Parmigiani Fleurier celebrates its 20th anniversary this year with a commemorative split second chronograph, news of a concept movement, and a masterpiece table clock and automaton.
Founded in 1996 by the genial Michel Parmigiani with backing from the still owning Sandoz Foundation, the manufacture that launched its first wristwatch in 1999 has created such landmarks as the Bugatti watch in 2004 with the first movement designed like a car engine, the Hegirian Calendar table clock in 2011 that relayed the complexity of the lunar cycles of the Muslim calendar, and in 2015 the Tonda 1950 Tourbillon Galaxy that is still the world’s thinnest automatic flying tourbillon.
The Tonda saga continues with this year’s Tonda Chronor Anniversaire, the brand’s first integrated chronograph that includes a chronograph, split second function and large date, all on the same hand-bevelled main plate. With 2 column wheels – one for the chronograph and one for the split seconds, a vertical clutch, and a power reserve of 65 hours, the manually-wound movement PF361, made in gold, chamfered and decorated with Côtes de Genève and Michel Parmigiani’s signature on the barrel is the only split-second chronograph movement with a frequency of 5 Hz. Housed in a 3 part 42.10mm x 14.6mm round case with sapphire back engraved with “Edition Limitée 1996- 2016” and numbered, both the rose and white gold versions have a grand feu enamel dial. Limited edition of 25 pieces each, priced at CHF135,000.
The manufacture has also released news of the Senfine (“eternally” in Esperanto) concept movement that promises to extend power reserve into months without increasing the number of barrels, using the principle of a permanent contact escapement wheel (the grasshopper escapement). The new regulator made entirely in silicon – a monolithic oscillator, gathers the functions of the balance wheel, the spiral and the anchor. The first prototype presented in 2014 brought the power reserve from 8 to 45 days. Now in its second stage of development, with current research on the effects of temperature variations, the brand is working towards COSC certification requirements in 2016, with probable presentation in 2018.
Our third highlight is the Hippologia table clock — a masterpiece made of a 55 kg superbly finished block of Lalique® crystal with an 18 ct white gold mare and foal totaling 1 kilo of gold that gracefully run around 2 separate tracks on the top surface of the clock, programmed ahead of time or manually triggered. A gong chimes before the automaton begins, and the 8 days power reserve enables 3 x 40 seconds activations. The time is read on the side of the crystal block that houses the clock and automaton movement. Priced at CHF2.4 million.