Parmigiani Fleurier’s La Rose Carrée Pocket Watch Is A Lesson In Restoration Done Right
More than a unique piece, Michel Parmigiani’s latest masterpiece is a timepiece of distinction and tradition, and it’s just short of priceless.
Parmigiani Fleurier CEO Guido Terreni is on a roll as of late. From successful launches like the Tonda PF to re-establishing the brand’s diverse retail network, the former Head of Watches at Bulgari has found solid footing at the established maison. And today’s topic is just one more example of the type of forward, yet unique, thinking for which the Italian executive has become known.
A Special Anniversary
This year marks the 25th anniversary of Parmigiani Fleurier, which was founded in 1996 by the master watchmaker and restorer Michel Parmigiani. The brand’s launch date, December 7th, was also Michel Parmigiani’s birthday. Parmigiani’s vision for the brand was simple and can be summarized by the following philosophy: “Parmigiani Fleurier conveys understated elegance and discrete luxury while catering to watch purists seeking mastery in craft, true refinement and rarity.”
Indeed, every Parmigiani Fleurier timepiece produced in the two and a half decades since the brand’s founding is not only restorable for generations to come but, thanks to their design, is timeless no matter the fashion trends of the moment. And with bold, modern collections like the Tonda PF, it’s only fitting that Parmigiani and Terreni opted to take a page out of a restorer’s playbook for the brand’s 25th anniversary.
A Fitting Tribute
Debuting last week, Parmigiani Fleurier La Rose Carrée is a one-off pocket watch powered by a remastered Louis-Elisée Piguet movement. That may be a bit difficult to wrap your head around, so let’s break it down.
The 2021 La Rose Carrée pocket watch is built around a movement acquired by Michel Parmigiani in the 1990s – a movement made by Louis-Elisée Piguet sometime between 1898 and 1904.
When CEO Terreni was appointed to his charge, one of the first initiatives he oversaw was celebrating the brand’s 25th anniversary. Together with Michel Parmigiani, the two dreamt up the concept for La Rose Carrée. After all, what would be a better way to showcase the maison’s craftsmanship while honoring the brand’s founder and his love of restoration?
The term “pièce unique” is bandied about in today’s watch industry about as much as a balance wheel turns. And lately, the trend has been to produce a pièce unique for a good cause or top collector, and then, once the dust settles, release a mainstream production model of the watch.
But what is truly unique about the La Rose Carrée Pocket Watch is that it’s being produced as a one-off piece, not a pièce unique.
Meaning this watch will never be made again, period.
Introducing The La Rose Carrée Pocket Watch
The Parmigiani Fleurier La Rose Carrée is a 64mm white gold double-hunter pocket watch with an exceptional movement. As we mentioned previously, the Louis-Elisée Piguet Calibre 5802 is extraordinary in any circumstance. Still, the lengths to which the brand’s craftspeople and restorers have gone to refinish and reimagine the movement are incredible.
Across all of the movement’s bridges, its original Geneva striping has been replaced with hand engraving. Restorer Francis Rossignol said in a press release, “We were trusted with a movement that’s exceptional by its complications, by the number of components and by its quality. [We aim] to embellish it, to enhance its aspects, but our job is to always remain in the background.”
The newly rejuvenated movement that powers the La Rose Carrée retains its original complications, including a grande sonnerie and minute repeater. The highly complicated movement keeps its original form, but the brand has brought it into the 21st century with exemplary hand-finishing and modern acoustics.
In a world dominated by hype and hysteria around modern timepieces, few pay attention to a watch’s case like Parmigiani Fleurier. The La Rose Carrée is no exception, and its 18K white gold case is hand engraved by the masterful Eddy Jaquet using a technique and motif called “Rose Carrée.” The result is positively stunning.
At first glance, it looks like the case is adorned with jewels, but upon closer inspection, you’ll find a series of repeated microscopically detailed square roses. And inspired by rose petals that have begun to wither, the Rose Carrée pattern on the case follows the Golden Spiral, a derivative of the Golden Ratio.
Of course, not content to merely embellish the case with these engravings, the brand has gone a step further with the front and rear covers of the pocket watch. On top of the more significant hand-enameled Rose Carrée patterns, artistic enameller Vanessa Lecci has applied three and four layers of blue grand feu enamel. The enamel adds a depth and richness which seems to fall into eternity. It is a transfixing effect and reminiscent of an M. C. Escher painting.
Finally, the watch is completed with a dial made from a solid piece of black onyx. The rich mirror-like dial is inlaid with indices made from white gold and hands crafted of white gold. Indeed no detail has been left untouched.
The watch is finished off with a white gold grown inset with a blue sapphire. The La Rose Carrée comes attached to a square-link chain in a, you guessed it, Rose Carrée motif. The chain is hand-made by the last traditional chain maker in Switzerland, Laurent Jolliet.
Pricing of the La Rose Carrée pocket watch is unlisted, and while the piece is available for purchase, CEO Terreni stopped short of saying that it was already spoken for.