While some watchmakers have made playful attempts to temporarily stop or suspend time, the truth is that time flies, and there is nothing we can do about it. That is why the Manufacture Parmigiani Fleurier has opted to befriend it, to accompany or “tame” time by providing moments of pure distraction with a new unique table clock and automaton: the “Hippologia”.
This latest masterpiece from the Manufacture is a breathtaking work of art even when not in movement, with its oval-shaped 55 kg cabinet of mirrored glass with gold lustre by Lalique®, topped by an astoundingly delicate mare and foal in white gold.
Measuring 300 mm in height x 550 mm in width with a depth of 350 mm, the cabinet is satin-finished, sand-blasted and polished by hand to create a sand dune effect. A silver window with nickel-palladium finish, set with white and champagne diamonds, displays the hours and minutes, along with a scale to select the desired time for the activation of the automata. Two levers adorned with white mother-of-pearl cabochons surround the window: one is for setting the time and the other is to automatically trigger the automaton at a given time, once a day.
On top of the cabinet, the mare and foal are formed in beveled, hand-engraved, satin-finished plates that total one kilo of 18 carat rhodium-plated white gold, while their heads, tails and hooves are in rhodium-plated hand-polished silver. Their eyes are set with VVS1, 0.02 carat white diamonds.
The inside is just as fascinating. The clock comprises no fewer than 2,200 components, with, at its base, two mechanisms side by side, one connected to the time display, and the other to the automaton with a triggering system that is almost a third mechanism in itself and took one year to complete.
The single barrel clock mechanism runs at a frequency of 2.5 Hz, has an 8 days power reserve and features haute horlogerie finishings with Côtes de Genève decoration, while the automaton movement, also with a single barrel, features a power reserve of three x 40-second activations. Two apertures on the back allow for key rewinding.
Programmed in advance or manually triggered, a gong chimes before the automaton begins, and time is simply forgotten as we watch the mare canter gracefully around her outside oval track to protect her foal circling on a separate track within.
Back engraved with “Lalique/Pièce Unique/Parmigiani Fleurier”.
Priced at CHF2.4 million.