TONDA 1950 MOONBOW – a Celebration of the Lunar Rainbow by Parmigiani Fleurier
A flying tourbillon shines amid an aventurine sky, adorned by a gem-studded rainbow to make up the ultra-thin Tonda 1950 Moonbow, a new timepiece presented by Parmigiani Fleurier.
« Whoever learns to observe acquires art. » These words, taught to young Michel Parmigiani by his father, summarize the philosophy of the Parmigiani Fleurier manufacture. The Tonda 1950 Moonbow draws inspiration from two phenomena only apparent to a careful observer and re-imagines a lunar rainbow, or moonbow, on the bezel and a spiral galaxy on the dial.
Its flying tourbillon is reminiscent of a spiral galaxy and dances amid celestial beings on an aventurine sky, carefully placed at seven o’clock, a nod to Michel Parmigiani’s birth on December 2, 1950 at 7:08 am. The development of an ultra-thin tourbillon movement is a challenge for any watchmaker. Parmigiani Fleurier found a solution by integrating a platinum micro-rotor into the plate of the movement, resulting in a caliber only 3.4 mm thick. In addition, it is hand-finished with the most admirable decorations in the brand’s manufacture.
This magnificent example of mechanical engineering is further highlighted by a bezel featuring a colorful array of precious stones representing a moonbow, a nocturnal weather phenomenon rarely seen. Incredible care went into the selection of the finest stones, each in the perfect hue, to offer a truly gradient rainbow, with subtle changes in between colors.
The meticulous art of setting them required dozens of hours of painstaking and precise craftsmanship. Blue, pink, orange and yellow sapphires, rubies, tsavorites, and amethysts make up the 40 baguette-cut gemstones seen on the bezel and weighing 2.59 carats.
When Michel Parmigiani founded his restoration workshop in 1976, he did not imagine that, 20 years later, it would be at the heart of a watch brand bearing his name. Parmigiani Fleurier’s achievements continuously inspired by lessons of the past, and offer new solutions to historical, technical challenges.
The restoration of a songbird cage, with fountain and flute sets, dating from the early 19th century, is a great example. The cage is suspended in the air by a clock on its base and features a dial that can only be seen from below. According to historical records, aventurine glass was once used to decorate the panels of this clock but went missing in the past and was replaced by blue metallic paint. As a result, and in order to avoid similar damage in the future, Michel Parmigiani decided to use this beautiful material for its dials only. The sapphire crystal acts as its keeper and protector.
The Tonda 1950 Moonbow is available with a red, blue or gold Hermès leather strap.
The lunar calendar in all its glory
Two years after it first appeared, Parmigiani Fleurier is updating the aesthetic of the Tonda 1950 Lune with a model featuring a slate dial and a second design with round diamonds on the bezel. Both showcase the poetry of the “lunar calendar” complication which illuminates their dial with a new layout. Behind this harmony, it is easy to forget the sheer mechanical complexity required to create an ultra-thin self-winding movement which comprises so many time indications. The Tonda 1950 Lune is both a technical and beautiful tour de force.
Tonda 1950 Lune with slate dial
With a rose gold case matched with a slate colour dial, this Tonda 1950 Lune is the epitome of the classic elegant watch. The lunar calendar, displaying the two hemispheres, is located at 10 o’clock instead of its previous position at 12 o’clock. This offset layout balances the date at 3 o’clock, the logo at 1 o’clock, and the small seconds window at 6 o’clock. All of the time indications are structured to create a pleasingly harmonious dial.
Tonda 1950 Lune with diamonds
On the other hand, the Tonda 1950 Lune with diamonds features a rose gold case, a mother of pearl dial, a beautiful complement to the light which plays across the precious stones – a combination which cannot fail to enthral. Additional touches adorn the piece, such as the moon at 10 o’clock which is set in the middle of a starry sky, and the gold outline around the date window at 4 o’clock. Lastly, the dial has been made smaller to accommodate a slightly broader bezel, allowing larger diamonds to be set within it, offering exceptional sparkle and brilliance, unlike any other.
The calibre PF708
The Tonda 1950 Lune owes its slender proportions to its calibre, the PF708, a mechanism combining precision and reliability with automatic winding thanks to its platinum micro-rotor. Its elements have been carefully arranged on the main plate to ensure the various time indications are harmoniously displayed. As is standard practice at Parmigiani Fleurier, and one of its hallmarks, it boasts hand-applied finishes and bevelled bridges. Its sublime structure is complemented by “Côtes de Genève” decoration.
Interviewed by Pascal Grenacher