Complications are a way of life for Parmigiani, yet they will never bother you with it unless it is absolutely necessary to do so. Their seemingly serene dials hide a technical complexity that is often mind boggling, especially when you realize that it is combined with a finishing that is second to none. Yet while a watch like the Parmigiani Toric Résonance 3 hiding its true complexity from the casual observer, the new Tecnica Ombre Blanche is much more straight forward.

PFH466.1002400First and foremost, this is thanks to the fact that the Tecnica Ombre Blance features a perpetual calendar, which is most effective when it is actually displayed in full. Parmigiani choose the classical solution where three subdials show the month, day and date, with a small display in month subdial to indicate the leap year. Where often the moonphase display can be found on a perpetual calendar, there isn’t any on the Tecnica Ombre Blanche. Instead Parmigiani delight us with a tourbillon. Again, they chose the classical way by opting for a tourbillon with a bridge instead of a flying tourbillon. This is not so much a matter of skill, since Parmigiani are perfectly capable of crafting a flying tourbillon, but more one of taste. Visually it also offers a very appetizing display in which the constant motion of the tourbillion seems to power the spheres that display the perpetual calendar.

Visually appetizing is also the rest of the dial. Since Parmigiani opted for a large, 45mm case, there is actually room to display all twelve Arabic numerals around the edge of the dial, which amplifies the visual impact, and seem to act as an halo surrounding the perpetual calendar and tourbillon. For those of you who think this is all there is to this watch, think again. The dial is actually made from Grand Feu enamel and keen observers would have noticed the second hand in the date subdial of the perpetual calendar. This is the power reserve indicator. Hidden in plain sight it is actual a valuable addition to the complications. Since the watch is a manual wind and a perpetual calendar, it is recommended to keep it running in order to avoid having to reset its functions.

Parmigiani-Fleurier-Tecnica-Ombre-Blanche-1Yet that it not all. Parmigiani really set out to create a Grande Complication, and therefore the Tecnica Ombre Blanche is also fitted with a minute repeater which features two cathedral gongs. Here it is also where Parmigiani departs from tradition, because the minute repeater is not activated by the traditional lever on the side of the case, but by actually turning the bezel of the watch a quarter turn clockwise. A nifty solution that actually makes the minute repeater complication a “hidden” feature to be enjoyed by its owner when he pleases.

As said, with a diameter of 45mm the Tecnica Ombre Blanche is not a small watch, but Parmigiani has succeeded in making it a relatively slim watch. The movement only has a height of 7.7mm, which is quite thin for a watch that houses a perpetual calendar, tourbillon and minute repeater. This also allowed Parmigiani to make the overall height of the watch 13mm, with the movement safely enclosed in its rose gold case, which is actually waterproof. This sounds as something that comes natural in a world where most watches are waterproof, yet when it comes to Grande Complications this is not the standard. Of course it doesn’t turn the Tecnica Ombre Blanche into a bonafide divers watch, but it will add some degree of protection against moisture and dust, which given the tremendous effort that went into crafting this exquisite watch is a comforting feeling.

Martin Green
Eclectic taste in Haute Horlogerie, passion for diamond set watches, loves the classics

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