepiece, enjoyment is readily provided. Indeed, it is conferred with each caress of the beautiful case, glance at the impeccable movement and chime of the minute repeater.

Technical Specification

  • Model: Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Quaestor Modele Unique
  • Ref: PFH439-1000100-HA1241
  • Case: 18-carat rose gold; diameter 46.00 mm; height 13.20 mm; sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; power-reserve indicator; minute repeater.
  • Movement: Calibre PF357, hand-wound movement; frequency 21,600 vph (3Hz); 38 jewels; power reserve 72 hours; 392 components.
  • Bracelet: Black Hermès strap presented on an 18-carat rose gold deployant

Acknowledgement

Images kindly provided by © Euan Davies 2014.

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