Friday, December 23, 2016

Parmigiani Fleurier: Haute Pursuit

The white gold Tonda Chronor Anniversaire

By Victoria Gomelsky

Tonda Chronor Anniversaire

As Parmigiani Fleurier celebrates 20 years, it continues to uphold the highest standards of Swiss craftsmanship.

Michel Parmigiani, a master watchmaker with a gift for restoring antique watches and clocks, founded his eponymous firm in the Swiss village of Fleurier in 1996. Over the past two decades, the brand has risen to become a respected player on the fine watchmaking landscape.

Golden Anniversary
To celebrate the occasion, Parmigiani Fleurier unveiled the Tonda Chronor Anniversaire, the watchmaker’s first integrated chronograph. This means the chronograph is built into the hand-wound movement, unlike most, which use a separate module to measure elapsed time.

The integrated construction isn’t the only thing that makes this particular chronograph so special. Parmigiani also endowed it with a split-second function that allows the wearer to time two events that begin simultaneously, but end at different times. In another flourish, the chronograph is structured around a column wheel instead of a simple cam, which is more difficult to construct but smoother to operate. And it employs a vertical clutch, which is more accurate than a horizontal clutch.

Tonda Métrographe Abyss

What’s more, the movement of the Tonda Chronor Anniversaire is crafted in rose gold, marking a significant technical achievement, in light of the metal’s malleability and the demanding standards it must meet to keep time accurately.

Available in two handsome 42mm versions — white gold with a white grand feu enamel dial, or rose gold with a blue grand feu dial — the technically impressive model is a fitting tribute to Parmigiani’s milestone.

The Tonda Métrographe Abyss, another in-house chronograph from the Parmigiani manufacture, speaks to the brand’s expertise in the decorative and design arts.

Tonda Métropolitaine Selene

The most obvious example is the dial’s eye-catching shade of abyss blue. Parmigiani artisans use a complex process of electrolysis to achieve this signature color. The brand’s design skill can be found in the case’s slightly asymmetrical silhouette. The left side is conventional while the right side features elongated lugs that extend to the crown and surround the push buttons to reflect a fresh, urban sensibility.

The ladies’ counterpart to the masculine Métrographe range is found in a line of feminine watches called Tonda Métropolitaine. This year, Parmigiani unveiled the Tonda Métropolitaine Selene, a bewitching moon phase model in a 33mm steel case — with or without a diamond-set bezel — that features an in-house movement.

But this isn’t just any moon phase model. The russet-colored moon depicted on the dial is studded with craters that mimic the lunar seas and are made through a complex process of layering. Elsewhere on the dial, the silhouette of a lotus flower — beloved by cultures around the world for its nighttime bloom — is reproduced using mother-of-pearl lace designs.

Tonda 1950 Qualité Fleurier

Quality Time
The Tonda 1950 Qualité Fleurier is a classic rose-gold timepiece that adheres to a high set of performances standards. 

Since 2004, Parmigiani has been involved with a third-party certification organization known as the Fleurier Quality Foundation, which certifies timepieces — like this Tonda 1950 — that pass its rigorous testing. In doing so, this gorgeous timepiece affirms Parmigiani’s considerable contribution to the world of fine watchmaking.

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