Contemporary classicism : Creation of the Pendulette 15 jours, Part 2/2
The construction of the miniature clock takes about four months in terms of cumulative work time. The cutting operations are dispatched between local subcontractors and the diverse manufactories of the MHF (Manufactures Horlogères de la Fondation). Hence, the bridges, the plates, the crystal and the case's silver parts go back and forth in the magnificent Vallée of Fleurier, and in the nearby valleys.
The maximum integration of the means of production, Parmigiani Fleurier's stated priority, allows the production of such exceptional pieces. The metallic parts are first machined with diamond tools; then, they are partially decorated and undergo a series of surface treatments, especially with a new electrochemical polishing technology. We have to talk about the decoration, because the diverse exceptional works. The magnificent decorations on the bridges and the plates, such as the Côtes de Genève and the interior bevels, take several steps.
Even the seemingly straightforward finishes, such as the basic chamfers, are also quite complicated to carry out, for two reasons:
It is not only very difficult to make a perfect bevel on large surfaces, but this work takes a savoir-faire that is about to disappear. Only a skilled finisher with the adapted tools (boxwood grinding-wheels) can successfully complete this work.
Once the parts have been finished, the mighty power system can be assembled and tuned. In order to maintain an optimal level of quality, these steps are entirely accomplished by the same prototypist watchmaker, who will take more than one month to assemble and tune his Table Clock;
The assembling of the powerful barrel is a very tricky task: the strength of the gigantic barrel could easily fracture a hand. In order to render the piece safe, the movement has been fitted with a technology typical from the 19th century: The unwinding of the barrel is made progressive by a "Maltese cross" mechanism.
This device brings another advantage with this controlled power supply: It increases the table clock's chronometric performances. But it also allowed for the development of a new power reserve display: four "spider hands" overlap the barrel cylinder along two axes, thus making the power reserve visible from almost any angle. This design is paradoxical, because to get a power reserve display as simple as possible, Parmigiani Fleurier had to create a brand new patented system, a complex mechanism composed of no less than 13 parts.
To make the clock as accurate as possible, it is fitted with a power regulator with a hairspring. The most trained eyes will notice it, sitting at 3 o'clock from the main spring. This extra regulating device allows the piece and its classic architecture to reach contemporary chronometric performances.
Beyond the standard that this table clock represents, in terms of traditional finishes, and the exploit of making a classic architecture as accurate as state-of-the-art productions, there is the dial: A beautiful, simple and streamlined piece.