While contamination is an ongoing issue for all those of us on land, the size of the problem pales in comparison to the scale of ocean pollution. Amidst such issues as ocean acidification, toxic algal blooms, coral bleaching, and myriad others, among the very pressing and easy to understand is that the absolute scale of plastic waste in our oceans. The most significant collection of sea waste, colloquially called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, covers double the surface area of Texas and comparable patches of sea vinyl are found across the globe. Alpina, as part of its ongoing attempts in natural conservation, has established a bold new step in fighting this problem using its Seastrong line of dive watches. The resulting limited edition edition Seastrong Replica Watch Automatic features a case and strap created nearly entirely from recycled sea plastics, conceived in concert with Dutch microbrand Gyre, to raise awareness of this continuing ecological threat.
The 44mm instance of thereplica watchAlpina Alpiner 4 for AL-760 Automatic is made of a distinctive black composite substance, featuring 70 percent recycled plastics sourced from abandoned fishing nets eliminated from the Indian Ocean. The case design itself is an odd, somewhat stilted take on the pillow case formulation, together with stout beveled lugs and an incongruous stepped thanks thanks to its wide set crown guards and matching extended section on the 9 o’clock side. The matte finish of the composite makes the polished black of the rotating dip bezel insert that much more dramatic, changing the most basic of dive watch components into something visually memorable. Though the plastic combination of the Seastrong Diver Gyre Automatic’s case might not have the heft of stainless steel, the watch loses none of its own capability, with Alpina claiming a respectable 300 metres of water resistance.
Today marks the launch of the Parmigiani watches any good Replica Bugatti Type 390, a watch designed to go with the latest Bugatti Chiron hypercar. In line with most of the pieces that came from Parmigiani’s now 13-year partnership with carmaker Bugatti, the Type 390 is another very unusually shaped piece filled edge to edge with an equally unique movement. Just like the Bugatti Chiron, the Parmigiani Type 390 also appears to have been beautifully and exceedingly over-engineered, so as to get the attention of even the most bored and spoiled watch and car lover.
While cars must comply with ever stricter emissions regulations and safety requirements – well, some did get away with cheating their way around them, but that’s for another blog to discuss – watchmakers remain free to do whatever the heck they want, so long as they stay within the often loosely interpreted limitations of wearability, reliability, and functionality. Parmigiani Fleurier sounds very proud of the Type 390’s allegedly effortless tackling of all these issues.
A variation of the Parmigiani Type 370, originally launched in 2004.
A quick glance 13 years back reveals an interesting fact: Parmigiani was among the very first luxury watchmakers to make complicated watches in highly unusual shaped cases – something perfectly common today, in the age of MB&F HM4s, Deep Space Tourbillons, and Hublot LaFerraris. But back in 2004, when the oddly shaped and equally obscurely named Parmigiani Type 370 came out, there had been very few others like it before.
Well over a decade later, the Type 390 is a borderline insane arrangement of exceedingly niche engineering solutions. Here’s a random selection, just so you can appreciate what you’re getting yourself into when you try to wrap your mind around this watch. There’s a planetary gear system, a worm screw “angle transmission,” a co-axial triangular barrel coupling system, a 12° articulated case, a torque limiter, a bevel gear differential, rod clamp that eliminates the setting lever, yoke and yoke spring, the world’s smallest ball bearing, and a flying tourbillon with variable moment of inertia balance wheel, and a Breguet overcoil. Basically none of these, maybe save for the overcoil, will you find in an ordinary timepiece.
The weird, wedge-like shape of the Parmigiani Fleurier Type 390’s case will appear familiar and yet strangely odd when compared to the Type 370, or even something more recent, like the Super Sport (hands-on here). What Parmigiani has done is re-engineer the movement to flip the way time is displayed: previously it used to be in the tubular section, but now that segment is facing away from the wearer and it is the steeply angled and intricately framed rectangular bit that rocks the time display, hence offering a much larger and more legible dial.
This meant that the movement had to be packed all into that cylindrical module, which now incorporates the two, series-coupled barrels that provide a total of 80 hours of power reserve, along with some very clever gearing to transmit that power in all three directions. First of all, the barrels are linked to the clever power reserve indicator located right behind them through a bevel gear differential.
Second, through a complex gearing system, the barrels are connected to the flying tourbillon that caps the cylinder from the other end. Last, the whole movement is linked to the perpendicular time display through an “angle transmission” that allows it to transfer energy through a 90° angle into the display on the dial.
All this remarkable complexity goes strongly against what many will only see as a weird, wedge-shaped watch, without ever giving a second thought to how it could possibly function. Surely, an ultra-thin movement could’ve been crammed under that angled dial, but that would clearly be disappointing from a watch produced by a brand with a vertically integrated manufacturing background – and, mind you, a watch designed and produced to go with the fastest production car in the friggin’ world.
Again, the perpendicular dial creates all sorts of challenges, all mainly related to getting the tubular movement to communicate its timekeeping results towards a time display set in a completely different plane. The angle transmission that solves all this actually is an aptly named “worm screw” that meshes with the massive, though largely hidden wheel that is just under the largest wheel in the center. Look for the worm screw in the upper right segment of the image above – the wheel meshes with the large teeth of a wheel that’s two layers under the black PVD-coated bridge. It’s an ingenious solution and once again something you won’t see in watches with ordinary round or square cases.
The PF390 cylindrical caliber was designed and produced wholly in-house, save for the jewels and hands – even the Breguet overcoil balance spring was produced by Parmigiani’s high-precision manufacturing subsidiary called Atokalpa. At the end of the 7-layer movement, we find the flying tourbillon that runs at an impressive 4Hz – no low-frequency traditional BS compromises there. The entire movement is composed of 302 components, a very high component count for a watch with only hours, minutes, and power reserve.
Before the plates are black PVD coated, they receive haute horlogerie grade hand finishing that involves beveled and hand polished edges on all the weird and remarkably complex, partially skeletonized plates and bridges, as well as on countersinks and wheel spokes. Despite the fact that Parmigiani has its own dial manufacture, they opted not to use one and rather went with a cool, skeletonized overlay frame.
The case itself is a unique creation as well and, having seen a number of previous Parmigiani-Bugatti collaboration high-end pieces, this really is an evolution over those, comparable to how the Chiron went beyond the Veyron’s aesthetics. It’s noticeably more angular and a much more aggressive looking thing, produced in 18k white or rose gold. Strong lines and long, wide, sweeping curves meet in the 42.2mm by 57.7mm case that, like all previous Bugatti watches, is remarkably comfortable on the wrist.
A total of four anti-reflective sapphire crystals allow for a closer look at this all-new and unique movement, revealing finer details like the flying tourbillon that appears to have been hermetically sealed off behind a porthole kind of aperture, or like the two barrels that sport the signature of Louis Chiron, Bugatti’s legendary racing driver on one, and the “Le vieux renard” (the old fox) also in reference to him on the other. Frankly, I think it would have been more appropriate to have Michel Parmigiani’s signature on the other one, not this fox nonsense.
Yes, all these things are solutions to problems desperately sad and/or uninteresting and/or unhappy people would say shouldn’t have existed in the first place – and, from a strictly sensible approach, they’re actually right. You don’t need a watch dial to come in at a 12° angle to be able to read the time just how you don’t need a car capable of doing well over 400kph to get from A to B.
However, it appears that when watchmakers are faced with the challenge of creating a watch that goes with a hyper- or supercar, they think big and think as far out of the box, as they possibly can. It’s their great, often once in a lifetime opportunity to create something completely bonkers and get away with it – just think of the double-balance Roger Dubuis Aventador S, the Hublot LaFerrari, this Blancpain Lamborghini that came with both a tourbillon and a carrousel for no good reason whatsoever, or, of course, this Parmigiani Fleurier Type 390. It’s a brand flexing its muscles, and that’s all good!
The Type 390 actually looks really cool when worn the wrong way around – and the time is facing away as well, which can be a plus sometimes…
It’s not just muscles but bank accounts that these hyper-creations make flex. Price for the Bugatti Chiron hypercar starts at around $2,500,000, while a watch from the 10-10 piece limited runs of the Parmigiani Fleurier Bugatti Type 390 will set you back 295,000 CHF. parmigiani.com
Eventually he would come to set up a solid working relationship with Pierre Landolt, president of the Sandoz Family Foundation, together with the two bonding within their shared love for watchmaking. Fast forward another decade or so and Michel Parmigiani, with the financial backing of their Sandoz family, was eventually able to obtain the production means and resources to make a brand that would bear his own name.This conveniently brings us back into the Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Chronomètre timepiece we are taking a look at today. As I alluded to briefly in the introduction, this new model, unveiled at SIHH earlier this season, is based on the first watch made by Michel Parmigiani in 1996; both time-zone Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Memory Time. It’s worth making the distinction here that this is a reinterpretation of the first model, not a diversion and so while there are many shared design characteristics, the Toric Chronomètre is quite much its own opinion.
At SIHH 2017, Parmigiani Fleurier released two beautiful new limited-edition versions of one of my favorite watches from the brand, the Ovale Pantographe. It is largely the Parmigiani Ovale Pantographe we are familiar with, but with some newly added exclusivity for those people who wanted a good reason to spend about 60% more on the watch. To see what is new, you must literally look beyond the surface, as these versions look strikingly similar to previous limited-edition Parmigiani Ovale Pantographe watches from 2013.
What is similar to those models is the “Guilloche” Barley Grain Dials with applied, versus printed, hour numerals. Although the 2013 limited editions had the hands and hour markers in blue, these 2017 Parmigiani Ovale Pantographe limited-edition models have the hands and applied hour markers in chic black. “Guilloche” is in quotes as the dial is not indeed produced from a rose engine but rather stamped, as Parmigiani readily explains. I do admit that if the dial were indeed authentic machine engraving it would be very appealing. I was recently able to test my own skills with a real guilloche machine doing this exact barleycorn pattern and know how difficult and time consuming it is. Doing a single dial could take hours and hours of work.
Parmigiani seems to get brands like Vacheron Constantin and Patek Philippe as benchmarks, but Parmigiani doesn’t now enjoy their branding. I’m not saying those brands have improved connections with consumers, but rather that they have more, and much more widespread relationships with consumers. The man who receives a Patek Philippe Calatrava dress watch is frequently less interested in watches and much more interested in the brandnew. Parmigiani is, rather, competing (in my view) with additional “watch lover” brands that are little more market such as Jaeger-LeCoultre, Chopard, as well as Rolex’s dress watches, which are a little more niche in their own collection. When taking this under account, the Parmigiani option is often the most expensive (for this amount of complication). At the exact same moment, it may be the situation that Parmigiani’s pricing is logical. Three-hand dress watches in 18k gold cases vary in price from a couple thousand bucks to probably $100,000 (for very exotic or hand-crafted models). As a watch nerd, the pricing for the Parmigiani Toric Chronometre may feel a bit away, but also for other consumers surveying a bigger array of the market, the just under $20,000 price of those pieces might be exactly what they intend to cover a watch like this.
What’s truly new is the movement, which isn’t different, but rather done in solid 18k rose gold. So now both the Ovale case and the in-house made Parmigiani PF111 movement are in gold. I recently covered another Parmigiani watch with a gold movement, which was a steel-cased limited edition of 10 pieces Kalpa Hebdomadaire Anniversaire model. That model’s movement was decorated differently with more hand engraving, while the Parmigiani Ovale Pantographe with Barley Corn Dial and Gold Movement has more traditional Geneva stripes on the gold movement. With that said, the movements in each of the watches are structurally almost identical.
The PF111 movement is manually-wound and comprised of 267 parts. It operates at 21,600bph (3Hz) with a long power reserve of eight days (192 hours). The movement here uses a disc under a crescent-shaped power reserve indicator to to display the remaining power via color – it goes from black to white as the power reserve winds down. There is also an “open” date display over 6 o’clock that, in this instance, helps visually balance out the dial. The Parmigiani Fleurier logo is right above 12 o’clock, and arguably almost hidden a bit on the watch face.
In addition to the Ovale-style case shape, the Parmigiani Ovale Panotgraphe is so well-regarded because of the awesome system of telescopic hands which uses more than 30 parts in mostly titanium. In black, the hands look stately and legible. Their purpose by design is to grow and shrink in size so as to match the varying dimensions of the non-round case shape as they move around to indicate the time as we explain in more detail in our hands-on article here. In the modern sense, this is a Parmigiani creation, but the actual invention of this concept is credited to a pocket watch from 1780 that Michel Parmigiani himself restored. Like many talented modern-day watch makers, Mr. Parmigiani really taught himself watchmaking through the art and discipline of restoring antique horological creations.
The Parmigiani Ovale case is a special character in the watch world given its unique design, beautiful and comfortable wearing experience, and charming visual personality. The combination of distinctive Parmigiani signature teardrop-style lugs and oval shape make it a winner for being different in the category of dress watches were many things look more or less the same to me. Coming to this conclusion isn’t easy just by looking at it, but if you view our hands-on and review articles on the Parmigiani Ovale Pantograph, you can come to your own conclusion on how well the design might sit on your wrist.
The case for this set of Parmigiani Ovale Pantographe 2017 limited-edition watches comes in either 18k white or 18k rose gold, each with the same dial and black Hermes alligator strap. Size is 37.3mm wide by 45mm tall and 12.5mm thick (water resistant to 30 meters). The 2017 Parmigiani Pantographe “Guilloche” Barley Grain Dial And Gold Movement watch is a limited edition of 50 pieces in each case material with a price of $85,000 each. parmigiani.ch
The Parmigiani Toric Hémisphères Rétrograde is the latest in the Toric line of watches, which represent the relatively conservative side of the brand with a traditional case and signature knurled bezel. This new-for-2017 model is a dual time zone watch which allows the wearer to set a second time right down to the minute, which is useful for tracking time zones that are offset by half-hour or even quarter-hour differences. This is unlike traditional GMT watches which only measure full-hour increments.
The precision and functionality of the second time zone indicator is possible thanks to the caliber PF317, an automatic movement with a module designed and supplied by Jean-Marc Wiederrecht (interviewed here about his First Grail Watch). With his company AgenHor, Wiederrecht has been making waves recently for his impressive work with movement and module design and is the man behind the AgenGraphe movement, the module in the Slim d’Hermès Perpetual Calendar (hands-on here), and of course, the Parmigiani Toric Hémisphères Rétrograde’s module.
The caliber PF317, as mentioned earlier, displays time in two time zones to the minute with a day/night indicator for both time zones and, to top it all off, a retrograde date indication. The movement beats at 28,800bph and provides 50 hours of power reserve which is more than adequate. As you might expect, this is a lot of mechanics to pack into a wristwatch movement and the module is significantly larger in diameter than the base movement. Parmigiani has smartly designed the case back to work with this, with the display portion only revealing the base movement with its 22ct rose gold rotor and Cotês de Genève decoration.
If we flip over to the “white-grained” (even though it looks more off-white in these pictures) dial, we see that this is a busy presentation and can appear a little confusing at first glance. The sub-dial with rhodium-plated hands at 12 o’clock is the second time zone. It is highlighted with a gold ring but is subtle enough to not be distracting. To its right is the day/night indication for this second time zone. The primary time zone is featured on the main dial with javelin-shaped hands made from rose gold and filled with Super-LumiNova. The hand with the red crescent moon at the tip is not the seconds hand but the retrograde date.
The manner in which the first three and last three numbers for the date track are flipped around may prove annoying to some people – and I’m not entirely sure it was necessary to flip them in this case. The sub-dial at 6 o’clock indicates both running seconds and the day/night for the primary time zone. In my opinion, the day/night indicator for the primary time zone is redundant. While I can appreciate the mechanical complexity in having it there, it adds more complexity to an already packed dial. The entire dial is encircled by a railway track chapter ring and applied rose gold hour markers. Overall, Parmigiani has done a good job at balancing out the many elements of the dial, and it becomes pretty intuitive to read after about the first minute.
The Super-LumiNova is something that stood out to me. In the world of haute horlogerie, manufactures sometimes forget the value of modern features such as lumed hands and an AR-coated crystal. For a watch to be versatile and a daily wearer, it has to have both good design and some modern features. Parmigiani seems to recognize this as they provide both lume on the hands and double AR-coating on the sapphire crystal.
All of this is housed in the signature rose gold Toric case, which was Michel Parmigiani’s first design back in the ’90s. A signature design element is the knurled bezel which gives the classic design an interesting twist. You’ll notice that there are two crowns, the top is to set the second time zone independently while the bottom is to set both time zones simultaneously. The watch is on the larger side at 42.8mm in diameter due to the module and the need for dial space to fit the various indications. The gently angled lugs are polished and offer a nice contrast to the texture of the bezel. The case is rated to 30m of water resistance which is adequate for a dress watch.
For those who may find the design too conservative and prefer something edgier, it’s worth noting that the same movement is available in the Parmigiani Tonda Hémisphères that launched in 2010. I personally prefer the dressier, refined presentation of the Toric Hémisphères Rétrograde. The highlight of this watch, however, is not the design but the movement and its ability to track the second time zone down to a minute. The Parmigiani Toric Hémisphères Rétrograde ships on a black Hermès alligator leather strap with deployment buckle and is available at retailers for a price of $29,500. parmigiani.com
A total of four anti-reflective sapphire crystals allow to get a closer look in this all-new and exceptional motion, showing finer details like the flying tourbillon which appears to have been hermetically sealed away behind a porthole kind of aperture, or similar to the 2 barrels that sport the touch of Louis Chiron, Bugatti’s legendary racing driver on a single, along with the “Le vieux renard” (the old fox) also with regard to him on another side. Frankly, I think it would have been more appropriate to have Michel Parmigiani’s signature on the other one, maybe not this fox nonsense.Yes, all these items are answers to issues desperately gloomy and/or dull and/or unhappy people would say shouldn’t have been around in the first place — and, by a strictly sensible strategy, they are actually perfect. You do not need a watch dial up to come in at a 12° angle to have the ability to read the time precisely the way you don’t want an automobile capable of doing well over 400kph to purchase from A to B.However, it appears that when watchmakers are confronted with the challenge of creating a watch that goes with a hyper- or supercar, they think big and think up to out of the box, even as possible. It’s their great, frequently once in a lifetime chance to create something completely bonkers and eliminate it — just think of the double-balance Roger Dubuis Aventador S, the Hublot LaFerrari, this Blancpain Lamborghini that came with both a tourbillon plus a carrousel for absolutely no good reason at all, or, of course, this Parmigiani Fleurier Type 390. It’s a fresh flexing its muscles, and that is all good!
The weird, wedge-like form of this Parmigiani qualit�� fleurier Replica Type 390’s situation will appear familiar and yet strangely odd when compared to the Sort 370, or even something newer, like the Super Sport (hands-on here). Everything Parmigiani has done will be re-engineer the motion to flip how time is displayed: previously it used to be in the tubular section, but now that section is facing away from the wearer and it’s the steeply angled and intricately framed rectangular piece that stones the time display, hence offering a much larger and more legible dial.This meant that the motion had to be packed all into this cylindrical module, which now incorporates both, series-coupled barrels that provide a total of 80 hours of power book, combined with some very clever gearing to transmit that power at all 3 directions. To start with, the barrels are directly connected to the clever power reserve indicator situated right supporting them through a bevel gear differential.Second, via a complex gearing system, the barrels are connected to the flying tourbillon that caps the cylinder from the other end. Last, the whole motion is linked to the vertical time display through an “angle transmission” that allows it to move energy via a 90° angle into the screen on the dial.
At SIHH 2017, Parmigiani released an interesting and subtle “new” watch with the Toric Chronometre. It is actually a modernized interpretation of the first watch that Michel Parmigiani designed in 1996. The 2017 Parmigiani fleurier forma xl Replica Toric Chronometre is a bit larger, but in many ways is said to be a very faithful manifestation of Mr. Parmigiani’s original vision from the mid-1990s. Don’t forget that the brand began as a function of Michel’s vision, combined with the monetary support of his “patron,” the Sandoz family.
Given the penchant for whimsy and flair that I’ve come to appreciate from Parmigiani, the Toric Chronometre is a resolutely sober watch. It does very much feel like a product of the 1990s. By that, I mean a very sensible and to-the-point dial mixed with some light aesthetic flair, as well as the style of most of the work in the case. In many instances, this is a formula for a rather nice watch. These days, however, where “brand identification” is very important, this is not always what a consumer is looking for.
Brand identification, as I refer to it here, is the notion that you can recognize the company that made a product just by seeing the shape or design of that product. Many watchmakers either explicitly or implicitly ask themselves whether or not they can recognize their own products when seeing them on someone’s wrist from across the room. If the answer is “yes,” then a brand has achieved a high degree of brand identification, if the answer is no, then often times brands are left with products that do not have “brand” appeal. Though this is really a larger topic for another conversation.
With the distinctive look of most Parmigiani timepieces, I asked myself how much the 2017 Parmigiani Toric Chronometre looks like a Parmgiani of today. The case does, for sure, though it needs a close inspection to identify. The dial is a qualified “yes,” since it uses brand elements such as fonts and other aesthetic touches, but is at the end of the day a rather straightforward time+date dial with Arabic hour numerals. That being said, the legibility is very good.
Mr. Parmigiani himself is typically found speaking about architecture – a great passion of his. The Parmigiani Toric Chronometre (like many Parmigiani watches) is, among other things, inspired by ancient Greek architecture. The case itself is remarkably complicated in form, even though it looks simple from a distance. The bezel, case middle, and lugs are each their own distinct visual elements and have been rather harmoniously blended together. It is actually among the nicer “simple” round-case watches out there. I have to say that while Parmigiani’s dial design appeal is a bit of a mixed bag, the brand’s cases are mostly very appealing to me.
At 40.8mm wide (and 9.5mm thick), the Parmigiani Toric Chronometre wears comfortably and modestly as a modern dress-style watch. As stated, the intricate details of the case such as the knurled bezel and side profile need a closer inspection to be fully appreciated. I think it serves as a very nice frame for the functional dial.
Parmigiani offers the case in either 18k white or red gold. Each gold version is available with either the black or white dial colors. All models have gold hands, which I think is a nice touch. We also see an “open” date window. I am usually not a massive fan of these, but the execution is not bad here and seems to give the date (located above 6 o’clock) more than a passive purpose for the overall design. Under the date window is the “Chronometre” name of the watch on the dial, which is a design detail that I don’t mind.
Dial proportions on the Parmigiani Toric Chronometre are pretty nice, if not very classic. A more modern interpretation of this dial would have easily had the hour numerals be larger in size. Not that one way is better, but it sort of reminds me of all the little tweaks Rolex has done to its Submariner over the years, as the sizes of the hands and hour markers have shifted in subtle ways. What consumers prefer is often a very personal choice. With that said, the Parmigiani Toric Chronometre no doubt has a lot of “white space” on the dial – the appeal of which is going to be very subjective to the consumers.
When it comes to sheer details, Parmigiani has always earned top marks. As I said, even the fonts for the hour numerals (as well as the date numerals) are on brand. Then you have the distinctive hands (with lume-painted tips) and the crescent moon counterweight on the seconds hand. You also have the contrasting colors between the date disc and the dial – which add character, and no doubt some aesthetic controversy. These are all small details which help upgrade the overall experience of an otherwise simple watch. At times, the dial looks so sober it feels like a vintage military-style watch – albeit one clearly for use by an officer (of high rank).
Inside of the Parmigiani Toric Chronometre is the in-house made Parmigiani caliber PF331 automatic movement. UPDATE, the PF331 is COSC Chronometer-certified (even though I previously said it was not since the information from the brand did not make this clear), which helps support the “Chronometre” part of the watch’s name. Visible through the sapphire crystal exhibition caseback is the movement which features a very high level of decoration by Parmigiani. Their movements do have a considerably high-end feel for something that is produced in this manner.
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The HH Journal is an online publication covering watchmaking news in all its forms and is published by the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH) which was created in 2005. The FHH aims to raise awareness and promote the values of fine watchmaking on an international basis. The HH Journal is written by twenty journalists located throughout the major global markets and takes a comprehensive approach to watchmaking, including technical as well as economic, historical, and human aspects. The HH Journal is dedicated to exceptional products with a daily update of its written or multimedia content. See some examples of recent HH Journal content below and click on the headline to read the full article.
Panerai’s Quiet Revolution
Panerai are no strangers to innovation. During SIHH 2017, they lived up to their reputation as a “laboratory of ideas” when they produced BMG-TECH, a metallic glass new to fine watchmaking, and the LAB-ID Luminor 1950 Carbotech 3 Days – 49mm which requires no lubrication and is guaranteed for 50 years. The biggest difficulty the firm faces is holding onto the true fan club of Paneristi whilst also bringing in new fans. What the brand does to hold both old and new fans is hide ground-breaking developments within classic “Panerai-looking” watches. So, how does all this new technology really work?
Extraordinary Van Cleef Arpels
Van Cleef & Arpels showed visitors “The Poetry of Time” with their Automate Fée Ondine on the opening day of SIHH this year. The idea was to harness the power of large mechanics and tell a far more elaborate story than those made possible by the Poetic complication watches. The unique piece has a manual-winding movement with: animation on demand with 5 cycles of 50 seconds when the mechanism is fully wound, a clock with retrograde hours and an eight-day power reserve. When still, it shows a sleeping fairy among water lilies. When set in motion, she awakens, lifts her head and gently moves her wings, meanwhile the lily leaves ripple and the largest flower blossoms to reveal a butterfly that rises from its centre.
Parmigiani offers the case in either 18k white or reddish gold. Each gold variant can be obtained with either the black or white dial colours. All models have gold palms, which I think is a nice touch. We also observe an “open” date window. I’m usually not a massive fan of these, but the implementation is not bad here and appears to provide the date (located above 6 o’clock) more than a passive purpose for the total layout. Under the date window is the “Chronometre” title of this watch on the dial, and it is a design detail that I do not mind.Dial proportions on the Parmigiani Toric Chronometre are fairly fine, if not too classic. A more contemporary interpretation of this dial would have easily had the hour numerals be larger in dimension. What consumers want is often a very personal choice. That said, the Parmigiani Toric Chronometre no doubt has a great deal of “white space” on the dial – the allure of that is going to be very subjective to the customers.
Sleeping Beauties Awaken
The ‘80s returned at this year’s SIHH in the form of three complete collections of watches from Cartier, IWC, and Girard-Perregaux, and the brands clearly had women on their mind, too. This trio of collections has confirmed three things within fine watchmaking: vintage is here to stay, ladies’ watches deserve to be more than diamond encrusted, smaller versions of their male counterparts, and brands are bringing their past back to life with a bang. Without further ado… we introduce to you: Cartier’s Panthère, IWC’s Da Vinci, and Girard-Perregaux’s Laureato.
Simple watches, complex problems
One of the most noticeable trends at SIHH was brands ‘toning down’ their offerings and extending their entry-level ranges. They have finally found their footing in reality but there is still one unknown factor: the customer, preferably young and less inclined towards luxury. Given the sharp decline in Swiss Watch exports over the past 18 months, fine watch brands have no other choice than to consider how suited their products are to an inventory-heavy market, where brick-and-mortar distribution finds itself increasingly in competition with online sales. The HH Journal looks at what brands are doing to reach new audiences and to entice the “new generation of luxury buyers.”
The chronograph is arguably the most useful complication within fine watchmaking. A challenge for watchmakers, but one which lends a sporty feel to watches. How often do you see someone going about their business, to then stop and use their chronograph? And yet, when it comes to the chronograph watch, there are seemingly endless choices. Has it come to the point now where the use of a chronographs becomes a measure of a watchmaker’s skill, rather than a timepiece choice for its functionality. The HH Journal takes a closer look at the new releases of SIHH 2017 and ultimately whether the chronograph is still relevant.
Michel Parmigiani, the horological heart doctor
Michel Parmigiani has made restoration an art form. However, 20 years ago he set up his own brand, one whose Senfine movements promise a new “historic” departure for fine watchmaking. The Parmigiani Fleurier Restoration Workshop is truly one of a kind, and because of its founder, restoration is as much of an art form as it is a science. He has been cited saying, “As a restorer, I like to say that five hundred years of history have passed through my hands.” A closer look at what makes Michel Parmigiani and his brand Parmigiani Fleurier so special.
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To kick off the new year, Parmigiani watches prices Replica announced two new timepieces utilizing their unique “Galaxy” method of texturizing dials. The Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda 1950 Galaxy Gold Bracelet and the Tonda Métropolitaine Selene are the newest unofficial (maybe official at some point) “his and hers” dress watch offerings from the brand. Interestingly enough, pricing is significantly lower than the previously released Tonda 1950 Galaxy Set.
To create these striking and statement-making dials, Parmigiani Fleurier use a technique that requires dropping “Aventurine,” which is a hybrid copper and glass material, into the midnight blue dial creating what looks like stars – hence, “Galaxy.” Personally, I find this decoration interesting with an almost poetic charm, and I’m excited to see these additional models brandishing the unique technique.
The dial is, made in Parmigiani’s dial creating centre, is in black metal, with a nicely done vertical striped pattern. The hour markers are in polished silver and are applied. Substantial Delta shaped hour and minute hands are highlighted with silver polished borders. At 3 o’clock is your small seconds display. At 6 o’clock is a 12-hour chronograph counter with a broad date at the bottom and a silver circular snailed finish. Connected to the hour subdial is a 30-minute countertop, using a silver round snailed finish. The chronograph second hand is in polished silver. The 8 mm diameter locking steel crown is signed and includes a polished finish. The chronograph pushers are flat and are in vulcanized black rubber on the steel version (gold models come with alloy pushers). He dial is protected by a horizontal glareproofed sapphire crystal that protrudes ever so slightly above the bezel. The rotor is skeletonized and engraved with the Parmigiani Fleurier logo (a 22K gold strand comes on the golden versions). Each piece is individually numbered.The Pershing 005 is a daring sporty timepiece in the haute horology manufacture one of the best in the world. Whilst you would expect, each detail has been paid close attention to. The motion, which can be concealed behind a solid case back, is completed to the greatest standards. The 005 comes in a variety of dial choices, and wide variety of instances: metal, white gold or rose gold. We urge the latter, for both aesthetics and comfort. The case dimensions is made for a more robust wrist, so if you enjoy this bit but have a tiny wrist, then we recommend the checking out the bigger 42 millimeter Pershing 002 as well. (Ref.
If the dial looks familiar, that’s because two years ago, Parmigiani pershing watches Replica released the original Tonda 1950 Galaxy Set, which came on a glossy black leather strap with a diamond bezeled rose gold case. While the Tonda 1950 Galaxy Gold Bracelet may bear a new reference number, it’s the same watch as before with the star of the show being the new sleek solid rose gold bracelet with folding clasp. While I don’t necessarily want to spend too much time delving into the technical details of a watch we already covered (you can read all about it in the link above), the addition of the bracelet gives this watch a far more handsome look.
Personally, I wasn’t a huge fan of the glossy leather included in the first run and feel that the gold brushed center links with polished edges on the bracelet fit the watch better. The diamond studded polished case measures in at 39mm with a slim 8.4mm thickness, carries a .65 carat weight, and features a sapphire caseback (we will post pictures as they become available) – displaying the Côtes de Genève decorated PF702 in-house movement. Water resistance is pretty standard for a dress watch at 30m.
Of the two watches, I feel that the best addition to the Parmigiani Fleurier portfolio is the Tonda Métropolitaine Selene. The Métropolitaine line is expansive, filled mostly with guilloche heavy or mother-of-pearl dials and Parmigiani Fleurier has done a fantastic job of marketing them towards women. Which is why I was surprised when looking back and realizing that there wasn’t a “Galaxy” dial included until now. When the Tonda 1950 Galaxy set was released, a consistent complaint was that it looked feminine.
The polished stainless steel case measures in at 33.1mm with an 8.6mm thickness – big enough to appreciate the dial, but small enough to maintain maximum classiness. The bezel features 72 diamonds producing a total carat weight of .496 (triggering many OCD tendencies). Additionally, and like its big brother, the watch features a sapphire caseback showcasing the Côtes de Genève decorated PF310 movement. Featuring a 50-hour power reserve, the PF310 movement utilizes a recessed 60-second sub-dial at 6 o’clock and a date window centered inside of it.
Which brings us to the dial, where the sharp white gold applied indices contrast nicely against the midnight blue dial. In fact, the entire watch utilizes a simple white gold color scheme that makes what could be a busy dial superbly legible. In lieu of the solid lume-filled hour and minute hands of the original, Parmigiani fleurier pistol songbird Replica opted for skeletonized hands so as not to detract from the dial – something I wish the Tonda 1950 Galaxy Set did. My only complaint is the date window that spans a 3 day date-span – something I think should have been a smaller, single-day window to keep away from the “tennis-y” feel that it gives it. The watch will come with a blue alligator leather strap or a blue fabric strap.
Parmigiani Fleurier is less than 25 years old, and they’ve accomplished an impressive amount of watchmaking in that short period of time. Overall, these are two solid offerings from Parmigiani Fleurier. The solid rose gold bracelet gives a bit more heft to the Tonda 1950 model, and the addition of a ladies’ version of the “Galaxy” dial provides an option that I feel was overdue for the Métropolitaine collection. The new Tonda 1950 Galaxy Gold Bracelet model is $39,900 while the Tonda Métropolitaine Galaxy Selene is $12,000. parmigiani.com
When it comes to models such as the rare Ovale XL Tourbillon, Parmigiani doesn’t really need to focus on limited editions. Rather, this individually serialized watch simply gets dial and material updates from time to time as the Parmigiani Fleurier Ovale XL Tourbillon family releases ever-changing models. This particular reference PFH750-1000600-HA3141 adds a new style of dial and was released by Parmigiani Fleurier in 2017.
While the design of a watch such as the Ovale XL Tourbillon isn’t for everyone, it bears hallmarks of quality and finishing that anyone who enjoys finely-made timepieces can appreciate. At this level Parmigiani offers the full gamut of hand-finishing and construction that makes very exclusive high-end Swiss timepieces as desirable as they are. From the hand-finished case to the hand-decorated movement, this type of perfection is what you want to look for in a mechanical timepiece such as this – and it will only cost you about $200,000.
All images by David Bredan
From a technical standpoint, the in-house made Parmigiani caliber PF501 manually-wound movement has one rather uncommon feature; and that is a tourbillon that spins every 30 seconds. Parmigiani calls this an “exclusive 30-second tourbillon,” though I’m not sure (aside from the movement itself) where the total exclusion of other watches with 30 second tourbillons comes from.
What the few other 30 second tourbillon watches out there (perhaps outside from an even rarer DeBethune 30 second tourbillon timepiece model) don’t likely have is a relatively stable power reserve that lasts an entire week. Two barrels offer seven full days of power reserve in the manually-wound movement. Complications include the time with central seconds hand, power reserve indicator gauge, and of course, the open tourbillon. The PF501 movement is comprised of 237 parts and operates at a frequency of 3Hz.
Brand identification, as I refer to it here, is the notion which you can recognize the company that made a product by simply viewing the shape or design of that product. Many watchmakers either explicitly or implicitly ask themselves whether or not they’re able to recognize their own products when viewing them on someone’s wrist from across the room. If the answer is “yes,” then a new has achieved a high degree of brand identification, even if the solution is no, then often times manufacturers are abandoned with goods that do not have “brand” appeal. Though this is really a bigger topic for another conversation.With the distinctive appearance of most Parmigiani timepieces, I asked myself how much the 2017 Parmigiani Toric Chronometre looks like a Parmgiani of now. The situation does, for certain, though it wants a close review to identify. That having been said, that the legibility is very good.
Viewing the movement through the caseback window is indeed a pleasure. Parmigiani does not disappoint in terms of the aesthetic quality and attractiveness of its decoration and finishing of movement parts. From the Côtes de Genève stripes to the beveled edges, surface treatments on all the metals are gorgeous in a timepiece such as this. Having said that, at this price point there is a very healthy assortment of other watches out there that boast more complicated movements, many of which have exotic systems or materials. The PF501 is extremely conservative in what it offers – intended for people seeking a very traditional mechanical timepiece experience.
What isn’t totally traditional is the Ovale XL case, which aBlogtoWatch has reviewed in its various Parmigiani forms here. I personally love this case because of its effective combination of elegant looks, flattering visuals on the wrist, and distinctiveness from many other watch case styles out there. What’s better is how comfortable the Ovale feels, and how it looks familiar yet not like other things out there. Patek Philippe for many years tried to assert the value of a case similar to this in the Ellipse. Though, Parmigiani is the one that made this elliptical circle shape a good choice for modern men’s watches.
This new for 2017 Parmigiani Ovale XL Tourbillon introduces a “blue abyss” colored dial that has a blue color applied over a metal base which is decorated with vertical Côtes de Genève-style stripes. You don’t see these on dials all the time, but they aren’t as rare as they used to be anymore. The hour markers are applied 18k rose gold, to match the case material and color.
Compare the pictured Ovale XL Tourbillon with the Côtes de Genève dial to this other Parmigiani Ovale XL Tourbillon from 2014. You can see how Parmigiani likes to play around with a lot of dial styles. The former version had a semi-skeletonized dial, slightly different hour markers, and a different power reserve indicator. The upside of that earlier model is being able to see more of the hand-decorated movement through the dial, but I like the increased sense of symmetry on this reference PFH750-1000600-HA3141 version.
The Ovale XL case is another upside to the watch (as I mentioned above). No, the case design isn’t for all wrists, but then again… it sure isn’t meant to be. Dimensions are 37.6mm wide by 44.8mm tall and 12.2mm thick. It wears a bit larger than it sounds, given the wide lugs, and in 18k rose gold it looks absolutely lovely. I want to use the word “elegance” again to describe my opinion of how it looks. To me this means that it has the graceful curves of an organic form, while also being aesthetically pleasing to the eye with a cohesive form. It’s basically a dress watch that gets extra attention because it is different, but in no way misplaced or of questionable taste. The fact that it has a fancy tourbillon is the expensive icing on the cake.
As far as I can consider, Parmigiani knows the Ovale XL case is special, and doesn’t use it for anything under $50,000 USD. That’s a shame because I’d love for there to be a steel or titanium model with a simple automatic movement (still in the tonneau-shape) that is priced considerably less. It would serve as a slightly more avant-garde counterpart to the Parmigiani Tonda 1950. Perhaps Parmigiani will entertain this request in the future.
Like most Parmigiani watches, the Ovale XL Tourbillon comes fitted with an Hermès strap, this time in indigo blue alligator. I find the relative width of the strap (thanks to the wide lugs) to be a flattering look, and it also helps enhance the formal, yet masculine stance of the timepiece’s overall form. The case also happens to be water-resistant to 30m.
A 30 second tourbillon will spin faster (clearly) than a 60 second tourbillon, and thus its real purpose is to offer an enhanced sense of visual animation on the dial. A graceful rose gold line frames the open tourbillon window and bridge – being a detail I very much enjoy. It’s little details such as this which make Parmigiani timepieces appeal to the type of person ready to spend $200,000 on a luxury watch. Is it the blingiest or trendiest luxury watch out there? No, and again, it isn’t trying to be. Price for the Parmigiani Ovale XL Tourbillon reference PFH750-1000600-HA3141 watch is $195,000 USD. parmigiani.com
Are we pumped for SIHH 2018 yet? Just like the “holiday shopping season” and beginning around the same time, it seems like the new-product announcements get earlier every year. With still more than a month to go, the 2018 models that we will get to see in Geneva in January have already started coming in. The Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) watch industry trade show, just like its organizing body the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH), has continued to grow and evolve each year, adding more brands as well as a day where the show is open to the public for the first time in 2017 – this time around, it will be Friday, January 19th, 2018. Now with a total of 35 brands, SIHH 2018 promises even more variety than in previous years.
The PF390 cylindrical caliber was created and produced wholly in house, save for the stones and hands — even the Breguet overcoil equilibrium spring has been produced by Parmigiani’s high-precision production subsidiary called Atokalpa. In the end of the 7-layer movement, we find the flying tourbillon that runs at an impressive 4Hz — no low-frequency conventional BS compromises there. The whole motion is made up of 302 components, a rather large component count for a wristwatch with just hours, minutes, and electricity reserve.Before the plates are black PVD coated, they get haute horlogerie grade hand finishing that entails beveled and hand polished edges on all the weird and unexpectedly complex, partially skeletonized plates and bridges, as well as on countersinks and wheel spokes. Despite the fact that Parmigiani has its own dial manufacture, they opted not to use one and rather went with a cool, skeletonized overlay frame.The case itself is a special creation as well and, having seen a number of past Parmigiani-Bugatti collaboration high-end bits, this truly is a development over those, akin to how the Chiron went beyond the Veyron’s aesthetics. It’s noticeably more angular and a far more aggressive looking thing, produced in 18k white or rose gold. Strong lines and lengthy, wide, sweeping curves match in the 42.2mm by 57.7millimeter case that, like all prior Bugatti watches, is unusually comfortable on the wrist.
You already know that SIHH is one of the two most important events for the watch industry, as its exhibitors – while much fewer than at the biggest industry trade show, Baselworld – represent many major and influential brands, and this is the time of year when they introduce their most important new products. Vis-à-vis Baselworld – where around 300 brands represent the breadth of the watch industry from high-end and mainstream to obscure startups – SIHH has always carefully maintained an image of exclusivity and “prestige.”
So, while a few brands do introduce models in the “mid-level luxury” range that the average person might be able to consider saving up for and possibly actually wearing… you can expect a lot of skeletonization, avant-garde designs, artisanal techniques and haute horology finishing, “high complications,” precious materials, and stratospheric prices. Haute horlogerie is in the name, after all. It has largely been a spectator’s show for fans of high-end watchmaking, but with recent industry trends emphasizing more “down-to-earth” (it’s all relative) models, some balance and variety can at least be hoped for.
SIHH 2018’s 35 Exhibiting Brands
The Richemont Group along with some independent brands long represented the handful of SIHH exhibitors. However, the show’s 2016 edition added a “Carré des Horlogers” section with nine “artisan-creators and independent workshops” and expanded that number in 2017. This year, the Carré des Horlogers brands are up to no fewer than 17, with the primary exhibitors (referred to as “Historic Maisons”) at 18 for a total, again, of 35. The primary exhibitors are joined by Hermes, and the Carré des Horlogers adds five brands with Armin Strom, DeWitt, Ferdinand Berthoud, Élégante by F.P.Journe, and Romain Gauthier. See the full list of exhibitors in the image above.
From a media perspective, Baselworld has tended to spread our resources very thinly in past years with simply too much to cover at once, so with some prominent brands having moved from Baselworld to SIHH, we can hope for some balance between the shows. Around 20,000 visitors are expected this year, and the FHH promises improved facilities and connectivity in order to make our job of bringing you high quality content more efficient – so we’ll see what that’s like in January. That’s just a glimpse into our point of view in preparing for the show.
We’ll continue providing news of new products ahead of the show – if mostly only renders and official product images from the brands with basic information before being able to see the watches in person to photograph and evaluate them in their glorious and gritty reality. SIHH 2018 runs from January 15th to the 19th, and again, the last day is open to the public with tickets on sale at the SIHH website. sihh.org
At SIHH 2017, Swiss Parmigiani debuted a new version of their best-selling Tonda 1950 collection with a moonphase-equipped variant known as the Parmigiani Tonda 1950 Lune. Offered in a a steel case, the watch seeks to blend value and complexity, for an attractive dress watch with some horological nerd appeal.
The watch industry today is facing a series of value crises. One of them is finding the right type of watch for the right type of price that today’s consumers are keen to purchase. Ending are the days of exotic high-complication mechanical watches that don’t seem to solve a need or fit any particular audience. Parmigiani and other brands have had to re-think their approach to blending simplicity with the mechanically fascinating, in luxury items best-suited for today’s buying environment when it is very much a buyer’s market.
For this review, Parmigiani kalpa watches Replica delivered us a Fleurier Pershing 005 using a stainless steel bracelet. The Pershing, is your brand’s collection of game watches. The curved case is finished with both polished and satin brushed surfaces. A large unidirectional rotating brushed steel bezel with triangular-shaped black vulcanized rubber notches is marked with ‘0-60’ which in combination with the extended central second hand may be used to browse the chronograph seconds, or like a conventional dive watch, it can be rotated and used as a 60-minute timer. Speaking of some diving watches, not just is the bezel reminiscent of a diver’s view, the case’s solid caseback and bending crown, which permit the timepiece to move 200 meters, are also. The large hour and minute hands that are coated with a generous number of luminous substance, are also something you may expect on a diver’s watch. On the other hand, the hour markers, which lack luminescence, communicate that this is much more of a sport watch than the usual diver.When you turnover the timepiece, you will observe an emblem of a Pershing yacht engraved into the case back, which explains why this version has so many dip watch cues.
The Tonda 1950 Lune is a safe bet playing on the cyclically popular theme of producing elegant time + moonphase watches. Of course here, the Tonda 1950 also has the date. Such watches are appealing because they are practical with just enough emotional appeal (the moonphase complication) to satisfy those who want to wear something that reminds them of why they love high-end watches, but isn’t overly decadent or excessive.
For whatever reason, I neglected to take pictures of the rear of the watch while meeting with Parmigiani back at SIHH 2017. This tends to happen in the overly-rushed atmosphere of trade show meetings. The movement inside of the Tonda 1950 Lune is the in-house made Parmigiani caliber PF708 automatic, which is of course lovely and visible through the sapphire crystal window on the back of the watch. The PF708 is a variant of the PF702 automatic which sits in the more simple time-only versions of the Tonda 1950 – though it adds a few complications and some thickness to the case.
The PF708 automatic movement is finely decorated and operates at 3Hz (21,600 bph) with 48 hours of power reserve. I’m not entirely sure why it isn’t a 4Hz movement, but these days that doesn’t seem to matter too much. The movement builds upon the time with subsidiary seconds layout of the PF702 by adding a date complication, along with a prominent moonphase indicator window under 12 o’clock. Parmigiani once again offers an “open” date window with a few visible numerals that looks like a small grin at the bottom of the dial. Detailing is excellent, but one must ask themselves whether the date window needed to be so large, as well as if it would not have looked more attractive with the date disc being darker in color to match the opaline black dial.
The moonphase indicator has a “double window” which means both halves of the moonphase indicator disk are visible. This looks cool but offers limited utility. The idea is that you can see the phase of the moon as it looks in both the northern and southern hemisphere of Earth. This is neat, but of course they are simple mirror images of one another. Thus, this is mostly an aesthetic choice as opposed to something which is really practical. With that said, few people argue that a moonphase indicator window is practical – as this complication is mostly emotional (and pretty).
One design wrinkle that I actually like is the added text around the moonphase indicator window (the moon representations are in rose gold) which allows you to better read the information. You not only get a lower scale of the number of days left for that moon cycle, but also “New, First Quarter, Full, and Last Quarter” markers for the phase of the moon. Assuming the watch keeps running, the moonphase indicator only needs to be adjusted once every three years. Not the most accurate on the market, but it isn’t as though collectors are clamoring for ultra-precise moonphase indicators – for them it is all about the sex appeal of the look. Some people will surely complain that this is simply unnecessary text on the dial – they have a point. With that said, there are so many moonphase complication watches on the market that offering something just a bit different and interesting to the eye is a virtue for Parmigiani.
Like the standard three hand Tonda 1950, the Tonda 1950 Lune has a 39.1mm wide round case – which looks great, isn’t too small, and has lots of distinctive Parmigiani brand DNA in the design. Given the added module for the complications, the case is about 2mm thicker at 9.6mm in total thickness with 30 meters of water resistance. This actually helps the watch feel a bit more substantial for those who feel that 39mm wide is on the smaller side of what they typically prefer. Like I said, as a dress watch with some masculine appeal, the Tonda 1950 Lune is a logical choice.
Another design difference to help compensate for the thicker case is a larger crown, which assists with the feeling of harmonious proportions overall. Over the dial is a domed sapphire crystal – which like many domed sapphire crystals does suffer from some glare due to a lack of top-applied AR-coating. Parmigiani is by no means alone in not putting AR-coating on the top side of a crystal (even though the bottom side has it). They fear that the coating will scratch off and that the watch will then look bad. This is actually less of a problem these days, and I’m increasingly putting pressure on brands to address the issue of glare by getting vigilant with their suppliers. This needs to end in the area of high-end timepieces. An end to glare (for all who care)!
On the wrist, the Tonda 1950 Lune is comfortable and attractive with its black alligator Hermès strap. As a dress watch, it is soothing on the eyes but also a bit different, which is good. It also has some masculinity to it which I feel is important to note since the Tonda 1950 is both a men’s and women’s model – and the Lune is more for men only in my opinion.
The debut model of the Tonda 1950 Lune is the reference PFC284-0001400-XA1442. In steel, this is the only model available now, and you can tell that Parmigiani is curious and unsure of how it will do in the market (which is totally understandable in this market environment). Assuming it does well, I expect to see more dial color versions – but I think the decision to keep it in steel is a good one. However, I think a polished titanium dress watch would be even more interesting. Price for the Parmigiani Tonda 1950 Lune is $12,900. parmigiani.com