PURNELL: Escape II Absolute Sapphire

For me, one of the interesting things brought about by the 2021 Digital Watch and Miracle Show is Purnell’s news Q&A session. Although I know them, I have very little knowledge, and I have not exceeded these limits, and I have no chance to see their watches. It is always interesting to understand the brand, but it will increase interest when it is a small brand that is unlikely to cross with it, so today’s post is both about the introduction of the brand and about this unique work is a key part of the speech.

As they clearly pointed out, Purnell is about tourbillons. About trying to be different from them, but also about becoming a small brand. By 2021, they are expected to have fewer than 100; last year it was a mid-to-high double-digit number.

In the speech, CEO Maurizio Mazzocchi summed up the brand’s vision in three words.

First of all-“sports”. He explained that for him, “movement is emotion”, it represents not only the life of the organism, but also the movement of watchmaking, and the tourbillon is the key to Purnell.

The second word is “simple”. This seems to be a bit contradictory to the whole “tourbillon” theme, because the complexity of the watch is for a reason, but what he means is that the watch should be easy for the customer, that is, easy to read, easy to use, easy to wind, easy to carry and take care of . So the watch is still complicated, but the user experience should be the opposite.

The last sentence is about “contemporary”. The brand is very young and does not have a long history or heritage for them to refer to, so they want to focus on making movements with new features and try to do something different.

Their watches are made in Vallée de Joux, and Purnell has a showroom on Rue du Rhône in Geneva. The key figure in the professional/focused Spherion three-axis tourbillon movement is the watchmaker and famous movement developer Eric Coudray (TEC Ebauches), whom we mentioned in his work for another watch last year. He played an important role in various watches such as MB&F’s Legacy Machine Thunderdome and HYT’s H5 series. He also worked in Jaeger-LeCoultre for 20 years and supported Master Gyroutourbillon (2004).

The three-axis Spherion is located at the front and center of the Purnell Escape II Absolute Sapphire. The inner cage rotates every 8 seconds, the middle cage rotates every 16 seconds, and the outer cage rotates every 30 seconds. This high speed is achieved by a special escapement patented by watchmaker Albert H. Potter in the late 19th century-the escapement runs on the inside of the escape wheel. Two spheres rotating in opposite directions regulate this work.

Because the watchmaker behind these two three-axis tourbillons is the same watchmaker, it is important to pay attention to Legacy Machine Thunderdome. Launched in 2019, it is the world’s fastest multi-axis “TriAx” tourbillon, with a turntable on the outer frame, and a dual-frame configuration for three axes, rotating at speeds of 8, 12, and 20 seconds. It also uses a Porter escapement with a fixed escape wheel in the three-axis rotating mechanism.

We usually talk about how light the tourbillon frame is, but the Escape II Absolute Sapphire is the opposite—they are blue titanium, and the Spherion’s outer frame is inlaid with 152 brilliant-cut diamonds. Given that this is the (first) dual three-axis tourbillon, yes, there are 152 diamonds on each outer frame. The total weight of Spherion is 0.831g.

Driving these two heavy, high-speed Spherions with 304 diamonds obviously requires more power. The movement is manually wound CP03, the vibration frequency is 21,600 VPH, and the power reserve is 32 hours. There are six mainsprings in the four parallel barrels, arranged in two stacks. Each of these barrel columns has a cover with embossed phrases describing Purnell’s philosophy (and mentioning Eric Coudray), a feature that may sound familiar.

As the name suggests, the 48 mm case is made of a single piece of transparent sapphire, and is made in Switzerland. The sapphire dial is set with 11 rectangular-cut blue sapphires as hour markers (1.04 carats) and blue hands. It comes with a matching transparent strap and grade 5 titanium buckle.

This is a highly technical work, but it is also very luxurious visually. If you want to see more of Purnell’s chess pieces, go to their website here. You will find that this combination of Spherion and modern materials and appearance is the key to the brand identity. The introduction of the brand and model obviously aroused my interest, enough to write it down, but when international travel becomes possible again and I hope I will find myself in Geneva again, I will try to see “in metal”. top quality watches