When it comes to models such as the rare Ovale XL Tourbillon, Parmigiani doesn’t really need to focus on limited editions. Rather, this individually serialized watch simply gets dial and material updates from time to time as the Parmigiani Fleurier Ovale XL Tourbillon family releases ever-changing models. This particular reference PFH750-1000600-HA3141 adds a new style of dial and was released by Parmigiani Fleurier in 2017.
While the design of a watch such as the Ovale XL Tourbillon isn’t for everyone, it bears hallmarks of quality and finishing that anyone who enjoys finely-made timepieces can appreciate. At this level Parmigiani offers the full gamut of hand-finishing and construction that makes very exclusive high-end Swiss timepieces as desirable as they are. From the hand-finished case to the hand-decorated movement, this type of perfection is what you want to look for in a mechanical timepiece such as this – and it will only cost you about $200,000.
All images by David Bredan
From a technical standpoint, the in-house made Parmigiani caliber PF501 manually-wound movement has one rather uncommon feature; and that is a tourbillon that spins every 30 seconds. Parmigiani calls this an “exclusive 30-second tourbillon,” though I’m not sure (aside from the movement itself) where the total exclusion of other watches with 30 second tourbillons comes from.
What the few other 30 second tourbillon watches out there (perhaps outside from an even rarer DeBethune 30 second tourbillon timepiece model) don’t likely have is a relatively stable power reserve that lasts an entire week. Two barrels offer seven full days of power reserve in the manually-wound movement. Complications include the time with central seconds hand, power reserve indicator gauge, and of course, the open tourbillon. The PF501 movement is comprised of 237 parts and operates at a frequency of 3Hz.
Brand identification, as I refer to it here, is the notion which you can recognize the company that made a product by simply viewing the shape or design of that product. Many watchmakers either explicitly or implicitly ask themselves whether or not they’re able to recognize their own products when viewing them on someone’s wrist from across the room. If the answer is “yes,” then a new has achieved a high degree of brand identification, even if the solution is no, then often times manufacturers are abandoned with goods that do not have “brand” appeal. Though this is really a bigger topic for another conversation.With the distinctive appearance of most Parmigiani timepieces, I asked myself how much the 2017 Parmigiani Toric Chronometre looks like a Parmgiani of now. The situation does, for certain, though it wants a close review to identify. That having been said, that the legibility is very good.
Viewing the movement through the caseback window is indeed a pleasure. Parmigiani does not disappoint in terms of the aesthetic quality and attractiveness of its decoration and finishing of movement parts. From the Côtes de Genève stripes to the beveled edges, surface treatments on all the metals are gorgeous in a timepiece such as this. Having said that, at this price point there is a very healthy assortment of other watches out there that boast more complicated movements, many of which have exotic systems or materials. The PF501 is extremely conservative in what it offers – intended for people seeking a very traditional mechanical timepiece experience.
What isn’t totally traditional is the Ovale XL case, which aBlogtoWatch has reviewed in its various Parmigiani forms here. I personally love this case because of its effective combination of elegant looks, flattering visuals on the wrist, and distinctiveness from many other watch case styles out there. What’s better is how comfortable the Ovale feels, and how it looks familiar yet not like other things out there. Patek Philippe for many years tried to assert the value of a case similar to this in the Ellipse. Though, Parmigiani is the one that made this elliptical circle shape a good choice for modern men’s watches.
This new for 2017 Parmigiani Ovale XL Tourbillon introduces a “blue abyss” colored dial that has a blue color applied over a metal base which is decorated with vertical Côtes de Genève-style stripes. You don’t see these on dials all the time, but they aren’t as rare as they used to be anymore. The hour markers are applied 18k rose gold, to match the case material and color.
Compare the pictured Ovale XL Tourbillon with the Côtes de Genève dial to this other Parmigiani Ovale XL Tourbillon from 2014. You can see how Parmigiani likes to play around with a lot of dial styles. The former version had a semi-skeletonized dial, slightly different hour markers, and a different power reserve indicator. The upside of that earlier model is being able to see more of the hand-decorated movement through the dial, but I like the increased sense of symmetry on this reference PFH750-1000600-HA3141 version.
The Ovale XL case is another upside to the watch (as I mentioned above). No, the case design isn’t for all wrists, but then again… it sure isn’t meant to be. Dimensions are 37.6mm wide by 44.8mm tall and 12.2mm thick. It wears a bit larger than it sounds, given the wide lugs, and in 18k rose gold it looks absolutely lovely. I want to use the word “elegance” again to describe my opinion of how it looks. To me this means that it has the graceful curves of an organic form, while also being aesthetically pleasing to the eye with a cohesive form. It’s basically a dress watch that gets extra attention because it is different, but in no way misplaced or of questionable taste. The fact that it has a fancy tourbillon is the expensive icing on the cake.
As far as I can consider, Parmigiani knows the Ovale XL case is special, and doesn’t use it for anything under $50,000 USD. That’s a shame because I’d love for there to be a steel or titanium model with a simple automatic movement (still in the tonneau-shape) that is priced considerably less. It would serve as a slightly more avant-garde counterpart to the Parmigiani Tonda 1950. Perhaps Parmigiani will entertain this request in the future.
Like most Parmigiani watches, the Ovale XL Tourbillon comes fitted with an Hermès strap, this time in indigo blue alligator. I find the relative width of the strap (thanks to the wide lugs) to be a flattering look, and it also helps enhance the formal, yet masculine stance of the timepiece’s overall form. The case also happens to be water-resistant to 30m.
A 30 second tourbillon will spin faster (clearly) than a 60 second tourbillon, and thus its real purpose is to offer an enhanced sense of visual animation on the dial. A graceful rose gold line frames the open tourbillon window and bridge – being a detail I very much enjoy. It’s little details such as this which make Parmigiani timepieces appeal to the type of person ready to spend $200,000 on a luxury watch. Is it the blingiest or trendiest luxury watch out there? No, and again, it isn’t trying to be. Price for the Parmigiani Ovale XL Tourbillon reference PFH750-1000600-HA3141 watch is $195,000 USD. parmigiani.com