The Pantograph by Parmigiani Fleurier, A Fine Watch With Extendible Hands
The Ovale Pantographe by Parmigiani Fleurier is the only watch whose hands are able to follow the oval shape of its case as they make their rotations around the dial. They extend and retract all by themselves, thereby seeming to work as a pantograph: the hands’ hinges and blades interact mechanically to allow the special function.
The seeming simplicity of this exceptional watch, which was inspired by an English pocket watch, camouflages the amount of research, development, and testing that went into it. Indeed, the manufacturing of the hands involved conceiving dedicated cams to drive them. As they also had to be resistant to shock as well as weighing as little as possible, Parmigiani Fleurier resorted to using duralium, an aluminum alloy primarily used in the aircraft industry, for their manufacture. Powered by a manual winding mechanical caliber with eight days’ worth of power reserve, these hands are as playful as they are complicated.
Parmigiani Fleurier’s Pantograph embodies a particularly admirable category of watches: those whose complexity is not in the movement itself but rather in the display system. Indeed, it is a smart tribute to the remarkable skills of vintage watchmakers; the movement that powered the pocket watch was completely reliable and efficient. It took Parmigiani Fleurier much effort and outside-the-box thinking to be able to reproduce it in wristwatch size.