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Cecil Purnell – For the love of a Tourbillon

While most watch brands attempt to project themselves as a ‘complete’ brand with every kind of mechanism in their stable, Cecil Purnell has been daring enough to restrict itself to tourbillons only. Read on to know more about the brand, its owners, and the watches…

While most watch brands attempt to project themselves as a ‘complete’ brand with every kind of mechanism in their stable, Cecil Purnell has been daring enough to restrict itself to tourbillons only. Read on to know more about the brand, its owners, and the watches…

No. The watch brand Cecil Purnell is not named after the founder of the brand. Cecil Purnell was the grandfather of the founder – Mr Jonathan Purnell. Isn’t that a rarity? The founder’s name is usually the brand name! This single fact shows the amount of respect Mr Johnathan Purnell has for his craft and its pioneers.

At the age of eight, Mr Purnell, fascinated by his grandfather’s watchmaking skills, was already dismantling and reconstructing watches. Once he grew up and started working for well-known Swiss brands, Mr Purnell travelled the world for 30 years in search for knowledgeable watch fans, well-informed collectors and watch enthusiasts. His travels also served to deepen his knowledge and appreciation for mechanical timepieces. At the end of the 30 years, his address book contained names of prestigious families and men of power. Thus, he was ready to create an indelible mark on the world of haute horlogerie and set up his own dream which only consisted of tourbillons.

Mr Purnell was joined by Mr Stephane Valsamides who also has immense experience in the watch business. He has a charm for old-world craftsmanship and a strict rule of perfection. Together, the duo started the watch brand, Cecil Purnell (CP), in 2006.

Working on the three core philosophies of know-how, independence and commitment, CP truly believes that the tourbillon movement is and will remain the benchmark of watchmaking. Thus, the brand focuses only on this particular mechanism.

CP watches are limited edition and customizable on request. Incredibly, they produce only 50 watches per year, because, in their words, “Quantity is the enemy of quality”. They use their in-house developed calibers for the watches. Not to mention, their watches are absolutely top-notch in terms of design as well!

The Parade
Without wasting the precious time of our readers, we talk about CP’s five astounding creations, with each almost overshadowing the other! Classique 43 is a timeless beauty and will be recognized by most classic enthusiasts as something which they need to add to their collection. The dial design allows the owner to see deep down into the heart of the watch and admire it to heart’s content. Being a neutral size of 43mm, the watch is a good size for feminine wrists as well.

Built much like Classique 43, the 47 model by CP has a larger avant-garde feeling. The watch is being introduced in black PVD treated steel with microbillage finish. The 47 will soon be available in rose gold and white gold (150 Palladium). Palladium provides a unique glow to the gold and allows the colouring to maintain its youth.

Housing the CP Caliber 3008, the Hambergé, has a little more aggressive and sporty feel to it. The super-luminova dial has an opening at 6 o’clock again which gives a peep at the mechanism of the watch.

The Big Date watch by CP, on the other hand, seems like a treasure trove of gears and wheels. The careful construction of the case and dial allows for an optimal use of the ‘Big Date’ without making a mess of the watch – thus proving that technicalities can be presented aesthetically. The large date display mechanism is situated at 11 o’clock, with the date being adjustable by a pusher on the crown.

The La Croix is our personal favourite. CP has been inventive enough to move away from the usual round or rectangular watch dials and create the new broad-cross kind of shape. La Croix is available in rose or white gold. The complex five-axis case integrates a convex-cylindrical sapphire glass built in four parts. Another impressive feature of the dial that aesthetes will appreciate is the indices whose corners are floating.

Watchmaking is not just about creating a functioning timepiece. It’s also about inventing constantly. By focusing on tourbillons only, Cecil Purnell has created its niche in the large and competitive ocean of Swiss watch brands. Its presence is only set to get bigger!

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