To mark its 25th anniversary, Parmigiani Fleurier has thrown the requisite victory parade by releasing a stellar collection to anchor its future: the urbane and contemporary Tonda PF collection bristles with technical interest, not least a two-hander wound by micro-rotor, and a COSC-certified chronograph with integrated column wheel movement running at 5hz. In terms of aesthetics, “brilliant” and “architectural” come to mind, especially in the fine detailing of the Split Seconds Chronograph of the collection.
Novelties aside, Parmigiani Fleurier has reserved something aged for the closing act of its celebrations: La Rose Carrée, a one-off pocket watch in a white gold double hunter case, featuring an original grande sonnerie and minute repeater movement made between 1898 and 1904 by watchmaker Louis-Elisée Piguet. One of the foremost watchmakers of his time, Piguet is credited with creating the first perpetual calendar module, and “Le Merveilleuse” supercomplication with 22 functions.
La Rose Carrée means “squared rose” and this motif is engraved throughout the watch. On the newly designed case, the squared rose motifs are arrayed in a swirl of the Golden Ratio within the inky depths of the grand feu enamel in translucent blue.
La Rose Carrée began life as a grande sonnerie and minute repeater movement that Michel Parmigiani acquired in the late 1990s, then left in a drawer for 20 years. A grande sonnerie chimes the hours and the number of quarters; a minute repeater chimes the number of hours, quarters, and minutes on demand – how such an all-singing, all-dancing movement could be left in a drawer for so long is anyone’s guess; but considering its technical content and rarity, we wager it was just waiting for its special moment under the sun.
Zip forward to 2021, and Parmigiani Fleurier’s newly appointed CEO Guido Terreni decided it would be a great idea to make something of this movement – bearing the number 5802 and a very rare specimen of its style by a famed watchmaker – for the company’s upcoming 25th anniversary. Not only would it be a statement of the company’s watchmaking prowess, it was also a fitting reminder of company founder Michel Parmigiani’s watchmaking roots as master restorer.
The movement was completely restored, thoroughly engraved, then given a new white gold double hunter case. The square roses hand-engraved on the case actually follow the pattern of the Golden Spiral, a mathematical derivative of the Golden Ratio. Three to four layers of blue grand feu enamel are then applied by hand. Opening the first case reveals the dial of solid black onyx, with time indicated by open-worked, white gold Delta-shaped hands, and small seconds outlined in white gold. Opening the second cover reveals the restored movement, featuring mainplate and bridges engraved in the Rose Carrée pattern.
The crown is set with a blue sapphire, more blue grand feu enamelling embellishes the engraved square bow and the unique chain, designed according to the Rose Carrée motif, is entirely hand-crafted by Switzerland’s last traditional chain maker, Laurent Jolliet.
It is not unusual for a watchmaking company to release new collections to mark an anniversary, partnership or some company milestone. But to actually create something new around something old from the past – is a rather unique way to honour the achievements of yesteryear’s greats upon whose shoulders we stand. And Parmigiani Fleurier has more reason and more legitimacy, dare we say it, to undertake this, as Michel Parmigiani is a timepiece restorer of renown. Yet La Rose Carrée is not Parmigiani’s personal project. As much as a strong new collection is a statement of a company’s capabilities, this restoration project demonstrates the breadth of expertise that Parmigiani Fleurier is able to call upon, from the vision to conceive such a project, to the varied artisan skills required to bring it to fruition, in under 12 months. Heartfelt congratulations are in order.
Movement: Manual wind PF992, 2.6 Hz, power reserve of 32 hours,
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, grande sonnerie, minute repeater
Case: 64mm white gold, 20mm thickness, double hunter pocket watch, grand feu blue enamel case covers
Chain: Handcrafted, white gold