INTRODUCING: A striking engraved masterclass from the Parmigiani Fleurier La Rosa CelesteBorna Bošnjak
Parmigiani Fleurier is experiencing a mammoth resurgence under the watchful eye of Guido Terreni – we had a taste of this with their incredible releases from Watches & Wonders like the Tonda PF Skeleton. Today’s topic, however, honours the brand’s founder and master watchmaker, Michel Parmigiani. A special person deserves a special watch. This prompted Parmigiani Fleurier to follow up the incredible Rose Carrée released in celebration of the brand’s 25th anniversary in 2021 with another (literally) striking, hand-engraved piece – the Parmigiani Fleurier La Rosa Celeste.
We begin with a component that has a deceptively simple outward appearance. “Oh, that’s just a frosted dial”, I hear you say – allow me to elaborate. Crafted from solid white gold, the dial’s many intricate engravings are hand-chiselled, their regularity and depth needing to be perfect. Once prepared, the dial blank is covered by finely ground glass and fired six separate times, with the glass powder becoming finer with each 800 degree Celsius firing process. The entire ordeal must be incredibly precise, as it would otherwise run the risk of re-melting the lower portions of the already glazed enamel.
The dial appliques are solid rhodium-plated 18k white gold, and naturally, applied by hand. If any brand can lay claim to doing wonders with mostly plain dials, it’s Parmigiani Fleurier, whether we’re talking about their “regular” grain d’orge guilloché or a masterpiece like this one.
Crafted by experienced hands
While the dial may hide its complexities within the favourite colour of its founder, the 42mm 18k white gold case proudly puts them on show. The hand-engraved pattern may be familiar, as it’s a direct descendant of the one found on La Rose Carrée. With, as Parmigiani Fleurier puts it, an algorithmic progression, the Rose Carrée motif hides an infinite-appearing sequence of engravings, representing a geometrical rose.
It covers the sloped bezel, top and side of the lugs, and circles another enamel wonder on the caseback. With a hinge hidden next to the repeater slide at 2 o’clock, the caseback is a hunter-style, engraved with a large fractal rose. It pays homage to La Rose Carrée, also in Grand Feu blue enamel, mirroring the colour of the dial. The final blue touch is in the form of a natural sapphire cabochon embedded into the crown.
The inner portion of the caseback reveals the name of the piece, as well as Michel Parmigiani’s signature, while the PF355 calibre is protected by a sapphire crystal. The entire package measures in at 13.39mm in height.
Striking (literally) and complex
Knowing Michel Parmigiani’s background as a master restorer, and the wonderful restored grande sonnerie movement in La Rose Carrée, one may expect a similar affair in La Rosa Celeste. For their founder’s birthday however, Parmigiani Fleurier had something else up their sleeve. The calibre PF355 is an in-house continuous chiming movement with cathedral gongs, specially skeletonised for its appearance in La Rosa Celeste. Circling the movement one and a half times, the gongs produce a sonorous chime, helped by suspending the calibre in the case and connecting the gong heels directly to the white gold surface. With a re-designed caseback and case middle, La Rosa Celeste gained resonance pockets, increasing the volume further. The PF355 also skips dead time, meaning that there will be no awkward pause between the striking of the hours, quarters and minutes, regardless of the time. Impressively, the PF355 features a three-day power reserve, too.
Decoration-wise, it’s nothing short of spectacular. With extensive skeletonisation, Parmigiani Fleurier were able to create many polished chamfers, to a total of 114 inward and outward angles. All of the anglage and straight graining is done by hand, naturally.
Parmigiani Fleurier Les Roses Carrées – Collection Grand Feu Rosa Celeste pricing and availability:
The Parmigiani Fleurier La Rosa Celeste is a piece unique. Price: CHF 600,000
|Les Roses Carrées – Collection Grand Feu La Rosa Celeste
|42mm x 13.39mm
|18k white gold, engraved with La Rose Carrée and Grand Feu enamel
|Sapphire crystal on both sides
|18k white gold, hand-chiselled, blue Grand Feu enamel
|Blue alligator leather, 18k white gold pin buckle with La Rose Carrée engravings
|PF355, in-house, manual winding, cathedral gong repeater with continuous chime, 3-day PR