Given pride of place at the "Mechanical Wonders" exhibition in "A La Vieille Russie" this Autumn 2011 in New York, the collection of the Edouard and Maurice Sandoz Foundation is an exceptional revelation of the genius of the master watchmakers of yesteryear. Parmigiani, an Haute Horlogerie brand and official restorer of the Foundation's masterpieces, wanted to pay tribute to this unique collection of watchmaking objets d'art, by recreating some of these mechanical wonders in its own manufacture. The Parmigiani Toric Minute Repeater wristwatch with sector display is one of these unique timepieces.
Inspired by the Perrin Frères signed pocket watch (Neuchatel) dating from the early 19th Century, and now owned by the EMSF, the Toric reprises the special sector time display function, but in a movement made entirely by the Parmigiani manufacture. Initially restored by the Parmigiani restoration workshop, the pocket watch had already revealed quite a lot of secrets. In complete synergy, the Parmigiani restoration workshop and the department dedicated to the development of Haute Horlogerie models pooled their knowledge to develop the new movement. The Calibre PF 321 features a Minute Repeater with cathedral chimes, plus an additional module dedicated to the sector time display. The time is displayed in a half-moon aperture, comprising 60-minute indexes with each quarter-hour sector in 5-minute subdivisions. The hour (1 to 12) has an Arabic numeral display, whose progress can be tracked from the first to sixtieth minute, before the next hour appears. The module incorporates a rotary system comprising three planetary gears with four arms, each end of which bears a number. Directly meshed with the hour wheel, the set of discs is driven via a cam system, which brings up the next hour as soon as the previous one has run its course.
There are several aesthetic aspects of the Toric model to emphasise:
On the dial side, a large bezel surrounding the perimeter of the double-knurled case and the central part of the watch, acts as the main decoration. Made from white gold, and hand-engraved with geometric patterns, then covered with translucent enamel, it highlights the sector aperture, and therefore the hour and minute display. This portion of the dial, made from white mother-of-pearl, is applique indexed.
On the back of the calibre, the blued steel cathedral chimes come in the highly original form of a snake coiling round the movement, perfectly visible through the sapphire crystal case-back.
Made to mark the "Mechanical Wonders" exhibition, the Toric Minute Repeater model bears its individual number and the name of the exhibition engraved on the case-back, made from white gold.
One of the more recent success stories of the Swiss watchmaking industry, Parmigiani Fleurier emerged from the close relationship between watchmaker Michel Parmigiani and the Sandoz Family Foundation.Find out more >
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