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Watches and Wonders
Purnell - Escape II Absolute Sapphire

Purnell Escape II Absolute Sapphire

More spectacular than ever, the world’s fastest triple-axis tourbillon vanishes into sapphire

While 2021 remains a special year in many ways, it also marks the 220th anniversary of the creation of the tourbillon and should therefore bring good luck to Purnell, whose slogan is “Only Tourbillon”. The Escape II collection is best-known for its ultra-creative and complex timepieces that come in strictly-limited series and unique pieces that are created around the brand’s double triple-axis tourbillon, the famous Spherion, that was unveiled in 2020. When haute horlogerie is fused with high speed (three cages turn on themselves in 8, 16, and 30 seconds), these sophisticated satellites increase the wow effect for the unconventional collector. This was definitely the case last year with Purnell’s tourbillon cages coated with luminescent material that created a truly hypnotic night show.

Escape II Absolute Sapphire

Escape II Absolute Sapphire © Purnell

Seductive Sapphire

Unveiled during Watches and Wonders 2021, the Escape II Absolute Sapphire does justice to its lineage. Not only is the dial made of sapphire but the bridges are too, along with the power reserve indicator at 9 o’clock, the hour wheel, and most importantly, the monobloc case and the domed sapphire crystal, showcasing a real technical feat. The 48mm case is water-resistant to a depth of 30 metres.

As with all the elements that make up a Purnell watch entirely made in Switzerland, the sapphire work is entrusted to a Swiss partner, Novo Cristal. Based in La Chaux-de-Fonds, the company designed all the sapphire elements and carried out the exceptional level of polishing, devoting three blocks of raw sapphire and over 150 hours of machining to each watch.

Maurizio Mazzocchi, CEO of Purnell, is proud to work solely with Swiss suppliers and believes that his brand is one of the very few to apply this principle to sapphire components as well. While the transparency of the Swiss Made watch is unmistakable, the appearance of Absolute Sapphire is tinged with a touch of blue. The indexes are crafted using baguette-cut blue sapphires (1.04 carats). This blue is also found on the hands that match the exact same shade thanks to a galvanization treatment. Continuing the blue theme, the tourbillon cases are made from blued titanium.

Escape II Absolute Sapphire

Escape II Absolute Sapphire © Purnell

Cages Set with Diamonds

Although the setting of the Spherion cages dates back to 2020, we never tire of the spectacle. What dexterity and precision to set each titanium tourbillon cage with 152 brilliant-cut diamonds! Four barrels are perfectly aligned, providing the necessary energy for the rotation of the triple-axis tourbillon cages that turn at an astonishing speed. The two cages turn in opposite directions thanks to the differential system. In total, the movement has 386 components and weighs a mere 15.7 grams (without the diamonds). Its sophistication is also reflected in the power reserve indicator mechanism that features a sensor on the main spring that is connected to a suspended mobile cone!

Purnell tourbillon buyers can play with a wide range of customization options. Maurizio Mazzochi also warns that “a collection of unique pieces with tinted sapphires in different colours will follow later in the year, such as pink, green, and blue. When asked about the positioning of the brand, whose average price is probably the highest on the market, he emphasizes the “watchmaking coolture”!

 

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Inspired by performance, precision and mechanical prowess, Purnell’s philosophy of bringing more future than past to watchmaking. Each timepiece distinguishes itself by having a tourbillon movement. Purnell takes this complication to a level of technical and aesthetic mastery that has never been seen before.

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