Swiss watchmaker Parmigiani Fleurier has introduced a new collection of oval watches. Among them, a very interesting model which uses telescopic hands in blued titanium that retract or extend based on the time. A bit like the passing of time: sometimes short, sometimes long.
Inspiration came, as is often the case, from a pocket watch. The Oval Pantograph is not an original creation but a reinterpretation of an exceptional watch with telescopic pointers made in 1800 by two Englishmen Verdon and Stedman. In 1997 the pocket watch came into Parmigiani’s restoration workshops and they were able to analyze it in detail. Parmigiani Fleurier then appropriated the aesthetics of the original piece and created a modern version.
Parmigiani Fleurier Ovale Pantograph – Dial
The magic of the Oval Pantograph lies in its two telescopic hands which follow the contours of the case, extending and shortening depending on its ellipse, approaching closer to the hour markers so as to enhance the reading of the time. The watch is called “pantograph” because it embodies the principle of the instrument which it takes its name, ie multiplication of a given length by a factor to achieve a scale larger or smaller.
More specifically, movement of the center cam determines a length, which is then replicated a number of times in the hand assembly. This trajectory and elongation have been carefully studied so the ellipse described by the hands is smooth and accurate through computer simulation. Despite expectations, the main challenge of this unusual watch was not the complication in itself, but rather lay in the cutting and especially the assembly of the telescopic hands.
After considering several different techniques, Parmigiani Fleurier watchmakers opted for a technology to cut the segments that make up for the titanium hands using the latest generation of laser cutting with water and nitrogen, and guaranteeing accuracy to within microns. It took a year of tests conducted at the Polytechnic School of Lausanne to achieve the desired fineness.
There is a very delicate balance that the watchmakers needed to find at each intersection of the structure to ensure proper functioning of the whole. The hands have been painstakingly riveted together by hand.
The extensive use of blue for the hands is full of history in watchmaking ,the ones on this watch are blued titanium a difficult shade to obtain requiring them to be heated to a temperature of 550 degrees.The indexes and numbers are blued steel resulting from PVD.
Parmigiani Fleurier Ovale Pantograph – Case
A big challenge for Parmigiani was to make a masculine shape for the case despite being oval and avoiding feminine qualities . After choosing the oval they decided to turn away from a pure ellipse and to “force” the oval on the diagonal to give it a more masculine dimension. Michel Parmigiani and his team did significant research in order to achieve the most success in terms of harmonious proportions of the oval shape and ergonomics. We thus find here the same logic that guided the aesthetics around the Bugatti Super Sport, essentially a round watch too, to which straight lines were added.
Parmigiani Fleurier Ovale Pantograph – Movement
At the heart of the Oval pantograph we find the oldest movement manufactured by Parmigiani Fleurier created for the Hebdomadaire line, the caliber PF110, with the added pantograph module becomes known as PF111, a manual movement with a power reserve of 8 days.
The movement has been nicely had finished with all bridges featuring hand polishing and beveling.
Parmigiani Fleurier Ovale Pantograph – Conclusion
It is never easy to start a new collection of watches and even less so when it comes to a model of oval shape. Yet, undoubtedly Parmigiani Fleurier has succeeded with the arrival of a new line that is both contemporary and classic with a fascinating visual spectacle created by the telescopic hand arrangement.
The Parmigiani Ovale Pantograph comes in a rose gold or white gold case however it keeps the same gorgeous dial with barley grain pattern giving relief to the dial.
More resources about the Parmigiani Fleurier Ovale Pantograph available on Monochrome.