Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda Reine de Mai
The Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda Reine de Mai features a handcrafted dial suffused with mother-of-pearl, handcrafted flowers and numerous diamonds. Convenience is afforded with an automatic movement, the PF310, finished to the Maison’s exacting standards. The watch is housed in an 18-carat rose gold case, paired with a bracelet festooned with hundreds of high quality diamonds.
Parmigiani Fleurier is a paragon of fine watchmaking. Unusually, it makes every single component found on its watches, save for the sapphire crystals, rubies and Hermès straps. This is highly unusual, differentiating the company from many of its competitors who often procure parts from third parties.
Throughout its history, the firm has made most, if not all, complications. Indeed, in recent months it unveiled the Hijiri Perpetual Calendar, a supremely complicated wristwatch featuring an Islamic calendar. Technically speaking, the Swiss marque’s horological virtuosity knows no bounds.
Michel Parmigiani, the eponymous founder of the company, is an aesthete. He designs his watches with much consideration afforded to proportions, lines and curves. He is also an ardent follower of the golden ratio, an approach he adopts when designing watches.
Another facet of the brand is the restoration of automata, clocks and watches. The firm sympathetically restores horological artefacts, ensuring their originality is preserved. As part of this work, the firm has an expertise in artistic crafts, engaging both internal and external artisans. Parmigiani Fleuerier has a deep understanding of enamelling, gem-setting, guilloché and an array of other artistic crafts, utilising these skills when restoring historical items.
The brand does not limit the use of artistic crafts merely to objects from the past. For example, just a few years ago, it created the Parmigiani Tonda Woodrock and Tonda Woodstock, musical-themed watches encompassing wooden marquetry. This Swiss firm made them with the help of local artisan, Bastien Chevalier. The appearance of these watches was exceptional.
Now, the brand has released the Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda Reine de Mai, a gem-set ladies’ watch encompassing an array of artistic techniques. This model presents Haute Horlogerie with métiers d’art in glorious union.
Price: CHF 109,000 (RRP as at 30.9.2020)
The brand’s press release
Parmigiani Fleurier continues to showcase its dedication to métiers d’art and high watchmaking with the launch of the Tonda Reine de Mai collection. Inspired by the bucolic landscape in Switzerland surrounding its manufactures and the ﬂowers found there, it combines Parmigiani Fleurier’s commitment to in-house manufacturing, ﬁne ﬁnishing, and artistry. Nature and the beauty of the golden ratio are enduring sources of inspiration, and the Manufacture uses a wide array of artistic techniques to bring them to life in this release, including hand-chiselling, hand-diamond-setting, hand-polishing, hand-sandblasting, and marquetry.
The Tonda Reine de Mai features a beautiful bouquet of mother-of-pearl, rose gold, and diamond-set ﬂowers, akin to the snow-white Daisy May buds often seen into late Summer. Machined to achieve their perfect shape, they are ﬁnished by hand before being placed atop a white mother-of-pearl dial comprised of 23 diﬀerent marquetry elements. The six mother-of-pearl ﬂowers are particularly challenging to decorate, as the material is quite delicate and fragile. The base of each ﬂower is sandblasted by hand; then, each petal is polished and engraved by expert artisan hands resulting in varied matte and polished ﬁnishing that give more depth and dimension. The dial features an additional six Daisy May ﬂowers, three in rose gold with alternating polished and engraved petals, and three in white gold and handset with 117 diamonds. This brilliance and texture give subtle depth to the unique dial making it seems as if the ﬂowers overlapped like they would in nature. Each dial takes 24 hours to craft and requires the work of many artisans skilled in diﬀerent métiers d’art. This version is limited to ﬁve pieces, and each dial is slightly diﬀerent as the bouquet is placed at diﬀerent angles on each one.
The Tonda Reine de Mai is powered by the PF310 automatic movement, which Parmigiani Fleurier created in 2014 in its vertically integrated manufacture. It adheres to the strict codes of craftsmanship and ﬁnishing that the atelier is revered for, as well as Michel Parmigiani’s penchant for creating a secret for the wearer. The movement is impeccably ﬁnished, and features signatures like Côtes de Genève stripes, perlage and bevelled bridges. For the ﬁrst time, it features a 22K gold rotor that is as highly decorated as the dial and, with 20 hours of work required for each one, it takes nearly as long to create. It is hand-chiselled in a delicate motif that accentuates four mother-of-pearl Daisy May ﬂowers, a precise, time-consuming technique that is rarely seen on a rotor. The ﬂowers are crafted with the same methods as those on the dial, featuring sandblasted and polished surfaces, as well as engraved details, all done by hand. It is a true secret for the wearer and it illustrates Parmigiani Fleurier’s dedication to excellence and the level of attention to detail paid to every element of a timepiece, even those rarely seen. This stunning rotor means the entire watch is like a jewel, and it is clear that each component was designed to be beautiful from every angle. While beautiful, the movement is still robust, revered for its accuracy. The watch is also water-resistant to 30 meters and has a power reserve of 50 hours, expertly uniting mechanical watchmaking and métiers d’art.
The bezel, lugs, and bracelet are fully diamond set with the highest-quality F-G near colourless, and internally ﬂawless and VVS- stones, not often seen in watchmaking. The 36mm rose gold case features a crown with a white opal cabochon; it is polished and set with 70 diamonds totalling 2.09 carats, while the bracelet is meticulously set with 906 diamonds totalling 9.22 carats. The bracelet is beautifully integrated to the case thanks to its teardrop-shaped lugs, a Parmigiani Fleurier trademark, and was carefully designed to ensure great comfort.