At SIHH 2017, Parmigiani Fleurier released two beautiful new limited-edition versions of one of my favorite watches from the brand, the Ovale Pantographe. It is largely the Parmigiani Ovale Pantographe we are familiar with, but with some newly added exclusivity for those people who wanted a good reason to spend about 60% more on the watch. To see what is new, you must literally look beyond the surface, as these versions look strikingly similar to previous limited-edition Parmigiani Ovale Pantographe watches from 2013.
What is similar to those models is the “Guilloche” Barley Grain Dials with applied, versus printed, hour numerals. Although the 2013 limited editions had the hands and hour markers in blue, these 2017 Parmigiani Ovale Pantographe limited-edition models have the hands and applied hour markers in chic black. “Guilloche” is in quotes as the dial is not indeed produced from a rose engine but rather stamped, as Parmigiani readily explains. I do admit that if the dial were indeed authentic machine engraving it would be very appealing. I was recently able to test my own skills with a real guilloche machine doing this exact barleycorn pattern and know how difficult and time consuming it is. Doing a single dial could take hours and hours of work.
Parmigiani seems to get brands like Vacheron Constantin and Patek Philippe as benchmarks, but Parmigiani doesn’t now enjoy their branding. I’m not saying those brands have improved connections with consumers, but rather that they have more, and much more widespread relationships with consumers. The man who receives a Patek Philippe Calatrava dress watch is frequently less interested in watches and much more interested in the brandnew. Parmigiani is, rather, competing (in my view) with additional “watch lover” brands that are little more market such as Jaeger-LeCoultre, Chopard, as well as Rolex’s dress watches, which are a little more niche in their own collection. When taking this under account, the Parmigiani option is often the most expensive (for this amount of complication). At the exact same moment, it may be the situation that Parmigiani’s pricing is logical. Three-hand dress watches in 18k gold cases vary in price from a couple thousand bucks to probably $100,000 (for very exotic or hand-crafted models). As a watch nerd, the pricing for the Parmigiani Toric Chronometre may feel a bit away, but also for other consumers surveying a bigger array of the market, the just under $20,000 price of those pieces might be exactly what they intend to cover a watch like this.
What’s truly new is the movement, which isn’t different, but rather done in solid 18k rose gold. So now both the Ovale case and the in-house made Parmigiani PF111 movement are in gold. I recently covered another Parmigiani watch with a gold movement, which was a steel-cased limited edition of 10 pieces Kalpa Hebdomadaire Anniversaire model. That model’s movement was decorated differently with more hand engraving, while the Parmigiani Ovale Pantographe with Barley Corn Dial and Gold Movement has more traditional Geneva stripes on the gold movement. With that said, the movements in each of the watches are structurally almost identical.
The PF111 movement is manually-wound and comprised of 267 parts. It operates at 21,600bph (3Hz) with a long power reserve of eight days (192 hours). The movement here uses a disc under a crescent-shaped power reserve indicator to to display the remaining power via color – it goes from black to white as the power reserve winds down. There is also an “open” date display over 6 o’clock that, in this instance, helps visually balance out the dial. The Parmigiani Fleurier logo is right above 12 o’clock, and arguably almost hidden a bit on the watch face.
In addition to the Ovale-style case shape, the Parmigiani Ovale Panotgraphe is so well-regarded because of the awesome system of telescopic hands which uses more than 30 parts in mostly titanium. In black, the hands look stately and legible. Their purpose by design is to grow and shrink in size so as to match the varying dimensions of the non-round case shape as they move around to indicate the time as we explain in more detail in our hands-on article here. In the modern sense, this is a Parmigiani creation, but the actual invention of this concept is credited to a pocket watch from 1780 that Michel Parmigiani himself restored. Like many talented modern-day watch makers, Mr. Parmigiani really taught himself watchmaking through the art and discipline of restoring antique horological creations.
The Parmigiani Ovale case is a special character in the watch world given its unique design, beautiful and comfortable wearing experience, and charming visual personality. The combination of distinctive Parmigiani signature teardrop-style lugs and oval shape make it a winner for being different in the category of dress watches were many things look more or less the same to me. Coming to this conclusion isn’t easy just by looking at it, but if you view our hands-on and review articles on the Parmigiani Ovale Pantograph, you can come to your own conclusion on how well the design might sit on your wrist.
The case for this set of Parmigiani Ovale Pantographe 2017 limited-edition watches comes in either 18k white or 18k rose gold, each with the same dial and black Hermes alligator strap. Size is 37.3mm wide by 45mm tall and 12.5mm thick (water resistant to 30 meters). The 2017 Parmigiani Pantographe “Guilloche” Barley Grain Dial And Gold Movement watch is a limited edition of 50 pieces in each case material with a price of $85,000 each. parmigiani.ch