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Parmigiani Unveil L’Armoriale Pocket Watch Objet d’Art that Took Three Centuries to Create

Parmigiani L’Armoriale Pocket Watch Objet D’Art

It’s become a tradition for Parmigiani to release an Objet d’Art pocket watch every year to celebrate the birthday of Michel Parmigiani. Previous years have seen astonishing timepieces like the La Rose Carrée and now for 2023 they’ve released the Parmigiani L’Armoriale, a stunning piece of haute horology based on a vintage 1890 calibre restored and upgraded by Michel Parmigiani himself.

Parmigiani L Armoriale Pocket Watch Objet D Art

The watch is housed in a highly decorative white gold case with a mesmerising enamel design on its hunter caseback. The enamel design is made from Grand Feu in a spiralling scale pattern coloured red, yellow and brown. It’s very vibrant, reminding me of hard-boiled sweets or rhubarb and custard candy canes. There’s almost something festive about the design, although perhaps I’m only seeing that because of the time of year.

Parmigiani L Armoriale Pocket Watch Objet D Art

As for L’Armoriale’s dial, Parmigiani have used an intricate engraving called ‘Mezzo Vibrato’, which is a musical term for a pulsating style of singing. You can see the physical representation of that in the pattern of the dial which appears chaotic and pulsating but with an overall sense of control. The musical connotation is also a reference to the fact the piece is a minute repeater, the most prestigious of chiming complications.

Parmigiani L Armoriale Pocket Watch Objet D Art

The Parmigiani L’Armoriale’s display centres on the quartet of perpetual calendar subdials that surround the central hours, minutes and chronograph seconds handstack. At 12 o’clock is the months and leap year indicator, interestingly the two functions use a single hand that rotates once every four years, meaning the months are listed four times around the edge of the scale to correspond with each year in the cycle.

At 9 o’clock is the days of the week in French (the months are also in French) and at 3 o’clock is the date. Completing the display is a combined small seconds and moonphase at 6 o’clock.

Parmigiani L Armoriale Pocket Watch Objet D Art Caseback

That’s a lot of complications. The movement was first created in 1890 by A. Golay Leresche & Fils (a brand that still exists today in the jewellery industry although they have long since ceased producing watches) as a chronograph minute repeater. In 1985 Michel Parmigiani restored the calibre, known know as PF993, and added the perpetual calendar to the piece. Presented in its new case for 2023, this is a pocket watch that has been developed literally across three centuries, the 19th all the way through to the 21st.

Parmigiani L'Armoriale Pocket Watch

Aesthetically, I definitely prefer La Rose Carrée because it has a more cohesive design and concept. However, there’s something about the story of the Parmigiani L’Armoriale pocket watch that is magnetic. The horological history of this item is fascinating and showcases the extreme skill of multiple generations of watchmakers. Unsurprisingly it’s a piece unique and price on request.

Price and Specs:

Model: Parmigiani L’Armoriale
Case: 58.2mm diameter x 17.5mm thickness, Hand engraved and polished according to the theme ‘L’Armoriale’ in 18k white gold
Dial: Brown-treated 18k white gold, aventurine sky and hand hammed 18k white gold moons
Water resistance: Dust resistant
Movement: Parmigiani calibre PF993, manual winding, 29 jewels
Frequency: 18,000 vph (2.5 Hz)
Power reserve: 30h
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, minute repeater, chronograph, perpetual calendar
Strap: 300mm 18k white gold handcrafted chain
Price: Price on request

More details at Parmigiani.

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About the author

Michael Sonsino

As Digital Editor for Oracle Time, Michael needs an eye for detail, which makes it a good thing that his twin joys in life are miniatures and watches. He's a lifelong fan of fine timepieces, especially those of a more historic nature - if it has a twist of Art Deco, all the better. Recent purchase: Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Modern Re-Interpretation. Grail watch: Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921.