Meet the Parmigiani Tonda 1950 Tourbillon. Not a new watch per se – it made its official debut last year – but definitely one worthy of your attention. Deceptively simple in appearance the Tonda 1950 Tourbillon claimed the crown for the world’s thinnest automatic flying tourbillon movement at the time of its release. Recently I had a chance to spend a bit of time with it on the wrist and let me tell you, this one was hard to give back.
The Tonda 1950 Tourbillon
Chances are you’ve at least heard of the Parmigiani name before, even if you’re not overly familiar with them. Within their relatively short history of 20 years or so the manufacturer has done some pretty amazing things, especially for other brands. It has only been in more recent years that the company has really started to focus on growing its own timepiece offering. This is good news for the likes of you and I. It means there are more top quality watches out there from a highly reputable brand that not everyone knows or has in their collection already.
The Tonda 1950 Tourbillon is admittedly a rather extreme example of this. I believe it proves my point all the same though. In total there are five different dial variations available, including one with a very unique-looking black jade dial. Personally though the “Abyss Blue” dial (pictured) decorated with Geneva stripes in the rose gold case is my favorite. Call me old school but I just like things that are simple and really, really well executed.
Perfectly sized for a dress watch at 40.2mm the Tonda 1950 Tourbillon sits comfortably on the wrist and will complement just about any suit and shirt you pair it with. Best of all the 18ct rose gold case is only 8.65mm thick so you don’t have to worry about the watch jutting out from your wrist and hitting something (like a door frame – it happens people). Don’t let the undersized proportions fool you though, this watch is still very much an eye-catcher.
The focus of the dial is not surprisingly the very cool – and very thin – flying tourbillon, the cage of which is suspended on a single lower support. Created from titanium it is impressively lightweight at just 0.255g. Keep in mind also that titanium is a flammable material and extremely difficult to machine at this scale. Now you’re starting to see just how much work went into perfecting this miniature mechanical marvel. Did I mention the entire automatic movement itself is just 3.4mm thick?
The Time Is 7:08am
You will notice also that the tourbillon has been placed off-centre, which I would say is relatively unusual for a watch with this type of design aesthetic. Normally you would expect to see it at 6 o’clock but on the Tonda 1950 Tourbillon we find it at 7 o’clock instead. According to the brand this is a subtle way of paying homage to Parmigiani founder, Michael Parmigiani, who was born at exactly 7:08. As such the tourbillon has been placed to the left of centre, just after the 7 o’clock index. The tourbillon’s orientation meanwhile is determined by an angle corresponding to 07:08, and highlighted by a red applique around the edge of the seconds. Personally I think it looks great and makes this special watch just that little bit more distinctive.
Turn the watch over and you’re greeted with a Parmigiani trademark – a beautifully finished movement. The in-house caliber PF517 to be precise. My favorite part is the delicately engraved self-winding micro-rotor made from platinum. The ever popular Côtes de Genève decoration adorns the movement’s bridges with a stunning circular arc design adding the perfect finishing flourish to the otherwise very understated Tonda 1950 Tourbillon. To complete the look the watch is accompanied by an indigo blue alligator leather strap made by Hermès and paired with an 18ct rose gold buckle.
Pricing for the model photographed is set at US$130,000.
For more information on the Tonda 1950 Tourbillon please visit www.parmigiani.ch
Specifications: Parmigiani Tonda 1950 Tourbillon “Blue Abyss”
Case: 40.20mm x 8.65mm in 18ct rose gold (white gold also available)
Dial: “Blue Abyss” with rose gold plated appliques with luminescent coating and Côtes de Genève finishing (4 other dial variations available, including mother of pearl)
Movement: Calibre PF 517, self-winding with micro rotor 14 3/4 ligne, 3.4 mm thick.
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, 60 second tourbillon, 42 hour power reserve.
Strap: Hermès Indigo blue Alligator with 18ct Rose Gold Ardillon buckle.