A super rare, charismatic and impressive limited-edition rose gold tourbillon and chronograph wristwatch of the Swiss haute horlogerie brand Parmigiani Fleurier, founded in 1996. Estimated production period: 2013–2019. Case made of 18k rose gold, diameter 43mm, 13.4mm thick, openworked dial, sapphire caseback. Caliber PF354, manually-wound, power reserve up to 65 hours. Functions – indication of hours and minutes, small seconds at 9 o’clock, tourbillon at 6 o’clock, chronograph with central seconds hand and 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock, power reserve indicator at 12 o’clock. Original Parmigiani Fleurier black leather strap, made by Hermes, Parmigiani Fleurier 18k rose gold pin buckle. Limited edition of 30 pieces.
Launched in 2009, the Parmigiani Fleurier Tourbillon Chronograph watch was powered by the tourbillon and chronograph manually-wound caliber PF354, which was developed for the Parmigiani Fleurier by APRP (Audemars Piguet Renaud et Papi) atelier of complications. From a technical point of view, it is similar to the movements created by APRP for its other customers, including Audemars Piguet, Richard Mille and Cartier, all of which were developed to the highest standards. Some details and design features of the PF354 caliber’s chronograph mechanism make it similar to the Nouvelle Lémania caliber 2310 and its descendants. We have not found open information that would confirm the use of such components by APRP. It is quite possible that only technically proven and easy-to-manufacture solutions are used in the mechanisms.
The first version of the Parmigiani Fleurier Tourbillon Chronograph of 2009 did not have the power reserve indicator that appeared in the Tourbillon Chronograph Tondagraph in 2013. Several limited editions were released based on the modernised mechanism at that time, including models with both solid dials and skeletonized dials (as the present example). The latest release of the Tourbillon Chronograph Tondagraph was presented by the brand in 2020, equipped with a slate grey guilloché dial. The extremely limited release of wristwatches with the combination of chronograph and tourbillon complications is due to the apparent complexity and the resulting high costs of production, assembly and adjustment of the caliber and of the watch itself. This requires high-class watchmakers, and production is time consuming. The brand has now discontinued the Tourbillon Chronograph Tondagraph, making this model highly collectible and one of the rarest complications in the Parmigiani Fleurier collection.
A sophisticated combination of classic tourbillon and chronograph complications complemented by high-end traditional finishing and decoration, which gives the feeling of a museum piece, are typical quality of the best Parmigiani Fleurier watches.
Overall, the caliber PF354 of this watch, like other similar projects by APRP, is of excellent quality, equally in terms of technical development, finishing and design. The caliber is equipped with a tourbillon that is open from the dial side and a traditional lateral-clutch chronograph mechanism with a column wheel that is mounted on the back of the caliber. Delicate flame-shaped chronograph bridges and curved steel chronograph levers adorn the movement. It is entirely decorated according to haute horlogerie standards, using traditional techniques including a Côtes de Genève striped finish on the bridges on the back side and the mainplate’s upper surface on the dial side, a perlage finish from both sides of the mainplate, circular brushing, straight grinding, sphere-polished shafts, flat-polished screw heads, and the traditional bevelling of the mainplate, bridges and steel parts of the chronograph with meticulous hand-worked shaping and polishing of the inner exterior and interior angles during bevelling. Even in comparison with this finish, the finishing of the tourbillon bridge on the dial side and the upper part of the tourbillon cage is especially impressive. Flat polishing is used not only on flat areas, but also on conical surfaces. Such a finish is extremely difficult to perform. 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 watches.
Reasons to bid
The Parmigiani Fleurier Tourbillon Chronograph Tondagraph Limited Edition Ref. PFH236 would be an excellent chance for the collector to obtain a super-rare highly complicated tourbillon and chronograph watch from a world-famous haute horlogerie watch brand. A sophisticated combination of classic tourbillon and chronograph complications complemented by high-end traditional finishing and decoration, which gives the feeling of a museum piece, are typical quality of the best Parmigiani Fleurier watches. Undoubtedly, this is one of the finest pages in the history of the brand. Furthermore, the appeal of this lot is greatly enhanced by the fact that the tourbillon and chronograph caliber PF354 was used extremely rarely in the Parmigiani Fleurier collection, with it now having been discontinued.