Parmigiani Fleurier’s L’armoriale pocket watch brims with opulence

By Haziq Yusof 26 December, 2023
Photo of L'armoriale

The unique pocket watch is a work of art

Twenty years before he founded Parmigiani Fleurier in 1996, Michel Parmigiani was already renowned for breathing life into antique watches as a restorer par excellence.

The legendary Swiss master watchmaker now adds another feather to his cap. L’armoriale is the latest work of art to emerge from the watchmaker’s workshop. The opulent pocket watch is the culmination of nearly half-a-century’s worth of watchmaking experience, displaying a dazzling array of adroit artistry and allure. Every component of this sublime timepiece is painstakingly constructed, decorated, and assembled by masters of their crafts.

Photo of Michel Parmigiani, Founder of Parmigiani Fleurier
Michel Parmigiani founded Parmigiani Fleurier in 1996. Photo by Parmigiani Fleurier

The movement powering L’armoriale is one Michel Parmigiani himself had rescued from obscurity. Dating from 1890 and signed A. Golay Leresche & Fils in Geneva, the hand-wound movement, which featured a chronograph and minute repeater at the time, was first restored in 1985. Parmigiani subsequently breathed new life into the mechanism, adding a perpetual calendar and a moon phase to its list of complications. Equipped with 30-power reserve, the painstakingly refurbished and elevated movement is as beautiful as it is complex. Every component of the movement is meticulously engraved and polished—the ornate decorations a fitting complement to the movement’s immense technical refinement.

Photo of L'armoriale's intricate movement
L’armoriale’s movement was rescued by Michel Parmigiani. Photo by Parmigiani Fleurier

The rest of the watch is just as captivating. Its mordant brown dial is decorated and engraved in a textured motif, which the brand coins as “mezzo vibrato”. Set against this sumptuous dial are four subdials for the perpetual calendar displays, one of which is open-worked to reveal a hand-hammered and white gold moon set against an aventurine sky. Skeletonised delta-shaped white gold hands add a modern touch, with the blued steel chronograph hand providing a hit of colour that complements the dial’s overall composition.

Close-up photo of L'armoriale's mezzo vibrato dial
The captivating dial of L’armoriale. Photo by Parmigiani Fleurier

Housing this dial is a 58.2mm 18k white gold case that is nothing short of majestic. Under the hands of master enameller Vanessa Lecci, the hinged caseback comes alive with a glorious burst of colours. Providing a lovely counterpoint to the stately dial, the hinged caseback is lavished in rich yellow, red, and brown, rendered in a pattern inspired by the ancient floors of the Palazzo Te, 16th century palace in Mantua, Italy. The rich hues are brought to life by the grand feu enamel technique, which requires Lecci to repeatedly fire coloured enamel at a temperature of almost 500°C to achieve the desired sheen and hue.

Photo of L'armoriale's casebook
The hinged caseback of L’armoriale is inspired by the floors of the Palazzo Te. Photo by Parmigiani Fleurier

No detail is overlooked on the L’armoriale  and even its matching white gold chain is a work of art. One of the last remaining chain-making artisans who still crafts pocket watch chains the traditional way, Jolliet provides an excellent finishing touch. Durable and distinguished all at once, the chain features motifs that echo the patterns on the case, with each link constructed and finished—like every part of the watch—to the highest standards.

Parmigiani Fleurier