It was an unnerving second. On a limited mountain street in the Vallee de Joux, an oncoming vehicle doesn’t back off or move over. With a fast flick of the wrist Maurizio Mazzocchi, CEO of Purnell , keeps away from debacle and continues our discussion as though nothing had happened.
The collected mind Mazzocchi displayed on that drive are likewise obvious in his expert profession spanning thirty years: he filled in as the managing director at Roger Dubuis in the wake of having been a brand manager for both Omega and Blancpain. Before Purnell, Mazzocchi assumed a significant part at Jacob & Co. as CEO, turning the acclaimed adornments brand into a genuine part in the watch world by offering incredible manifestations marrying genuine precious stones and genuine complications.
Mazzocchi is a pragmatist – the watch industry hold not many insider facts for him – however he has never stopped dreaming.
Purnell: just tourbillons
Purnell is a brand with a way of thinking that can be summed up in only two words: “just tourbillons.”
The reasoning behind this beholds back to the grandfather of the author, Cecil Purnell. He filled in as an officer for the British military in World War I. Injured in fight, he wound up in Besançon, the capital of French watchmaking, where he settled after healing to train as a watchmaker.
It was there that Purnell became fascinated by crafted by Abraham-Louis Breguet , specifically Breguet’s most well known invention: the tourbillon .
Decades later, his grandson, Jonathan Purnell, chose to make his grandfather’s enthusiasm a reality with his very own brand, and in 2006 dispatched Purnell’s first tourbillon.
While as far as age this makes the brand a spring chicken, particularly in Switzerland where many watch brands gloat a 100 or more year history, it likewise offers the advantage of having a clean sheet.
Instead of inflating the brand’s “history” with keenly picked marketing terms, Purnell (which was recently called both Cecil Purnell and C. Purnell) zeroed in the entirety of its assets on its watches. This has brought about the advancement of 13 restrictive tourbillon movements in nearly as numerous years.
Purnell’s most recent model is Escape II featuring two round tourbillons created by Eric Coudray. This expert watchmaker is the definitive master in the field of multi-pivot tourbillons, having likewise designed the Jaeger-LeCoultre Gyrotourbillon , which was the first of its kind when dispatched in 2004. All the more as of late, Coudray has contacted another crowd as the movement planner behind the MB&F Thunderdome .
Mazzocchi grins as we begin to talk about the expression “make.” He has no desire of steering the brand into that course as he sees just constraints and little added value.
To my inquiry regarding Purnell’s strategy of not into making everything “in house” Mazzocchi answers, “For what reason would you need to have a ‘fabricate’ when you already work with the best in the industry?”
Purnell likes to work with providers, craftsmans, and innovative watchmakers that share the young brand’s energy for watchmaking and pushing the envelope. This is both a significantly more effective utilization of assets and permits Purnell to build up a specialized arrive at far past most store brands selling less than 100 watches annually.
Magic happening in improbable places
We pull up to a half-full parking parcel – COVID-19 safety measures are still essentially – close to a dull building in Vallorbe. Its outside uncovers next to no of the magic happening inside.
What resembles a factory where helpful, however moderately boring, things, for example, metal balls or metal hinges are made, is indeed a fundamental piece of the TEC Ebauches movement group.
We are met by Arnaud Faivre, the energetic proprietor, who displays a consistent shimmer in his eyes as he discusses his business and shows us around. There are not very many components that his companies don’t make, and in the production of the majority of them his business is considered truly outstanding in the industry.
We stroll through the various corridors loaded up with great machinery, the brand names on schematics and finished requests reading like a Who’s Who of Swiss haute horlogerie.
While Faivre could wear any Swiss watch, he has a Purnell on his wrist – not because he realized we were coming, but since he imparts to Mazzocchi a genuine enthusiasm for the brand. A reality highlighted by his conspicuous joy as he shows us the workshop where Purnell’s highly complicated watches are assembled.
Quality over quantity
The motivation behind why Faivre is so energized becomes evident: he works with, not for, Purnell.
While the brand pays for the work done, it likewise challenges Faivre and his staff to take things to the following level. Where in many cases the actual brands immovably steer the course of their turns of events, Faivre shows Mazzocchi some groundbreaking thoughts that he had recently come up with during our visit.
It is an extraordinariness that such conversations even happen with a writer present, and considerably more uncommon when the two specialists don’t spare a moment to ask my opinion. This sort of close customer/maker cooperation implies that Purnell’s watches can be customized to the customer’s desires and highlight innovative specialized highlights and complications.
Faivre shows us the most breathtaking of these in the watchmakers’ atelier where every watchmaker is liable for assembling and regulating the whole movement.
Currently, Purnell sells and makes less than 100 watches per year. The distinction in that last sentence is significant: except for a couple of show models, the brand first sells each watch before making it.
I’m shown a crate containing five movements ready to be cased and conveyed to their new proprietors, with a 6th on the workbench. While they all dazzle, two stand apart as the titanium external cages of their round tourbillons are set with gemstones.
It isn’t just the setting of the stones that is incredibly troublesome here, yet additionally the way that the gemstones add weight, and that changes the material science. This implies that balancing the round tourbillon for ideal execution is challenging to say the least.
Quality control is something else. At the point when you spend near a large portion of 1,000,000 on a watch, you reserve each privilege to anticipate that it should perform greatly. Numerous collectors realize that with the increased complexity of a movement, reliability frequently declines. At Purnell, there is one ground rule to counter this: they take their time.
Early on in the turn of events, Purnell tests the movements under genuine conditions, aiming to recognize where something might go wrong and find arrangements. Be that as it may, quality control doesn’t stop there.
In pith, round tourbillons aside, the Purnell movement is a solid manual-wind caliber. It is the complex tourbillons that might mess up new watches, and Purnell has distinguished five wellsprings of potential issues.
As these potential issues are tended to by the watchmaker adjusting them, Purnell plays out a wearing test on every movement during which the newly collected round tourbillons are verified. By wearing the watch for about fourteen days, the watchmaker can detect any issues and change the tourbillons for ideal performance.
Contemplating future complication
The advantageous interaction that Purnell has with its accomplices likewise reaches out into the advancement of new watches. As the brand is about tourbillons, it comes as nothing unexpected that the following model will be fitted with one as well.
Answering my inquiry concerning whether it would just be a variant with considerably more circular tourbillons, Mazzocchi reacts that he doesn’t believe that this would be a suitable road to seek after, instead preferring to center elsewhere.
With a grin, he tests my attentiveness further as we show up at the second put on the excursion’s itinerary: near Neuchâtel, in the shadows of an amazing palace overlooking the lake, we visit the little workshop where the following section of Purnell will be written.
It is a mesmerizing atelier that, to the untrained eye, might resemble a current form of a chemist’s workshop. Here old artworks and strategies are as yet polished every day, utilizing machines that were practically completely made a long time before the watchmakers working on them were even born.
Mazzocchi shows me the new model that they are working on. While still being developed, with numerous subtleties still to be concluded, it is interesting to see that the improvement interaction isn’t absolutely design driven.
As the initial drawings are not unchangeable, this interaction is even more a consistent exchange in which the design components challenge the watchmakers and their answers inspire the designers to take it to the following level, and bad habit versa.
That this to and fro, an open and helpful discussion, wherein brand and providers both contribute, and even now and again a columnist can give his input, is a methodology that works has already been demonstrated by the Escape II Double Tourbillon.
And will without a doubt likewise be demonstrated by the following introduction, which is at this point not exactly completely determined.
For more information if it’s not too much trouble, visit purnellwatches.com/escape-II .
Quick Facts Purnell Escape II Double Tourbillon
Case: 48 x 19 mm, pink gold, forged carbon, or titanium
Movement: manual-wind Caliber CP03 with two round triple-pivot tourbillons with titanium cages (some set with precious stones), six mainsprings in four barrels, 3 Hz/21,600 vph recurrence, 32-hour power hold
Capacities: hours, minutes; power save
Value: starting at CHF 425,000
* Disclaimer: Purnell paid for the creator’s movement to the Swiss workshops.
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