Let’s first go back a bit.
In 2011, to mark the ‘Mechanical Wonders’ exhibition in New York, Parmigiani launched the Toric Minute Repeater, a modern tribute to the early 19th century Perrin Freres pocket watch that they restored for the Edouard and Maurice Sandoz Foundation’s collection of timepieces (see photo below).
Featuring a sector time display in a curved opening at the top of the watch, along with a minute repeater with a cathedral chimes gong, it was driven by the manual-wind Calibre PF321. Beating at 18,000VPH, this movement had power reserve of forty-five hours.
Coming in a fairly large 45mm with a thickness of 12.9mm, it was released in two variants – rose gold and 18 carat white gold, with a white mother-of-pearl dial.
The new 2019 Toric Capitole Minute Repeater Rose Gold Brown is the continuation of this lineage, taking its name from the Capitolium in Rome.
In a 45mm sized 18 carat rose gold case, the dial is also 18 carat rose gold, and hand engraved in a pattern intended to evoke the scales of pine cones. Time is indicated by a three-armed platform. Each arm carries a satellite that shows the hours (in white) in a star wheel fashion, whilst the minutes are on a track that spans the top half of the dial.
It uses the same manual-wind Calibre PF321, with Côtes de Genève decoration. As mentioned, the calibre drives three planetary gears each with four arms, driven by a cam system. The arms have a set of three Arabic numerals from ‘1’ to ’12’. Each hand travels the arc of 60 minutes in five minute divisions, after which it is the turn of the next hand as the previous one has run its course.
Repeaters are all about their sound, and how it is transmitted from the gongs through the watch. For those who are unfamiliar with them, the minute repeater chimes in ‘sections’ so to speak – generally the hour is signalled by one ‘gong’ sound for each hour in a low tone, followed by a different tone (usually in a sequence of two) to indicate the number of quarter hours, and then single ‘gong’ tones to represent minutes.
The Toric Capitole uses ‘cathedral gongs’, meaning the gongs themselves go around the movement one-and-a-half times (in this instance twice) or more. This amplifies the acoustic quality compared with a single set.
Coming on an alligator strap, the RRP for this new piece is CHF 390,000.