If the highlight of the year 2021 for Parmigiani Fleurier has been the introduction of its collection of luxury sports watches, the Tonda PF, there was actually something far more confidential but no less fascinating going on under the curtains. Indeed, this year marks both the 70th anniversary of Michel Parmigiani, Master watchmaker and founder of the brand and the 25th anniversary of the brand he created in 1996. And because of this, Parmigiani Fleurier’s newly appointed CEO Guido Terreni decided that this deserved a special undertaking, taking the shape of a truly special project… And the result is this signature timepiece, named La Rose Carrée, a pocket watch that combines both the past of Michel as one of the world’s most celebrated master restorers, and the brand’s expertise in métiers d’art.
The story of La Rose Carrée actually starts some decades ago, when in the late 1990s, Michel Parmigiani acquired a grande sonnerie and minute repeater movement, created around the end of the 19th century by famous grand complications watchmaker Louis-Elisée Piguet. For over 20 years, this calibre remained in a drawer, awaiting restoration, a new life and therefore, to be reborn. One has to remember that, before creating his eponymous brand, Michel Parmigiani was already acknowledged as one of the best restorers of antique and important timepieces in the world. With this project, Parmigiani Fleurier renews with this rich heritage, and creates an impressive, superbly executed one-off pocket watch to house this incredible movement, in the name of the Parmigiani Fleurier La Rose Carrée.
While recently appointed as CEO, Guido Terreni had the idea to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the manufacture and its founder’s 70th anniversary by releasing a highly special timepiece that embodies the entirety of Parmigiani Fleurier’s craft and expertise and Michel Parmigiani’s heritage. The Rose Carrée was born in less than 12 months, bringing back to former glory a historically important movement fully restored while preserving its authenticity. And because this superb engine would require a treasure box to be displayed, the manufacture crafted a newly designed case, which is coated in translucent grand feu enamel, creating complex shades of blue, adorned by a Rose Carrée or “squared rose” pattern engraving that spans the entirety of this legacy movement.
At the heart of the Parmigiani Fleurier La Rose Carrée is a movement made by Louis-Elisée Piguet, the calibre number 5802, made by the famed watchmaker around the end of the 19th century. “We were trusted with a movement that’s exceptional by its complications, by the number of components and by its quality,” says Francis Rossignol, who works with Michel Parmigiani at the restoration workshop. The movement is a typical hand-wound calibre of the late 19th century, which was already exceptional by its nature, its quality and mostly its set of complications – a grande sonnerie combined to a minute repeater.
This means that this calibre is able to chime the number of hours at the top of every hour. At every quarter, it chimes the number of quarters. And as a minute repeater, it chimes the number of hours, quarters, and minutes on demand. But as an old movement, it required to be rejuvenated, and coincidentally, it has been redecorated with a specific pattern on the bridges.
The second task was to create a home for this movement. A new case was created with a double-hunter profile, made in 18k white and measuring 64mm in diameter. Then, the two covers of the case have been engraved by the skilled hands of Eddy Jaquet with a motif called “Rose Carrée.” In typical PF style, the pattern follows the Golden Spiral, a mathematical derivative of the Golden Ratio, which is seen everywhere in nature from trees, plants, and seashells – and in many watches created by Michel. Once the engraving was obtained, three to four layers of blue grand feu enamel were meticulously applied by artistic enameller Vanessa Lecci. Both covers are symmetrical and contextually engraved.
Opening one side of the cover, one will discover a wide, uncluttered dial entirely made of black onyx. It reveals a pair of openworked, white gold hands crafted in a Delta shape, and a small seconds subdial outlined in white gold. Opening the second hunter cover reveals the movement whose surface has also been entirely engraved, with the mainplate and the bridges now displaying a Rose Carrée pattern. The crown, set with a blue sapphire, is sheltered by an engraved square bow with blue grand feu enamelling, attached to a unique square-link chain that has been designed according to the Rose Carrée motif.
The Parmigiani Fleurier La Rose Carrée is a superb project that is, as you can imagine, a unique piece with a price that will remain confidential. A perfect way to celebrate 25 years of high-end watchmaking at PF.
For more details, please visit parmigiani.com.