Les Roses Carrées – Collection Grand Feu La Rosa Celeste
La Rose Carrée has now evolved into Les Roses Carrées, a series composed of 5 unique minute-repeater pieces at the top of the Parmigiani Fleurier range, set against a backdrop of absolute exclusivity.
On December 2, 2022, on the occasion of the birthday of its founder Michel Parmigiani, the brand reveals the first creation in this collection: La Rosa Celeste, an extraordinary creation that pays tribute to the age-old artisanal tradition of Grand Feu enamel and to the favorite color of the brand’s founder.
Its 42 mm white gold case is hand-engraved with the “La Rose Carrée” motif and has a hunter’s caseback. The latter and its chiseled dial are covered with grand feu enamel in blue.
Between the petals of this horological flower, Parmigiani Fleurier has concealed a manually wound minute repeater calibre with cathedral gongs. Its skeletonization and bevelling bring together the best of Parmigiani Fleurier’s watchmaking expertise and craftsmanship in a unique and poetic piece.
This motif was engraved on the case middle and covers by hand, without the slightest margin for error on the vast, convex surfaces. The covers were then finished in a deep blue Grand Feu enamel. Infinite detail, energy and passion were devoted to the creation of the flagship piece — so much so that
La Rose Carrée has evolved into Les Roses Carrées, a collection at the top of the Parmigiani Fleurier range. The variations on this theme are thus situated in the highest spheres of artistic craftsmanship and watchmaking complication, against a backdrop of absolute exclusivity.
La Rosa Celeste carries all the hallmarks of La Rose Carrée pocket watch. With the Rosa Celeste, these details have been taken to a higher level of wearability and simplicity, making this piece just as unique as the original model. This model also heralds a series entirely dedicated to the celebration of handmade watchmaking craftsmanship according to Parmigiani Fleurier. “Les Roses Carrées” will be the name and the thread that ties these pieces together.
In this execution, the watch case is mounted on a blue, hand-sewn alligator leather strap, the reverse side of which is also in alligator leather. With a diameter of 42 mm, the case is cut from white gold blocks. The bezel, lugs and caseband are hand-engraved with the La Rose Carrée motif. These notches are engraved with a chisel into the hard surfaces of the metal, one inside the other in an algorithmic progression. This work requires extreme precision, an impressive investment of time, and a steady hand that is ensured by years of experience.
A hinge located at 2 o’clock on the reverse side of this unique piece articulates its hunter’s back. Its outer face bears a large square fractal rose, also hand-engraved and covered with multiple layers of colored enamel. On its other side, this unique piece features a dial of solid white gold, with a surface engraved by hand. Countless small carvings are made with immaculate regularity throughout the breadth and depth of the dial. Once the surface has been prepared, the enameler takes over and applies the same shade as on the hunter’s caseback, striving for an identical level of nuance and a play of light made possible by the depth of the work done by the artisanal engraver.
In both cases, dial and cover, the technique used is Grand Feu enamel. Each gold element is first covered with enamel from crushed glass, ground finer in each layer, pigmented with metallic oxides and shaded with the color of the base metal. The firing process is carried out at a high temperature, 800 degrees Celsius, and must be mastered and repeated for each of the six layers applied. Each firing melts and glazes the enamel but also runs the risk of re-firing the lower, already glazed layers. The precision of the temperatures, times, materials, and pigments plays a crucial role here.
To the movement’s extreme aesthetic refinement, Parmigiani Fleurier has added horological substance on a comparable level. The noblest, most historic complication, the one most directly in line with Michel Parmigiani’s watchmaking practice as a restorer, was chosen to enliven Rosa Celeste: the minute repeater. But striking the hours, quarters and minutes on demand was not enough for this rare timekeeping rose.
The gongs on which the sound is produced are cathedral gongs. Their exceptional length, spanning one and a half trips around the movement, brings a deeper, richer sound, a more sustained vibration and a more palpable intensity. In order to allow this potential to be fully expressed, the case has been carefully designed to optimize the sound of the movement.
The movement is suspended in the case and the heel of the gongs is physically connected to the case by a double screwing. The caseback and case middle have been redesigned to create resonance pockets and to lighten the white gold mass. These two aspects contribute to increasing the acoustic quality of the ringing and its range. A final quality criterion is that the ringing sequence automatically skips dead time. Thus, at 3:19, the three chimes for the hour are immediately followed by a double chime for the quarter-hour and again, without silence, by up to four chimes for the minute.
This device, which is unusual in the world of minute repeaters, is an indispensable characteristic for Parmigiani Fleurier. The maison’s legendary criteria for ergonomics and directly perceptible quality are also reflected in a running time extended to 72 hours, i.e. three full days, another rarity for this complication.
The movement, although hidden by a solid dial on one side and by its hunter’s caseback on the other, has nevertheless been the object of an artistic and extensive skeletonization. Usually made visible by the disappearance of the dial, it is here reserved for the owner and his or her closest confidants, a private and exclusive pleasure that speaks to the very unique nature of La Rosa Celeste. The shape given to the bridges, the cut-out of their profile, and the size and extent of their openwork are artistic signatures, markers of aesthetic identity and indicators of the care given to execution and details. Parmigiani Fleurier has taken this approach to the extreme. The skeletonization of the PF355 calibre is reminiscent of that of the PF361 calibre, known as the Chronor, which was launched in 2016 inside a model that was at the time the pinnacle of the Parmigiani Fleurier collection. With its curves and counter-curves, harmonious inflections, the depth of the chamfers and its 114 inward and outward angles, Rosa Celeste is the product of unparalleled achievement. The bevelling, polishing and surface treatments are all done by hand.