Parmigiani is going to debut the PF 114 in the coming months at the “Mechanical Wonders” exhibition in New York City from October 26 – November 26, 2011 at the La Vieille Russie. What makes this watch so unique are the telescopic hands. As they move around the dial, they lengthen and shorten to meet the numerals so that there isn’t a gap between them like there is on traditional dials.
Not only is this a technical accomplishment, but also an aesthetic and practical one as well. It will be quite enchanting to watch the pirouette of the hands as they progress around the dial. No word yet on the how all the gears mesh together to make this juicy optical feat possible but rest assured, Parmigiani will have filed a patent (or more) to protect their new creation. Remember the Bugatti Type 370? That watch took a patent or two. It was an architectural wonder of movement design flipped on its head so you could see the gears on this drivers’ watch with 10-day power reserve. Michel Parmigiani, the man behind the brand, is known for his golden hands and ingenious solutions. And that also includes historical pieces. The industry, including such brands as Patek Philippe frequently calls upon his workshop to resuscitate the most finicky and difficult of projects. The man likes a challenge. You can read an interview with him here.
Deceptively simple, the dial of the PF 114 holds a wonderful treat for the patient eye. Parmigiani gives the grand feu enamel treatment to both faces of the gold dial. To bring attention to the balletic hands, they are constructed of blued titanium and their riveted structure is inspired by the Eiffel Tower.
In this case, Parmigiani strayed from their signature Kalpa case to present an oval shape. The lugs, however, are still in the Kalpa style, as Parmigiani believes in the magical properties of the Golden Ratio, which they are based upon.
While there’s not a modern watch on the market that employs telescopic hands that I’m aware of, the concept is not a new one. Parmigiani gained inspiration for the PF 114 from a watch with the same hands made by Vardon and Stedman dating from 1800. Historical pieces are common springboards for modern pieces these days. Think of Lange & Sohne’s Richard Lange Tourbillon Pour Le Merite, a modern marvel based upon a watch by Johann Heinrich Seyffert of Dresden made in the late 18th century. It’s also worth it to note that the fusee and chain mechanisms employed and a signature of the Lange & Sohne Pour Le Merite line was invented in the 15th century.
One of the few, Parmigiani develops and manufactures all their own movements at the brand’s Watchmaking Centre (MHF). The PF 114 was born from the PF 110, the first manually wound mechanical movement Parmigiani produced. For now we only get a sketch of the watch prior to its unveiling. This is one I can’t wait to see in action. I might have to wait a few centuries to own one as the retail price is quoted at $100K.