Today we take a quick look on a really stunning timepiece from the independent watch brand Parmigiani Fleurier. The new Tecnica Ombre Blanche is not just beautiful at first glance, but it is beautiful from the inside aswell…
Why? The watch is one of the most complex timepieces in Haute Horlogerie, as it integrates three complications (or maybe two, it depends if you consider that a tourbillon is a complication) :a tourbillon, perpetual calendar and a minute repeater.
That’s probably why this timepiece is a limited edition of 5 pieces only and that the price is on request only.
The Tecnica Ombre Blanche shows impressive refinement and a discreet air of elegance. It is one of those timepieces whose value is self-evident; it doesn’t need to flaunt its worth with opulent décorations…
The first things that you’ll immediately see is the one-minute tourbillon positionned at 6 o’clock and the 3 counters of the perpetual calendar.
One at the 12 o’clock for the date, one at 3 o’clock for the days and one at 9 o’clock for the months. Now with a closer look at these three counters we can see that the the leap year is displayed by a window in the months counter, and the power-reserve indicator is at 12 in the date counter.
For the minute repeater mechanism, Parmigiani Fleurier has the sense of the detail because you will not see it directly as on other watches that have this striking complication with a slider on the case band to activate it.
The Tecnica Ombre Blanche is well studied and characterised by the quest for refinement. This is why the minute repeater is activated by pivoting a knurled bezel which is integrated into the profile of the case. It’s wound elegantly by rotating the knurled ring under the bezel a quarter turn clockwise. This is the way the team at Parmigiani Fleurier choose to keep the line of the watch. That’s really smart because you don’t have a slide band or something that can disrupted the harmony of the timepiece.
This interesting activation mechanism represents a real challenge in terms of water resistance, because there is a much larger surface that has to be protected from water compared to a traditional side bolt, that gives much more value to the 10m of water resistance.
A watch that is pushed into high watchmaking thanks to the factof the minute repeater, which chimes the hours, quarter hours and minutes, is achieved with “cathedral” chimes which form two sets of gongs around the case. That gives a better acoustic quality when compared to a single set because you have two very distinctive tones and louder sound. Of course, that also means that the work of the watchmaker to adjust the gongs to the desired tone is more difficult.
The elegance of the timepiece is directly put in advance by a 45mm and 13mm height polished 18k rose gold case. And as if it’s not enough, the Tecnica Ombre Blanche also features a precious Grand Feu Enamel dial, created using the champlevé technique.
The process in this case consists of engraving a gold base by creating a hollow which corresponds to the dial area. The enamel is then applied to this bas-relief with a paintbrush and the whole piece is exposed to very high temperatures so that the vitreous enamel melts and fuses. Several layers of enamel are successively applied, then fired, until the hollow is filled. Thanks to this technique the white dial gives subtle nuances and an impressive depth effects. Moreover, the beautiful satin-finished dial comprises 18-karat rose gold appliques and delta-shaped hands with luminescent coating.
Finally, the hand wound Calibre PF351 who beats at 21,600 vibrations per hour and offers a power reserve of 42 hours, is meticulously finished. The bridges of the movement are decorated using a special guilloché technique, formed of thousands of ribbed lines which are parallel, but without creating a rigid geometric pattern. This decorative work is significantly more complex than a classic « Côte de Genève »; it generates a wave effect which animates the bridges and brings the fresco to life, reflecting light in all directions.
Minute repeater, tourbillon, perpetual calendar, & power reserve movement. Sounds the hours, quarter-hours and minutes on 2 cathedral gongs.
Calibre : PF351
Winding : Manual
Power reserve : 42 hours
Dimensions : 13 »’ – Ø 29.90 mm
Thickness : 7.7 mm
Frequency : 3 Hz – 21.600 A/h
Jewels : 39
Barrel(s) : 1
Components : 504
Decoration : Hand-bevelled main plate and bridges FUNCTIONS
Minute repeater wound by the bezel
Power reserve indication
Shape : 3-part round case
Dimensions : Ø 45.00 mm
Thickness : 13 mm
Material : 18 ct rose gold
Finishing : Polished
Water resistance : 10 m
Glass : Anti-reflective sapphire
Crown : Ø 7 mm
Back : Sapphire
Back engraving : Individual number DIAL
Finishing : « Grand feu » enamel exterior, hand-engraved centre
Colour : White
Index : 18-ct rose gold appliques
Hands : Delta-shaped with luminescent coating BRACELET
Material : Alligator
Colour : Havana
Brand : Hermès BUCKLE
Type : Ardillon
Jonathan Kopp – Contributing Writer
Jonathan Kopp has an avid enthusiasm for timepieces of all genre, from vintage timepieces to modern Luxury Haute Horology. His preference goes to small and independent high-end watchmakers. He loves the difference rather than classicism, although if he admits to being in love with several ultra-classics pieces. Jonathan was caught by the passion for watchmaking there are almost 6 years. For about 5 years, he wanders in this industry and was Communication-Marketing-PR Consultant for several brands. He has worked for over 2 years as a freelance for the development of the Swiss brand Arthur Oskar Stampfli (AOSWatches). Read his articles here.