Swiss watch brand Parmigiani Fleurier understands how important traditional watchmaking is to passing on the centuries-old craft from generation to generation. This is a brand that excels when it comes to complications and technical innovations. The newest Rosa Mystica unique watch is a shining example. The newest in the brand’s Grand Feu Collection – a series of five one-of-a-kind watches, this timepiece is the third one and boasts a stunning rose red dial color and beautiful Rose Carree’ motif in Grand Feu enamel on the case back of the half-hunter case.
Before I delve into the incredible métier’s d’Arts of this watch, I want to stress that this is also a mechanical wonder: it is a manually wound minute repeater with cathedral gongs. The 18-karat white gold watch with red garnet cabochon on the crown and incredibly detailed geometric engravings on the case, lugs and bezel is a magnificent blend of beauty and mechanics.
The 42mm watch emulates the fine pocket watches of yesteryear thanks to its details and the half-hunter case back, which opens to reveal the marvelous movement within. However, it is a wristwatch and is finished with a hand-sewn red alligator leather strap.
The Art of the Parmigiani Fleurier Rosa Mystica
A journey around this watch reveals hundreds of hours of painstaking detail inside and out. The case is meticulously engraved, the hunter case back is engraved and then spectacularly painted, layer upon layer, in Grand Feu enamel with square that recall a large fractal rose. Even the dial is engraved and then hand-enameled to offer an almost suede-like look.
Not only is enameling difficult enough, but working with the color red is one of the most difficult hues to achieve the depth and color. The artisan must cover the gold with enamel made from crushed glass pigmented with metallic oxides. Each layer is fired in a kiln at 800 degrees Celsius. This subjects the piece to a host of potential problems, from bubbling to cracking and even a fading of the color as the heat melts and glazes the enamel. It takes six firings to complete a dial and at each firing, these risks loom. It is only the artist’s incredible experience when it comes to temperatures, timing, and pigments that yields a perfect end result.
Not all of the art of this watch, though, is on the outside. The complicated movement is also a work of art – placing component after component into place so it all dances together in harmony. This is especially challenging when the watch is a minute repeater that chimes the time. In this instance, Parmigiani turns to cathedral gongs to sound the hours, quarter hours and minutes on demand. To achieve exceptional sound, the cathedral gongs are longer than most minute repeater gongs and offer a deeper, richer tone.
Because the gong stretches around the entire case and then more, it is no easy feat to accomplish. The gongs are held into place using two screws to hold it to the case and the case has been reduced of gold weight mass to allow for better acoustical clarity. Additionally, the movement does not allow for dead sound between the striking of the hours, quarters and minutes. It goes directly from one sound to the next without hesitation – offering a song-like quality.
In typical Parmigiani style, the skeletonized PF355 movement is exceptionally hand finished – with polishing of more than 114 angles, engraving and more – and is visible only when the wearer opens the hunter case back.