Purnell luxury. You may not know but need the brand. Since October 2019, the brand has been called “Cecil Purnell” by connoisseurs of privilege, and together with Maurizio Mazzocchi has assumed the new direction of C.E.O, responsible for developing the brand outside the circle of private collectors.
Purnell was informally established during World War I when Cecil Purnell, the brand’s namesake, was injured on the battlefield. During the recovery process, he taught himself watchmaking, and then became fascinated by Abraham-Louis Breguet and his patent in 1801: the tourbillon. Cecil Purnell was an amateur watchmaker for the rest of his life. He instilled the passion of the tourbillon to his grandson Jonathan Purnell, who was in Watching his grandfather enthusiastically during work. Cecil Purnell has always emphasized that the tourbillon is a sophisticated mechanism, so Jonathan also has a deep respect for it.
Jonathan Purnell started his career in the watch trade in 1977. In 2006, Purnell decided to follow his dream, and together with industry professionals Stéphane Valsamides established Cecil Purnell SA (hereinafter referred to as Purnell) in the Swiss Jura mountains to commend his dream. Grandfather and his beloved tourbillon. Since the beginning of the brand, every watch includes a tourbillon, which is still Purnell’s driving concept. After three years of development, in 2009, Purnell launched the first completely self-developed movement CP3000, and transferred the company’s business to Geneva, Switzerland.
In the past 15 years, Purnell has manufactured 13 tourbillon movements, sold more than 700 timepieces, and won numerous awards and honors in the process. Fate is destined, Purnell started working with Eric Coudray in 2016, and Eric Coudray is known for his work on Jaeger-LeCoultre’s first tourbillon watch. Through this partnership, one of the fastest three-axis tourbillons in the world (Kudrey himself named it “Spherion”) was born, followed by Purnell Escape I in 2017.
In 2019, the first Escape II prototype watch is ready, which is the successor to Escape I, and its Spherions doubled. This year, this watch will be launched globally. Here, we take a look at one of the most impressive tourbillon watches of all time and offer you our thoughts-this is Purnell Escape II.
Case, dial and hands
The case of the new Purnell Escape II is currently available in three different materials: 18K rose gold, grade 5 titanium and black DLC coated grade 5 titanium. It has a diameter of up to 48 mm and a thickness of 19 mm. Escape II is obviously not a watch that you can (or hope to) slide under the skirt sleeves. According to Jonathan Purnell (Jonathan Purnell), the design of the case was inspired by the Roman Colosseum, with arches on the sides/lugs, high walls and concentric shapes. The specially shaped crystal allows the owner to watch the double tourbillon unhindered. It is made of a single crystal; it took Purnell a year and a half to develop. There is also a small window at 9 o’clock on the case to provide greater visibility of movement.
Thanks to the special sapphire crystal glass, the bottom cover of the display shelf and the window at 9 o’clock, Spherions can be viewed from almost every angle.
There is little to say about the dial, because it is mostly hollow. All that is left is the hour and minute subdial and the power reserve display. The hour, minute, and power reserve marks are simple in design and easy to print; however, they can be customized according to the colors required by the customer. The arrow-shaped pointers used for time and power reserve display have also been hollowed out so that there are fewer obstacles to movement. In terms of legibility, Escape II does not score very well-no surprise. In other words, not bad, because there are more used watches for sale that are much less readable.
And this involves the dial and hands. The rest of the view through the sapphire crystal is actually a skeleton movement called Spherions, which is dominated by the dual three-axis tourbillon at 6 o’clock.
Driving the Escape II is a CP03 with 386 parts and 67 jewels. The movement runs at a beat speed of 3 Hz and the expected average power reserve is less than 32 hours. Why expect? Because there is not one, but only two power-consuming Spherions can be fed into the movement.
So what are these Spherions? In short, Spherion is a high-speed three-axis tourbillon. It consists of three titanium alloy cages: the inner cage with the balance wheel rotates every 8 seconds, the auxiliary cage rotates every 16 seconds, and the outer cage only rotates for 30 seconds. A single Spherion weighs less than 0.8 g. Having two Spherions in Escape II instead of one in Escape I is not only a repetitive process, but also requires a new movement. Thanks to the clever differential system, the two cages rotate synchronously, but in opposite directions. As we mentioned earlier, Spherion’s energy flow regulation is undoubtedly a challenge because its unique mechanism requires a lot of power. The movement has six springs, which are assembled in four parallel barrels, four of which are overlapped in two barrels.
The CP03 movement can be seen through the sapphire crystal case back.
Interestingly, the Caliber CP03 movement utilizes the rare Porter escapement, which was abandoned in the 1950s due to low production efficiency. Porter escapement can increase the speed while maintaining accuracy. It is true that it is great to see the old escapement in today’s watchmaking industry reborn, not just nostalgia.
The exquisite functions of the CP03 movement left a deep impression. It is worth noting the brightly colored cages of the two Spherions. According to Purnell, customers can customize them in a variety of ways, including anodizing, hydrographic methods, and painting. There are also two visible lids, both of which are engraved with Purnell’s watchmaking philosophy, which is reminiscent of what Greubel Forsey did in the past. The CP03 movement also has a skeleton, so not only does it weigh only 15.7 grams, but it also looks very modern, very suitable for a movement equipped with two fast three-axis tourbillons.
There are no two solutions-Purnell Escape II is one of the coolest tourbillon-themed watches to date. Based purely on appearance, with an eye-catching outer cage similar to a death globe (think of the infamous motorcycle circus/carnival stunt), Spherion deserves all its worship. Of course, the mechanical performance of the Calibre CP03 movement is even more impressive. Indeed, when it comes to multi-axis tourbillons, you can always rely on Eric Coudray to deliver. The fact that there are two high-speed three-axis tourbillons spinning in the watch cannot be taken lightly. This is a watchmaking art, which looks very interesting.
Now that tourbillon watches tend to hold a high premium on the market (whether this statement is reasonable or not is another day’s story), you can bet that the avant-garde Escape II with two novel Spherions will not be cheap.
Despite its large size, the Purnell Escape II’s wrist is not clumsy due to the short, downward lugs.
Until the end of this year, Spherion is indeed the fastest three-axis tourbillon available. The interesting thing happened in December last year when MB&F launched Thunderdome, a watch equipped with a faster three-axis tourbillon, designed by Eric Coudray, you guessed it. When the cage of Spherion rotates at 8 s / 16 s / 30 s, in MB&F Thunderdome, the cage of its three-axis tourbillon rotates at 8 s / 12 s / 20 s. Kari Voutilainen (Kari Voutilainen) himself is also the co-designer of the watch. Obviously, his contributions include the hollow dial and movement. The result of this All-Star cooperation is a truly spectacular, super-excellent three-axis tourbillon watch, which has been universally recognized by the press and all walks of life.
MB&F Thunderdome will be released in December and will be a big success in 2019.
If spinning the “ball of death” is not enough to satisfy your hunger pangs, then Jacob and the Twin Turbo Fury have nothing more. At first glance, the watch is reminiscent of Purnell Escape II: both watches are equipped with two three-axis tourbillons at 6 o’clock, both watches display the hours and minutes, and both watches are designed with “windows” in them. At 6 o’clock, you can enjoy the unobstructed view of the tourbillon. After careful inspection, people will find that these two watches are completely different. One of them is that the rotation speed of the tourbillon cage of Twin Turbo Furious on the three axes is 24 seconds, 8 seconds and 30 seconds. This means that they do not consume so much energy, nor do they give the observer as much visual stimulation as possible. However, it seems to make up for this. Twin Turbo Furious is not only equipped with any minute repeater, but also a decimal point. In order to achieve good results, the JCFM05 movement that drives the watch is also equipped with a single-button chronograph.
Winding Twin Turbo Furious involves turning the crank on the left wing of the case.
Purnell Escape II swiss may no longer have the fastest three-axis tourbillon, but it is still the watch with the fastest dual three-axis tourbillon. This is not an achievement worth ridiculing. Synchronizing two high-speed Spherions is not only a challenge, but also requires some skills to provide enough energy for the agency. The aesthetic effect of Escape II is also satisfactory. Spherion is indeed the best-looking multi-axis tourbillon on the market. It will be interesting to see where Purnell goes from here. Will they continue to buy Spherions? How will they solve the energy needs of this movement? Will they propose a new type of tourbillon? These are questions that only tourbillon manufacturers can answer-Purnell.