The Cecil Purnell brand was born in 2006 following a meeting between two men with a passion for Fine Watchmaking, Jonathan Purnell and Stéphane Valsamides. Both had extensive experience in selling exceptional pieces. The name Cecil Purnell was adopted in honour of Jonathan’s grandfather, a French watchmaker who moved to Besançon at the beginning of the 20th century and made sure he transmitted his passion for complex watchmaking mechanisms to his heirs. In his opinion and that of the founders of the brand named after him and which is now Swiss, “the Tourbillon movement is an absolute reference in terms of know-how. The choice of a tourbillon watch is part of a way of life, a refined luxury that only experienced connoisseurs can grasp and understand.” It was this fact that led Cecil Purnell to devote his life to the creation of tourbillons and this is currently the only brand to focus exclusively on this horological complication. Its every act is rooted in the deepest respect for tradition, with very high quality standards and annual production limited to around 50 watches.
A collection in five parts
The entire collection is grounded on the in-house CP3888 calibre, which forms the basis of the five movements (from V11 to V15) developed to date. It beats at a frequency of 21,600 vph (3 Hz) and its tourbillon is positioned between two bridges to ensure optimal precision.
The first born of the Cecil Purnell watches is daring in the extreme and christened Lacroix in reference to the cruciate shape of its case. It set the overall tone that has been reprised in most of the ensuing creations, while offering a transparent view of the movement. The purpose is to reveal the sophistication of the mechanisms and the beauty of the entirely hand-crafted finishes. Equipped with a CP-V11 movement driving displays of the hours and minutes, since last year, it has existed in a feminine version with an amazing floral dial in translucent green enamel that renders the mechanics more mysterious.
The CP-V12 movement drives a collection that is clearly sporty – the Pit Lane – and adds a large date display adjusted via a crown-integrated pushbutton.
The classic Rendez-vous line houses the CP-V13, CP-V14 and brand-new CP-V15 movements. The first chimes on the hour, between one and four times according to the wishes of the user. This exceptional calibre is also the focus of the Mirage edition, housed in a completely sapphire case that displays the mechanism in its entirety.
The CP-14 is a regulator with a clear display of the hours, minutes and seconds. The Rendez-vous thus has a more traditional face, with an anodized blue titanium base and raised subdials that conceal the interior of the watch more than is customary for this brand.
The latter trend is even more apparent in the 2014 Rendez-vous. The dial looks completely classical and with good reason, since it showcases the performances of the high-precision CP-V15 Double Tourbillon movement. Cecil Purnell thereby joins the circle of rare watchmakers capable of such impressive mastery.