Parmigiani – Masters of Time

Sandoz collection of automatons, Mechanical WondersMechanical Wonders at A La Vieille Russie As the restorer of the intricate mechanical masterpieces in the Sandoz collection, Michel Parmigiani demonstrates his passion and talent for watchmaking. And it is this same expertise that he brings to the creation of new pieces for his luxury brand. “We’re not a restorer on the one hand and a watch manufacturer on the other. To us, it is one and the same trade.”

Mechanical Wonders at A La Vieille Russie photos by R. Sterchi

Mechanical Wonders at A La Vieille Russie photo courtesy of

Mechanical Wonders includes three exclusive pieces designed by Parmigiani Fleurier, inspired by pieces in the Sandoz collection. It is the perfect melding of past, present and future  “where the never-ending dialogue continues between the excellence of the past and the search for its expressions in the watchmaking of the future.” The double time zone pocket watch from 1870, above, was the inspiration for the Tonda Hemispheres with dual time zone below.

Mechanical Wonders at A La Vieille Russie This contemporary interpretation represents the modern adaptation of the mechanical complications of the original.

Mechanical Wonders at A La Vieille Russie This beautiful Perrin Freres signed pocket watch from 1800-1840 had been restored by the Parmigiani restoration workshop. Having already revealed quite a few mechanical secrets, the antique became the inspiration for the new Toric Minute Repeater.

Mechanical Wonders at A La Vieille Russie This architectonic masterpiece features mother of pearl and translucent enamel and incredible technical marvels too complicated for this uninitiated observer!

Sandoz collection, Mechanical Wonders at A La Vieille Russie But the most amazing new watch was inspired by this magnificent Vardon and Stedman signed pocket watch with telescoping hands dating from 1800.

Mechanical Wonders. The Sandoz Collection at A La Vieille Russie With such extensive knowledge of the intricacies of the history of watchmaking, the master craftsmen at Parmigiani were able to recreate the incredible mechanics of the telescoping hands. Following the oval shape of the watch, both hands extend or retract to accommodate the widening or narrowing of the watch face. It is truly a marvel to see!

One of the components of this exhibit that was so marvelous was the creative collaboration between Parmigiani Fleurier, the Sandoz collection and A La Vieille Russie. All three were integral essential partners, working together to create this world premiere event. The other aspect of the show I loved was the integration of old and new. It is only through his love and knowledge of the past that Michel Parmigiani was able to found a brand for the future, creating future heirlooms based on the mechanical genius, impressive creativity and  brilliant artistry of past generations.

19 thoughts on “Parmigiani – Masters of Time

  1. What lovely timepieces~don’t you like that word better than the anxiety producing ‘watch’? I would love to see this exhibit. Thank you for sharing some of it with me.

  2. It seems like these beautiful timepieces much have magical properties– like they could slow the fleeting minutes and hours that seem to pass without notice, especially this time of year. Taking a few moments to get lost in their intricate details and craftsmanship couldn’t help make time slow down a bit, I think!

  3. If I could buy anything I would buy that last watch for my husband for Christmas! I loved this exhibit so much. It is truly amazing what these craftsmen created with no electricity and modern technology! This should not be missed!

  4. Oh if I won the lottery I would buy my husband one of these watches. He would adore it. Can’t get over the hands extending and retracting – mind boggling. I really like the pocket watch that inspired the Toric, beautiful.

  5. who can resist these old the old fashioned way to check the time..I have a vintage (not sure if it’s an antique ) pocket watch and I really enjoy it’s beauty and craftsmanship..

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