Thursday, July 9, 2015

Cecil Purnell and A Lucky Lady

She who owns a  high end joullarie timepiece is one lucky lucky lady.  To own a high end joullarie timpiece crafted by Cecil Purnell is one very very lucky lady thus it comes as no surprise that Cecil Purnell's highly exclusive and limited ladies collection is coined "Lucky Lady".

Glancing at the Lucky Lady Timepiece Collection fuels a passion which forms an immediate attraction to the watch. Actually not one watches, but all the watches in the collection, each as intriguing and exquisite as the next. The watches are rich in color, arresting blue, emerald green and fiery red. The red in particular strikes my fancy.  It is this color that caught my eye in the Hall of Gems at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. A red emerald cut diamond glowing as if a fire burns within. The watch is a piece of delicacy meant to be savored at every moment in time.

The Lucky Lady, unveiled in December 2012,  bares the signature La Croix case shape. As the name suggests, the dial is fashioned in the shape of a cross. An intriguing array of diamond paving, unique to each watch is set into  the bezel , lugs and crown.  The skeletonized dial is crafted in the shape of a rose in full bloom.  The dial is further accentuated by the warm hue of 5N18 rose gold. 5N18 is "red gold" as opposed to 4N18, which is a lighter pink gold or 3N18, which is a lightish pinkish yellow. 2N18 is yellow gold as in the 18k standard yellow gold one and 1N14 is a lighter yellow still as in the standard yellow for 14k gold.  The rich red of the gold surrounding and suspended above a translucent dial  ,which is colored by a highly complex plique-à-jour or "letting in daylight" enameling, reveals an in-house Cecil Purnell CP-V11 tourbillon caliber.

Names of movements  baring prefixes of the companies initials leads to supposition that the movement is in fact "in-house".  In-house means the moment was designed and manufactured by the company and not bought as an ebauche from a outside or unaffiliated company.  Some companies refer to a movement as 'in-house" even if the company bought an ebauche and modified it slightly. Cecil Purnell pretty much manufactures its movement from scratch and has gained quite a reputation for its tourbillon movements. It has gained the reputation as a micro-manufacturer crafting hundreds of intricate movement components.

  To craft a tourbillon, a watchmaker must be highly experienced in his craft.  A Tourbillon consists of a cage ,which turns at one complete revolution per minute , in which the balance wheel and escapement is placed. This rotation reduces the variation of effects gravity plays on the movement of a watch and increases a watch's precision.   Although this idea was quite receptive in 1795,  the tourbillon nowadays is more of a testament to competent watch making abilities.  I wouldn't quite say that a tourbillon is a complication, as it does not perform an extra function other than being aesthetically pleasing and arguably dispelling gravity
 The tourbillon movement powering the Lucky Lady is the highly efficient CP-V11.  Its rotating cage is placed between two bridges   

The Lucky Lady Timepiece is also available in emerald green and a dreamy blue.The red and blue models are produced each as a unique piece.  The green model is limited to just 10.  The idea of producing so few models is part of the vision of Cecil Purnell. Cecil Purnell scrutinizes every phase of watch construction from formulating the original idea to design and planning, from individual component construction to assembly and calibration.  Since Cecil Purnell is completely independent, the company has freedom of artistic expression.  The best watch making materials are used.  No corners are cut for cost savings techniques,  No big wig corporations frown on pricey expenditures.  If the watchmaker needs to spend an exorbitant amount of time crafting a component or beveling to perfection Yes the watches are quite pricey, but then again they are not meant for everyone (me included, in case you thought I was beginning to sound a tad too haughty)

Company History of  Cecil Purnell
Tourbillon Mirage
In 1918, the companies namesake, Cecil Purnell, became fascinated with Abraham Louis Bruguet's 1795 invention - the tourbillon.  His grandson, Jonathen Purnell caught his passion and began a company based on the quest of his grandfather. In 2006,   Jonathen Purnell partnered with watch industry expert Stéphane Valsamides and founded Cecil Purnell in the Alle (Jura) region of Switzeland.  The company only  manufactures tourbillon based movements and limits production to 50 watches a year. All CP watches are over 150,000 CHF.  Some by a little; some by a lot.

I must say the beginnings  were a bit iffy, with the a major bump prior to 2010 when the brand's credibility was at stake for using Chinese ebauche movements from the Liaoning Watch Factory. The way this story broke was quite interesting in itself, the Liaoning Watch Factory obviously proud they manufacture watch components to an exclusive Swiss company, posted a picture of  a Cecil Purnell branded balance assembly in their product listings. Of course the image was removed, but not before a whole lot of people got wind of it.  However, since 2010, with the introduction of its iconic in-house movement, the CP3000, Cecil Purnell has used wholly  in-house tourbillon movements for all its models - designed and manufactured in Switzeland. After this Saga ( which was not the watch industry's  first or I daresay the last  - remember last year's fiasco featuring Bremont's first "in-house" movement), Cecil Purnell is entirely transparent about the origins of their
movements and in a remarkably short  time has bounced back to quite an esteemed place in the horological hierarchy of haute horology.    I am sure Cecil Purnell would like to forget the pre-2010 days and only concentrate on its more recent milestones.

Cecil Purnel highly exclusive collections include:

Tourbillon Collection encompassing the Mirage Bold model  featuring a CP-V13 movement encased entirely in Sapphire Crystal.

Lacroix Collection featuring the signature case shape and either the CP-V11 or CP -V12 in-house movement. (CP-V12 is equipped with a big-date on dial side).

World Time Bi-Axial Tourbillon
Pit-Lane Collection featuring a round Sapphire transparent dial and CP-V12 movement.

Complication Collection featuring highly complex movements framed within a classic round dial.
Movements in this collection include the:
Classique CP-V13 featuring a striking hour; CP-V14 equipped with a regulator and featuring a striking hour.  The prominent aspect to this fine watch is a Blue (adonized titanium) movement face.  Other pieces  in this collection include models sporting a CP-V15 movement  featuring a twin tourbillon; CP-V16 with a twin tourbillon GMT and big date; CP-V17 with a Bi-Axial Tourbillon and World Time with Horizon Indicator (unveiled at Baselworld 2015). 

And of course the exquisite Lucky Lady Collection. The Collection that has captivated my attention.