Cecil Purnell and the Legacy of Craftsmanship
Every new year of the twenty-first century brings with it thousands of mass-produced innovations. More often than not, these are minor improvements on existing technologies; a thinner phone, a new type of television, a faster car. This constant change means that we barely have time to come to grips with a new technology before another takes its place.
Ironically, one technology that has stayed largely free of this frenzy is one that measures time itself. The art of high-end watchmaking has been dedicated to true craftsmanship since its birth in the eighteenth century. In this world, one name has been making its mark as an embodiment of precision and attention to detail: Cecil Purnell.
In 1918 in the Jura of France, Cecil Purnell began what would become a lifelong fascination with mechanical devices. His dedication led him to focus on the most refined timepiece ever made; the Tourbillon. Developed in 1795 by Abraham-Louis Breguet, the Tourbillon was an ingenious innovation that overcame the negative effects of gravity on a watch’s measurement by mounting the escapement and balance wheel in a rotating cage.
Cecil Purnell’s passion was an inspiration to his grandson, Jonathan Purnell. By the age of eight, Jonathan was already dismantling timepieces in his grandfather’s collection. This would spark a life-long journey that would eventually lead Jonathan Purnell to see the Tourbillon as the height of horological craftsmanship.
In 2006, Jonathan teamed up with another experienced horologist, Stephane Valsamides. They founded their company in the Jura of France and named it after Cecil Purnell to honour his spirit of connoisseurship. The company remains the only watch brand dedicated to exclusively crafting high-end Tourbillons to exacting Haute Horlogerie standards. In 2009, after years of development, Cecil Purnell launched its first fully-in-house developed calibre to strong reviews. Shortly afterward, it transferred its operations to Geneva, aligning with the renowned manufacturer Cedric Grandperret.
Cecil Purnell produces no more than fifty watches a year, a stark contrast to some of the low-quality mass-produced Tourbillons emerging from China. This attention to detail is increasingly hard to find in a world where finesse is sacrificed to speed and convenience. Indeed, one glance at a Cecil Purnell timepiece is instant proof that craftsmanship is alive and strong.
Tags: Cecil Purnell , Swiss Watches , Tourbillons , Geneva , High-end Watches , Best Watches , World's Best Luxury Watch
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