SIHH 2017: Parmigiani Fleurier Ovale Tourbillon
Some shapes are fixed. The circle. The square. Then there is the oval, the outline of which changes to suit its purpose. In both modern architecture and that of the past, the oval is both strong and unusual, subtle yet assertive. In watchmaking, Parmigiani Fleurier is the master of mysteries, designing time-pieces with the power to seduce. Their construction is based on the simple geometry of creating tangents from two intersecting curves. The piece is perfectly harmonious, both in terms of its proportions and its gender balance, as the shape of the oval here moves away from the more feminine ellipse.
With a rose gold case in three sections and a stepped bezel, the Ovale Tourbillon boasts a truly dynamic design. Curved surfaces are broken up. Straight lines replace rounded ones. And beams of light bounce off the myriad angles this creates. The signature Parmigiani horns are no exception. A graduated chamfer tapers out towards the end, lending further tension. On this timepiece, the oval adopts a new stance, an overtly masculine one with a style of its own.
The dial takes this even further, combining the ever-classic “Côtes de Genève” design with Parmigiani Fleurier’s own Abyss Blue, a colour it keeps a closely-guarded secret. It is now standard practice for the Manufacture to offer a new model each year in this intense blue which gives the piece such unique appeal. Creating this vibrant colour is an adventure every single time. Obtained by galvanoplasty, the craftsman must know exactly when to remove the gold dial from the plating bath, as a second’s delay can turn it from blue to brown. When the exact hue is obtained, the colour must be made fast, using processes performed entirely by hand.
The Ovale Tourbillon is part of the Ovale Pantographe line, inspired by an antique piece. It bears its heritage well, displaying the same desire for complex yet refined watchmaking. It is driven by the PF500 movement designed by Michel Parmigiani. This 30-second tourbillon movement with power reserve indicator reflects the Manufacture’s watchmaking expertise and its demand for the highest quality finishes, as demonstrated by the “Côtes de Genève” design and hand-bevelled bridges.
With the rose gold of the case middle and Abyss Blue of the dial, the bold power reserve and the vivacity of the tourbillon, all emphasised by the shape of the timepiece, the Ovale Tourbillon is a piece with a striking personality.
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