2024 heralds the advent of the Year of the Wood Dragon, a symbol of strength and grandeur in Chinese culture. Parmigiani Fleurier commemorates this auspicious occasion with a splendid restoration of a masterpiece from its Métiers d’Art collection – the Tempus Fugit. This exceptional creation intricately weaves together Haute Horlogerie, art mechanics, and the profound symbolism of the Dragon and the Pearl of Knowledge.
The Tempus Fugit, inspired by the legend of the Dragon and the Pearl of Knowledge, stands as a testament to Parmigiani Fleurier’s expertise in restoring antique clocks. Rooted in traditional Chinese culture, the dragon swimming with a pearl, the carp leaping over the Dragon Gate, and the Dragon Emperor pursuing the Pearl of Wisdom are all encapsulated in this unique timepiece.
The dragon’s journey from a carp symbolizes perseverance, with the pearl representing imperial wisdom. This inseparable duo signifies social ascension, power, wisdom, and protection against negative influences. Swiss sinology expert Estelle Niklès van Osselt delves into the origins, revealing the legend of the carp’s transformation into a dragon at the Dragon Gate, echoing the parable of a student’s journey to serve the emperor.
Central to Chinese culture is the significance of the number nine, reflected in the Imperial Dragon’s composition. Parmigiani Fleurier’s rendition incorporates body parts from nine animals, each contributing to the dragon’s majestic form. The dragon’s unique features, including a nose resembling a mushroom, a symbol of good luck, showcase the brand’s attention to detail.
The Tempus Fugit metaphor captures the eternal march of time. Parmigiani Fleurier’s mechanism propels the dragon in pursuit of the glowing pearl, illustrating the perpetual dance between the two. The dragon, crafted meticulously from solid silver and adorned with 585 scales made of natural jade, showcases the brand’s prowess in high-precision watchmaking and fine jewelry.
The dragon’s body, sculpted in wax and cast in three sections, required over 5,800 hours of work by prestigious master craftsmen. The 150 green jade stones, along with white gold claws, ruby eyes, and a carnelian tongue, contribute to the dragon’s resplendent appearance. The Pearl of Knowledge, a solid white gold sphere surrounded by golden flames and encased in a cameo of precious stones, is equally breathtaking.
The base, representing the river the carp ascends, is crafted from transparent rock crystal, revealing the intricate movement within. With almost 1,000 components, this one-of-a-kind timepiece is a masterpiece of watchmaking art. Michel Parmigiani’s direction ensured the collaboration of the most skilled craftsmen to bring the Dragon and the Pearl of Knowledge to life.
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