THE BEAT GOES ON - PERSHING CBF
Angus Davies provides an in-depth review of the Parmigiani Fleurier Pershing Chronograph 005 CBF. This brightly coloured watch wonderfully captures the vitality and excitement of the South American nation of Brazil.
A few weeks ago the eye’s of the world were focused on the South American country of Brazil. This nation staged the 2014 Fifa World Cup and, contrary to some negative press coverage beforehand, it did a splendid job of hosting the event.
Brazil is a nation imbued with life, where passions are openly shared and vivacious ladies dance to the sound of samba. Part of the charm of this fast-growing economy is the character of the people who embrace life with gusto. At the heart of this country's make-up is a near religious adoration for football. “The beautiful game” unifies the nation and the national team’s football skill and playing style has always been exciting to watch.
In 2011, Parmigiani Fleurier signed a partnership with the Confederação Brasileira de Futebol (CBF), making them the “Official Watchmaking Partner” of the national team. The brand subsequently marked this agreement with the release of two new models, the Transforma CBF and the Pershing CBF. The latter model is available in three variants, the Pershing Chronograph 002 CBF for ladies and a larger cased model, the Pershing Chronograph 005 CBF with a choice of a white gold or a red gold bezel.
The World Cup had concluded as I recently strolled along London’s Mount Street heading towards the L’Atelier Parmigiani. This sumptuously appointed boutique has become a regular haunt for me, a self-confessed watch fanatic.
Perusing the brightly lit display cabinets, my eyes were drawn to a large chronograph with a vibrant yellow rubber strap, the Parmigiani Fleurier Pershing Chronograph 005 CBF. The boutique had another version with a rose gold bezel sporting a Hermès abyss blue alligator strap, presented on a steel deployant, but the chronograph, fitted with the yellow strap ensnared me with its colourful appearance.
As well as offering a standard fit dark blue leather strap, Parmigiani Fleurier offer additional straps in yellow, blue, green and white rubber, each adorned with the CBF crest and the word “Brasil”. They faithfully capture the colours of the South American nation’s flag, but also provide a dose of fun with their arresting hues.
Captivated by the unusual, yet highly attractive, mien of this watch I asked if I could have a closer look and spend some time with the model in the atelier’s comfortable lounge-like area downstairs.
The dial is delivered in a mid-blue and features Côtes de Genève motif, running north to south along its face. This charming motif is often reserved for the decoration of high-end movements, however, in this instance it acts as a reminder that beating within the watch is the Calibre PF334, an in-house movement of the finest order.
The blue shade is complemented with white, yellow and green on various aspects of the dial, again representing the colours of the Brazilian flag.
Large Delta-shaped hands indicate the hours and minutes. They are lined with luminous coating providing ease of read-off. The hour markings match the bezel material comprise of triangular shaped batons in combination with Arabic numerals. Interestingly, the Arabic numerals feature an ultra-modern font which is repeated on the rotating unidirectional bezel.
At 3 o’ clock, a small seconds display is located. It is framed with five green stars which reference those featuring above the CBF crest to denote the number of world cups won by the national team.
Two snailed chronograph registers dominate the dial. They are white and feature green Arabic numerals along with yellow hands to convey the elapsed time. A 12-hour chronograph counter resides at 6 o’clock, featuring an elongated aperture that reveals the date. Positioned at 9 o’clock is a 30-minute chronograph counter, sharing the same colour scheme as the adjacent register. The two subdials are framed with silver coloured circlets which interface to form a skewed figure of eight. The resultant outcome is an interesting aesthetic, which by successfully using the silver coloured borders, further differentiates the subdials from the main dial canvas and, by default, enhances the ease of interpretation.
A bright yellow central chronograph seconds hand moves in ¼ second steps, in line with the frequency of the movement (4Hz), but unfortunately the scale only shows one second integers on the chapter ring encircling the dial. However, this is only a minor criticism and arguably to have added additional intervening markings could have adversely cluttered the dial.
A tachymeter scale is depicted on an inner flange with a bright yellow circle traversing the dial, save for periodic interruption by Arabic numerals. This latter detail is both useful, offering much eye-appeal and, with the colours employed, helps to provide a cohesive and harmonious design language.
Parmigiani Fleurier has a diverse collection of models within its range, offering something for everyone. The Tonda 1950 is the epitome of tasteful elegance and restraint, whereas the Bugatti Super Sport exhibits an avant-garde, thought provoking design. In my opinion, the Pershing Chronograph 005 CBF is an overtly masculine watch with generous proportions. Measuring 45mm in diameter and with a case height of 14.2mm, this watch conveys confidence and a sporty temperament.
Its dimensions and character will not appeal to all. However, with an extensive choice of models, I suspect there are other timepieces which could readily tempt the visitor to L’Atelier to part with their money. I adore the Pershing Chronograph 005 CBF and particularly the white gold bezel version, preferring it over its sibling sporting the rose gold bezel. The collection of colours of my preferred watch seem a tad more conservative and the overall composition seems a little more harmonious. Needless to say, this is very much about personal taste rather than any inherent deficiency in the specification of the model featuring a rose gold bezel.
The case is made of titanium and features many polished surfaces. The combination of white gold and titanium works very well and delivers subtle contrast.
Articulated lugs are part of the Parmigiani Fleurier DNA and feature on this model. They contribute to a comfortable fit with their downward trajectory guiding the strap around the wrist. The push-pieces gracing the right hand flank of the case are oval shaped and are integrated into the lugs. They have a stylish appearance and confer a pleasing action when pressed.
The crown has a charming crimped motif to its surface which proves highly functional when setting the time or winding the watch.
Gracing the rear of the watch is an engraved case back depicting the CBF crest in relief. The case back is held in position with eight retaining screws.
The PF334 is a self-winding chronograph Manufacture movement and is a shining example of vertical integration. Parmigiani Fleurier has a profound in-house ability, making every element of its watches save for the sapphire crystal, rubies and strap. Moreover, this maison is a shining exemplar of haute horlogerie with an impressive array of skills within its organisation.
In some respects it is sad that the solid case back does not allow the wearer to see the inner beauty of this watch as the Calibre PF334 is stunning. The bridges are decorated with Côtes de Genève motif and the edges are bevelled to an exalted standard. The finissage is beyond reproach and manifestly illustrates the peerless perfection practised by the maison.
The movement has a frequency of 28,800 vph (4Hz), contains 68 jewels and consists of 303 components. Two series-coupled spring barrels deliver a power reserve of 50 hours.
The Brazilian nation appeared to be in a state of ubiquitous mourning as it suffered defeat in the semi-finals when it played Germany. However, setting aside this disappointment, Brazil has much to celebrate with strong economic growth and the honour of staging the Rio Olympics in 2016. Indeed, it is no surprise that there is a widespread thirst for life in this glamorous country, where the carnival atmosphere is prevalent and the people dance to a samba beat.
Parmigiani has wonderfully captured the vitality of this nation with the Pershing Chronograph 005 CBF with its playful and, in my opinion, successful use of several vibrant shades. Indeed, this is a very appealing watch exhibiting a visually exciting aesthetic. The 2014 Fifa World Cup may now have ended, but thanks to Parmigiani Fleurier, the beat goes on.
- Model: Parmigiani Fleurier Pershing Chronograph 005 CBF
- Ref: PFC528-3402500-HA3142
- Case: Titanium / 18-carat white gold bezel; diameter 45.00 mm; height 14.20 mm; sapphire crystal to front and sold engraved case back.
- Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; date; chronograph.
- Movement: Calibre PF334, self-winding movement; frequency 28,800 vph (4Hz); 68 jewels; power reserve 50 hours; 303 components.
- Bracelet: Indigo blue Hermès alligator leather strap presented on a steel deployant with a choice of additional rubber straps also available.