I further applaud Parmigiani’s focus on symmetry on the dial. In addition to indicating the time (sans seconds, unfortunately), the Parmigiani Ovale Pantographe dial indicates the date and power reserve. For me, the latter complication is extremely important given that the movement is manually wound… and because it has a long power reserve of 192 hours. I’ll point out that while I am not typically a fan of “open” date windows, this particular design doesn’t bother me, and here actually lends to a more harmonious sense of symmetry on the dial.
There is a lot I want to say about the Ovale case, but first let’s discuss the movement. Inside the Parmigiani Ovale Pantographe is the in-house-made Parmigiani caliber PF 111 manually wound movement that operates at 3Hz (21,600bph) with 8 days (192 hours) of power reserve. Visually, the movement bears all the hallmarks of a finely finished Swiss movement that Parmigiani is known to excel at. With that said, the movement is mostly subtle, offering minor decorative elements such as exaggerated crests for the jewels at the end of bridges with rich amounts of Geneva stripes going diagonally across the movement. Note the use of a swan neck fine adjustment system on the balance cock offering further ability to tweak the accuracy of the movement. I am not sure if the Parmigiani Ovale Pantographe would win any chronometry contests given the weight and power requirements of the hands, but in my review it fared quite well in that area.
The Pantrographe complication might be the reason that this particular watch is on the map, but I want to talk about something equally nice which is the Parmigiani Ovale case. Let me begin with the premise that producing any non-round case that looks nice is very (very) difficult to do. While there are some noted success stories, think of how many non-round watches are classics… fewer than round ones. When it comes to oval cases, there simply aren’t many out there, but if the Parmigiani Ovale has anything to say about it there should be more.
I utterly fell in love with how the Ovale case looked on my wrist. The overall shape as well as the many minor details make it something truly special. For example, if you look at the case from the bottom side, you’ll notice that the entire case curves inward a bit as a slight dip. This is, of course, mirrored in the sapphire crystal that also curves just a bit. I’m actually not sure why this is, but the result is an excellent display free from glare at most angles and a devilishly good look on the wrist.
If anything, I would call the Ovale case “elegant.” It isn’t hyper-masculine, but it isn’t feminine either. The proportions are excellent and the hallmark “teardrop” lugs used on other Parmigiani cases seem to have never worked better. Of course, the Parmigiani Ovale also has a look to it which immediately sets it apart from other watches – adding to that important sense of unique identity luxury brands so crave. The idea is that people “in the know” should be able to immediately recognize the company who produced your watch even if they can’t see the dial. Of course, the Parmigiani Ovale isn’t a timepiece you are going to see on wrists regularly, but it also isn’t a design that you’ll easily confuse with anything else.
A successful watch case design means that it not only looks good in the abstract, but it compliments the person wearing it. The organic curves of the watch mix effortlessly with the natural curves on one’s wrist, and the elegant proportions enhance the wearer as much as they compliment the design of the timepiece. I’m really not trying to “sell” the Ovale too much, but I felt genuinely enthusiastic from the first time I put it on, and that feeling hasn’t wavered. Parmigiani should know that they made at least one wearer very happy with the design of the Ovale case, and that it is married to the Pantographe telescopic hands complication makes it not just a pretty watch, but a watch-lover’s watch at that. Price for the Parmigiani Ovale Pantographe in 18k rose or white gold is $55,000 USD. parmigiani.ch
>Model: Ovale Pantographe
>Price: $55,000 USD
>Size: 37.6mm wide, 45mm tall, 12mm thick
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Dress watch lover looking for a high-end complication that anyone can enjoy (and understand), in a timepiece that is both unique and aesthetically very refined.
>Best characteristic of watch: Double success in both excellent case design as well as execution of the telescopic hands. Operation that is simple to appreciate makes for a likely classic in the future (as well as potential collector’s item).
>Worst characteristic of watch: At times, the hour and minute hand are difficult to tell apart making reading the time occasionally hard. Still a high price despite the obvious complexity and exclusivity of the mechanism.