IN ASSOCIATION WITH Ineichen AUCTIONEERS AND
Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants
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A unique, historically important and collectible yellow gold minute repeating wristwatch of the Swiss haute horlogerie brand Parmigiani Fleurier, founded in 1996 by the famous watch and clock restorer Michel Parmigiani, with financial help from the Sandoz Foundation. Estimated production period: 1998–2000. Case made of 18k yellow gold, diameter 40mm, 10.6mm thick, 18k yellow gold winding crown with sapphire cabochon, sapphire caseback. Solid 18k white gold dial, hand-engraved with feather decoration, slightly recessed small seconds sub-dial with fine circular grooves, Parmigiani Fleurier 18k yellow gold ‘javelin’ hour and minute hands, small seconds hand in gilt steel. Caliber PF250.02 (25002; designated on mainplate as 250), manually-wound, power reserve up to 45 hours. Functions – indication of hours and minutes, small seconds at 9 o’clock, minute repeater chiming hours, quarters and minutes. Parmigiani Fleurier black leather strap, Parmigiani Fleurier Toric 18k yellow gold pin buckle. Piece unique.
The Toric Minute Repeater ‘Egypta’ Piece Unique Ref. PF000317 would be an attractive purchase for the collector wishing to obtain a unique, historically important and collectible minute-repeating wristwatch from Parmigiani Fleurier, a world-famous haute horlogerie brand. Early in its history, the brand built a reputation for museum-class collector’s watches, and this watch seems to be made to reaffirm that status. A sophisticated minute-repeating complication complemented by high-end traditional finishing and decoration, which give the feeling of the watch as a museum piece, are typical quality of the best Parmigiani Fleurier watches. Moreover, the present example deserves the status of being historically important as it is one of the brand’s earliest minute repeaters, made as a piece unique, and is in fact the initiator of the iconic Parmigiani Fleurier Tecnica series.
Currently, we are seeing a significant increase in the interest of collectors in watches created by independent watchmakers and small creative brands. For many such brands, including Parmigiani Fleurier, the early period of their activity should be recognised as especially interesting from the point of view of collecting. As a rule, during this period the founders of a brand implement their own concepts, thought out in advance and often unique. Their subsequent activities show an increase in the importance of such factors as customer requests, which, though inevitable, often leads to a significant correction of the original concept, to the point of completely abandoning it. In the early days of Parmigiani Fleurier, this brand, led by its founder Michel Parmigiani, predominantly offered collectible watches. They were characterised by a special aura, which we prefer to call ‘museum spirit’, cultivated in the collection thanks to the efforts of Michel Parmigiani. His restorer’s background predetermined a collector’s approach to the design of the brand’s watches, which played a significant role in the formation of the early collection.
The museum spirit is most clearly expressed in the inaugural Torus collection, which around the year 2000 received the new name Toric. The museum spirit inherent in the early Torus/Toric models surfaces in the design of this watch most notably in the finish of the bezel and rim of the caseback. It is very important to note the high-class execution of the caseback, which from the very beginning was a reflection and confirmation of the high positioning of the Parmigiani Fleurier collection. The multi-tiered architecture of the bezel and rim of the caseback creates a symmetrical case profile when viewed from the side, while when viewed from the front, the bezel’s stepped shape is emphasised by two rings with finely made ribbing. In addition, the wide bezel required in this design let the brand follow the trend of large watches that emerged and gained momentum in the late 1990s as it allowed for a harmonious design using calibers previously developed with the aim of producing smaller watches.
The present example, bearing the case number 2282, was produced as a one-of-a-kind piece in a special decorative finish, most likely in 1998 or 1999.
The Torus/Toric Minute Repeater was released around 1998–2000. The earliest examples we have found are marked with the case number 22xx, which corresponds to this period. It was the first minute repeater wristwatch produced by the young brand. Michel Parmigiani’s concept of ‘museum spirit’ watches seems to have been embodied in this model, production of which was extremely small – only a handful of watches have hit the market so far.
We have encountered the Torus/Toric Minute Repeater only in yellow or in white gold. The present example, bearing the case number 2282, was produced as a one-of-a-kind piece in a special decorative finish, most likely in 1998 or 1999. The sophisticated mechanical caliber and subtle decorations that are applied to both the dial and the caliber make the ‘Egypta’ a prototype of the iconic Tecnica series of unique pieces, the most museum-like watch of all Parmigiani Fleurier watches. The Torus/Toric Minute Repeater used a movement supplied by Christophe Claret’s complications atelier. It is characterised by a classic design with curved bridges and a closed crown and ratchet wheels, and the use of an escapement in the control of the chiming sequence tempo. This caliber was subsequently repeatedly modernised, marking the beginning of a series of calibers used in Parmigiani Fleurier minute repeaters.
These calibers were usually combined with additional complications, due to which various designations were used. These include the PF250.02 (aka 25002, the present example), PF250.01 (25001; Toric Minute Repeater GMT), PF252 (Toric Corrector), PF321 (Toric Capitole series), PF357 (Toric Quaestor Labyrinthe), or PF359 (Toric Résonance 3). We assume that there are other clones of this caliber that were used in special projects, commissioned watches and unique pieces that will never appear on the secondary market – in the case of Parmigiani Fleurier, this is a common practice.
Overall, the caliber PF250.02 of this watch, like other calibers of the family, is of excellent quality, equally in terms of technical development, finishing and design. The caliber is equipped with a chiming mechanism with mirror-polished gongs and escapement governor, visible from the reverse. Delicate curved bridges and a steel swan neck index regulator adorn the movement. It is entirely decorated according to haute horlogerie standards, using traditional techniques including a fine hand-engraved feather motif on the bridges on the back side, a perlage finish on the mainplate, straight grinding, sphere-polished shafts, flat-polished screw heads, and the traditional bevelling of the mainplate, bridges and steel parts with meticulous hand-worked shaping and polishing of the inner exterior and interior angles during bevelling. Finishing of this kind is an extremely costly operation for a watch brand, where a lot of time and effort is required even without taking into account that needed in the process of handcrafting, finishing, assembling and adjusting a watch.
|Case||Polished & fluted yellow gold case 750/1000, crown with blue cabouchon, sapphire caseback, minute repeater slide at 9 o'clock|
|Strap||Original Parmigiani Fleurier black Alligator strap with a original yellow gold pin buckle|
|Dial||Hand engraved, silvered dial signt "Parmigiani Fleurier"´small seconds at 9 o´clock, silver outher ring with hour & minutes marks|
|Movement||Rhoduim-plated and hand-engraved, manual-winde movement with a Breguet hair-spring & minute repeater function|
|Case:||Very good, only small signs of wear|
|Strap:||Very good, small signs of wear|
|Movement:||Very good, all functions working properly|
|Amplitude (Dial on top/Lift angle 52):||Approx 330°|
|Accuracy (Dial on top):||Approx +4 sec/day|
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