PURNELL, a (double) tourbillon blows through the fine watchmaking industry
Since its creation, Purnell has restricted itself to very confidential distributions. However, this British brand has joined the circle of well-known high-end watch companies gathered within the framework of the Watches & Wonders exhibition (formerly SIHH) this year. Although this year is virtual, the epidemic is imminent, but this edition has not lived up to its promise, and we were able to discover the very unique Purnell house. His particularity? It can only create whirlpools, but what whirlpool is this! With dual Spherion, a three-axis dual tourbillon, and an astonishing 8 second rotation speed, Purnell once again reinvented the most iconic horological complication, Escape Treasure, with Escape II and its gem-set version. Meet with Maurizio Mazzocchi, CEO and co-owner of Purnell House.
Since 2006, the brand founded by Cecil Purnell has focused on a very precise and very unique field, namely the tourbillon. We often talk about family stories in the watchmaking world. The history of the brand founded by Jonathan Purnell is once again attributed to the family tradition. It all started in France during the First World War. Cecil Purnell, a young British soldier, fought on French soil. After being injured, he found himself in a wheelchair. This is the beginning of everything. “He was assigned to Besançon to work in watchmaking, where he became a watchmaker,” said Murizion Mazzocchi, the company’s co-owner and CEO. He has been like this all his life. He started a family in Australia. Jonathan often spends holidays with his grandfather. His grandfather talks to him about watchmaking.” It’s easy to imagine this little boy being attracted by this grandfather’s passion story. For him, the tourbillon will always be the best. Beautiful clock complications. “It stayed in his memory. When he wanted to create his own brand, he promised to manufacture tourbillons exclusively.” In 2006, a childhood dream, almost a promise, became a reality. Jonathan Purnell was in a very unique environment His extraordinary timepieces are almost sold by word of mouth among friends. With the invention of Spherion by in-house master watchmaker Eric Coudray, everything will change. He promised to make tourbillons exclusively.” In 2006, a childhood dream, almost a promise, became a reality. Jonathan Purnell operates in a very unique environment, and his extraordinary timepieces are almost sold by word of mouth among friends. With the invention of Spherion by in-house watchmaker Eric Coudray, everything will change. He promised to make tourbillons”. In 2006, a childhood dream, almost a promise, became a reality. Jonathan Purnell operates in a very unique environment and his extraordinary timepieces are almost It is sold by word of mouth among friends. With the invention of Spherion by the in-house watchmaker Eric Coudray, everything will change. watches on discount
“The trigger is Spherion” continues Maurizzio Mazzocchi. According to Jonathan Purnell’s brief introduction, Eric Coudray has developed an absolutely unique three-axis system-a world first. Since the Spherion era in 2017, the brand has been widely known on social networks, and collectors and watch lovers have discovered this gold nugget. We decided with Jonathan Purnell that in addition to being tailor-made and very confidential, it is possible to do something. The “6-digit” watch market has exploded.” Maurizio Mazzocchi knows the market very well. As the former CEO of Jacob & CO, he was attracted by Jonathan Purnell’s story and products. “This product really has something to say. What I like most is that it is exclusivity in exclusivity, and price is not exclusivity.
The most complex and fastest tourbillon in the world
We know that Eric Coudray (already) invented the tourbillon for Jaeger-LeCoultre. But Spherion further promotes the complexity of the technology. “The tourbillon was invented by Breguet on the axis. This is a three-axis tourbillon, not a tourbillon anymore. It goes farther and faster than a multi-axis tourbillon,” Maurizzio Mazzocchi explained. “We have the will to push the whirlwind. We will seek extremes and do things that anyone has never done before.” A technical feat, because the ultimate performance must withstand daily use. “It’s like an F1 car running at 300 km/h, but it runs 365 days a year,” the manager concluded, and he still appreciates the performance. “Its speed is 3 times faster than a vortex that rotates rapidly in 30 seconds. Ours rotates in 8 seconds.”
Passionate about escapement and tourbillon experts, Eric Coudray made it a work of art, an aesthetic expression. Because the usefulness of this thing is still theoretical, because as Maurizzio Mazzocchi admits, there is no indication that “this is high aerobatics. It is the fastest in the world, and it may be the most accurate.” The goal is to have a very strong visual experience, which is purely artistic. It is fascinating to watch these two tourbillons work, one tourbillon is still alive, but we are in another dimension. We never get tired of looking at her. It’s fascinating, we see the passing of time.” PURNELL ESCAPE II ABSOLUTE SAPPHIRE
The company is located in Vallée de Joux, has 16 employees and produces 50 to 60 watches a year. There are only two watchmakers in the world that can assemble a dual Spherion: one or two movements are produced per month, which requires a little wait. “It’s not that we want to limit, but that we can’t do more,” Maurizio Mazzocchi continued. “We make special pieces, and the cages are colored on demand.” Whether you want to match them with the color of your car, or wear the colors of your university, every time it is a unique watch, it fits perfectly The DNA of the brand. “More than 80% are unique pieces. It is tailor-made and we like it”. If the price of tutoie uu watches exceeds 6 digits, this approach is not arrogant. “This is a completely crazy purchase, Maurizio Mazzocchi admits. Our customers have one thing in common, they bring themselves personal pleasure. This is not a symbolic status. For us, fine watchmaking is not an industry. , But craftsmanship.”
Is there still room for the ultra-luxury market?
Many niche brands have poured into the high-end watchmaking market to compete in creativity to attract watches worth more than one million euros. People may think that this market is saturated, and leader Purnell does not agree with this view. “Many offers speak the same language. Few brands stand out. It seems that in a city, all restaurants have the same menu. My goal is to find a niche market. When I hear a brand, I must understand the product, Brand and know-how”.
Purnell’s promise is clear: “This is not modern watchmaking, this is an updated history of watchmaking, according to the brand, it’s ‘more future than the past’”. Whether it’s a tourbillon or a lateral cone power reserve for nautical watches, Purnell is part of tradition… and transforms it into a very modern world, like this carbon fiber case, “very stylish”, only 80 gram.
For Purnell, women are the future of watchmaking, and the brand has not hesitated to get rid of the very conservative approach of making ladies’ watches have a poor relationship with watchmaking. Here, women have the right to ride a machine, and for them, Escape II Treasure is a double Spherion studded with diamonds. 152 is precisely embedded in the titanium frame of the tourbillon. Needless to say, this is another feat. “We showed a double Spherion with a curly bridge, which is another step. We had to design the bridge into a dome shape to maintain a weight of 0.8 grams. It had to be set with 152 diamonds, which is very complicated because titanium tends to It will restore its shape. When we use titanium micromachines, it is very complicated. A cage represents six weeks of work.”