The Parigiani Tonda Hemispheres is *all* Parmigiani. As a vertically-integrated manufacture, Parmigiani takes pride in buying as little as possible from outside suppliers. How serious is company founder Michel Parmigiani about self-sufficiency? No less a clientele than BVLGARI, Chopard, and Richard Mille has come to Parmigiani for watchmaking assistance.
And not many brands have the enormous scope of competence to build every part of a watch as substantial as this 42mm rose gold Parmigiani Tonda Hemispheres. Parmigiani builds the Hemispheres with a rose gold case, dial, hands, movement, and clasp of its own design and manufacture. Each of the companies within the Parmigiani orbit is local to the watchmaker’s Fleurier base of operations, and each is expert in its individual craft.
The Tonda’s 18-karat rose gold case is an extraordinary assembly of gentle curves, expressive teardrop lugs, and outstanding hand-finshed details. Its bezel segues into a dial of ivory metallic tones that features two textures an innumerable nuances. The sunken center of the dial exhibits a gentle grained surface that Parmigiani describes as “velvet,” and it looks the part. Unique “delta” hands impart an individualistic character to the Tonda Hemisphere’s face, and exquisitely finished sundials reveal that no expense has been spared to create an impressive composition.
Within the subdial at 12 o’clock, the Parmigiani Tonda Hemispheres keeps track of a second independent time zone. Unlike most dual-time watches, the Tonda Hemispheres permits the user to set both hours AND minutes independently from the local time at the center of the dial. This thoughtful refinement acknowledges the reality that many time zones differ by from each other by fractions of hours and not standardized one-hour increments. AM/PM indicators are present to clarify the precise time of day in both local and reference time zones.
Inside the 18-karat rose gold case, Parmigiani equips the Tonda Hemispheres with an in-house (naturally) caliber PF337 automatic movement. Its impressively-finished rose gold winding rotor pivots on high-efficiency ceramic bearings, which are maintenance-free and sealed for life. Additional technology is evident in the serious-coupled twin mainspring barrels that provide a 50-hour power reserve and outstanding torque to run all complications with precision for the full duration of the reserve.
The movement finish reveals more than engineering acumen; this is a beautifully crafted caliber. Cotes de Geneve on the bridges, tight perlage on the base plate, and mirror-grade anglage on all cambered edges reveals the pride and skill of Parmigiani’s Fleurier-based artisans.
Ironically, for a watchmaker that takes pride in building all aspects of a watch “in-house,” Parmigiani leaves one critical component in the hands of a contractor: Hermes. The saddle manufacturer to royalty and global power elite crafts every Parmigiani strap from a combination of hides; the Parmigiani Tonda Hemispheres features a sublime blend of brown alligator leather and an interior lining of silken saddle calf-leather. With a partner like Hermes, it’s no wonder Parmigiani has stayed out of the strap business.
See this striking and sophisticated Parmigiani Tonda Hemispheres in high-resolution images on www.watchuwant.com.
Video and content by Tim Mosso