History of C. Purnell


C. Purnell was unofficially founded during World War I when the brand’s namesake, Cecil Purnell, was injured on the battlefield. While recovering, he taught himself watchmaking and subsequently became fascinated by Abraham-Louis Breguet and the invention he patented in 1801, the tourbillon. Cecil Purnell repaired watches as an amateur watchmaker for the rest of his life and instilled his passion for the tourbillon into his grandson, Jonathan Purnell, who ardently watched his grandfather while he worked. Cecil Purnell always emphasized the tourbillon as an elite mechanism, leading Jonathan to develop a profound respect for it as well.

Jonathan Purnell began his career in horology buying and selling watches in 1977. In 2006, Purnell decided to follow his dream and, together with industry professional Stéphane Valsamides, founded Cecil Purnell SA (later shortened to C. Purnell) in the Swiss Jura mountains to honor his grandfather and his beloved mechanism, the tourbillon. From the brand’s inception, every timepiece created has included a tourbillon, and the use of it has remained the driving philosophy behind C. Purnell to date. In 2009, after three years of development, C. Purnell launched its first caliber developed fully in-house, the CP3000, and transferred the company’s operations to Geneva, Switzerland.

Over the past fifteen years, C. Purnell has created 13 tourbillon calibers and sold more than 700 timepieces, winning numerous awards and accolades along the way. C. Purnell, who continues to pursue the creation of artistic horological masterpieces, typically produces up to fifty pieces a year to ensure quality and exclusivity. The production of Spherion, is limited to just one or two pieces per month.

C. Purnell creates exciting timepieces with unique complications, developing them in very small numbers for the most discerning and passionate collectors. The passion and ingenuity of Jonathan Purnell is as tangible in every incredible tourbillon-infused timepiece as the inspiration of his grandfather.