Based in Val-de-Travers, Switzerland Parmigiani Fleurier is a watch manufacture that can produce every component of a timepiece in-house.
Their expertise is vast, thanks to an entity they control called Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier which produces watch components for not only their own watch label but also anonymously for some of the world’s top watchmaking brands. As a testament to the quality that comes out of the Fleurier region, Hermès invested $26 million in Vaucher in 2006 and owns a 25% stake in the company. Parmigiani Fleurier, which is owned by the Sandoz Family Foundation, owns the other 75%.
With that said, Parmigiani Fleurier is one of the most respected watchmaking companies in high horology — that you may have never heard of. They make high-end watches in low quantities and will never be mainstream like Rolex or Breitling. Still, they clearly see how popular rainbow-themed watches. Breitling debuted a rainbow watch last week and Rolex has created a few over the years as well.
Whether Parmigiani tapped into a design that’s on-trend more for marketing purposes or to show off their expertise — we don’t know. What’s clear is they’ve expertly combined a gorgeous high jewelry piece, a handmade Hermès strap, and Fleurier’s famed watchmaking craftsmanship. The result is a timepiece that although clearly very fashionable — with its multi-colored gemstones, solid rose gold case, and red ember strap with solid rose gold pin buckle — is the kind of extraordinary product that will likely transcend trends.
The Tonda 1950 Tourbillon Double Rainbow (Ref. PFH279-1064600-HA2121) is presented in a polished 18K rose gold case measuring 40.2 mm by just 9.4 mm, with dual rainbow gemstone settings — one around the bezel of the case and the other encircling the off-center dial. In between the rainbow bezel (made of 40 multi-color sapphires) and the hours and minutes display (32 multi-color sapphires). Further accentuating the dial is a lavish mixture of 572 pave-set clear and blue diamonds (1.402 carats). Applied on top of the clear diamonds are 11 gold indices marking the hours, with a 60-second tourbillion in place of a marker at 7 o’clock. Large skeletonized Delta-shaped hands indicate the hours and minutes and a blue hand on the tourbillon points to the seconds and a rose gold track with black graduations around the tourbillon.
Animating the hours, minutes, and seconds tourbillon is a 3Hz automatic caliber PF517 which features a platinum micro-rotor and a flying tourbillon, 207 components, 29 jewels, and a 48-hour power reserve. At 3.4 mm, the movement is ultra-thin, thanks to the micro-rotor design and the decision to integrate the gear train within the mainplate. Each movement is, of course, finished to Haute horology standards with perlage on the mainplate (front and back), circular Geneva stripes, polished screw heads, and hand-chamfered and polished edges on the movement bridges.
This is a true artisanal masterpiece of jewelry, leathermaking, and watchmaking. No detail has been massed produced. And the retail price of $178,000 might actually be worth it — something you won’t hear us say very often, especially in the six-figure realm.
Photos by Parmigiani Fleurier.