By Angus Davies for Parmigiani Fleurier
SPACE AND TIME
It seems that space and time are two concepts which are inextricably linked. I have perused books in the past, trying to fathom this sphere of physics, but must confess to being bamboozled by the subject.
Numerous scientists stare upwards into space, trying to discover more about planets far away. There is a vastness to the scale of all they survey.
Journey times are expressed in light-years, a notion which seems alien to anyone who is embroiled in the daily commute to work, fearful of being a few minutes late.
Conversely, here on earth, space and time appear relatively small by comparison. Admiring the interior of the Parmigiani Fleurier Pershing Tourbillon, I find myself examining a relatively confined space, where time is measured in fractions of a second.
The open-worked watch invites eyes to explore its inner surfaces and discover its numerous characteristics.
I recently visited L’Atelier Parmigiani on London’s Mount Street and chose to venture into a world of haute horlogerie where esoteric timepieces reside within a luxurious environment.
A CANDID EXPRESSION OF TIME
No conventional dial adorns the Parmigiani Fleurier Pershing Tourbillon. This model is skeletonised and reveals its inner thoughts, employing candid expression. No element is deliberately hidden, for this watch has sincerity at its heart.
The movement, the PF511 Calibre, is the focal point for discerning eyes. It is hand-wound, ensuring no oscillating weight impairs the view of its fine creation. The open-worked mainplate and bridges feature hand-bevelled edges, with the interior angles revealing no indication of their difficult execution.
AN EXCEPTIONAL MOVEMENT
Two series-coupled barrels collaborate, providing an impressive power reserve of one week. This is particularly notable considering the presence of a tourbillon. The frugal power consumption stands testament to the low mass of the whirlwind, despite the numerous parts employed in its creation.
The PF511 Calibre consists of 237 components, all distilled to a pure and unblemished finish. The tourbillon bridges, one to the front and one to the rear, are the product of numerous hours of patient polishing.
Jewels ensnare admiring glances, resembling craters from afar, they provide reservoirs to hold lubricants. However, close examination revealed polished sinks that manifestly exhibit the craftsmanship practised by time-served hands.
White delta-shaped hands, a signature design of the maison, impart hours and minutes.
A grey inner flange is marked with even hours denoted with Arabic numerals and presented in a modern font. In between the hours, small circular, contrasting dots indicate minutes. Brevity in expression belies the painstaking execution of each detail.
A grey central seconds hand includes an oval shaped counterweight depicting the Parmigiani Fleurier logo.
Below noon, a power-reserve indicator resides. Its virtually transparent form, permits an unhindered view of the components within.
A NOTABLE CASE
A rare timepiece, one of only 30 to be made, deserves an equally rare metal for its construction. Palladium is a difficult material to manipulate and presents many challenges to the case maker. Fortunately, Parmigiani Fleurier is able to draw on the expertise of its sister company, Les Artisans Boîtiers based in La Chaux-de-Fonds.
The resultant appearance of the case, with its silvery-white hue, is magnificent. The satin finish gently engages with light, tempering the sun’s rays and providing contrast with the polished upper surfaces of the articulated lugs.
The bezel repeats the satin treatment and, again, utilises modern Arabic numerals. Located between 12 o’clock and 3 o’clock, a traditional decompression scale features.
The exhibition caseback provides a sublime view, allowing eyes, in some areas, to see straight through the watch.
A PRACTICAL PROPOSITION
Despite the lavish specification of this timepiece, it still remains incredibly wearable. The Pershing Tourbillon has a water resistance of 200 metres reaffirming its credentials for life on, or in, water. Moreover, despite its large 45mm case and height of 14.2mm, a pleasing fit is assured.
Despite man’s obsession with astronomy, perhaps, too much attention is accorded to huge spaces seemingly containing little.
By way of contrast, the small space within the case of the Parmigiani Fleurier Pershing Tourbillon contains so much. Each internal part resides in close proximity to its neighbour, never colliding like a wayward asteroid, but harmoniously fusing to impart time.
Whilst some discussions of the space-time continuum continue to baffle me, the elevated creation of the Parmigiani Fleurier Pershing Tourbillon is discernible to all who choose to explore its incredible form.
• Model: Parmigiani Fleurier Pershing Tourbillon 10 Palladium Silver
• Ref: PFH552-2510100-X01402
• Case: Palladium; diameter 45.00mm; height 14.20mm; water resistant to 20 bar (200 metres); sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
• Functions: Hours; minutes; central seconds; power-reserve indication; tourbillon.
• Movement: PF511, hand-wound movement; frequency 21,600 vph (3Hz), 30 jewels; power reserve 7 days; 237 parts
• Strap: Black rubber strap presented on folding buckle
• Limited Edition: 30 pieces