Parmigiani Fleurier - The Celebration of the Lunar Rainbow
“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 are 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.
Taking its name from its founder, watchmaker and restorer Michel Parmigiani, the fine watchmaking brand was founded in 1996 in Fleurier, in the Swiss valley of Val-de-Travers. With its own watchmaking centre ensuring its independence, the brand has both full control over the production process and unique creative freedom. For over twenty years, the Parmigiani Fleurier signature has resided within timepieces that command the utmost respect, in harmony with watchmaking traditions. They are the labour of a lifetime – that of Michel Parmigiani, the talented individuals who assist him, and the special relationship between the Manufacture and the masterpieces of the past, enabling it to invent a bold future.
The radiant Tonda 1950 Double Rainbow Flying Tourbillon represents the culmination of four prior achievements in watchmaking made by the brand that are now combined in a single piece destined for greatness.
In typical Parmigiani Fleurier style, keen attention has been paid to every detail of this masterpiece, both inside and out. Inspired in part by the Tonda 1950 Rainbow watch unveiled in 2019, this new timepiece brings the allure of a double rainbow – the brand’s first -- to the forefront of the wrist.
The 18-karat rose gold 40.20mm haute horology watch highlights the beauty of Earth’s colors thanks to two rainbows of baguette-cut gemstones. Blue, pink, orange and yellow sapphires, rubies, tsavorites, and amethysts adorn the bezel and the inner dial. The bezel alone is set with 40 baguette-cut gemstones weighing 2.59 carats, while the inner dial is set with a additional31 baguettes in mirror effect.
Parmigiani Fleurier’s master gemsetters went to great lengths to emulate the natural phenomenon of a rainbow on the bezel, and then brought it to new heights by creating a second reverse reflection of the hues as a rainbow outlining the inner crescent-shaped aventurine starry-night dial. Furthermore, incredible care went into the selection of the finest stones, each in the perfect hue, to offer two full-gradient rainbows on a single watch. The meticulous art of setting them required dozens of hours of painstaking and precise craftsmanship.
The lower crescent edge of the aventurine dial almost cradles the round flying tourbillon positioned at 7:00 – a nod to Michel Parmigiani, master watchmaker, restorer extraordinaire and founder of the brand, who was born at 7:08 am on December 2, 1950.
A study of style and elegance, the Tonda 1950 Double Rainbow Flying Tourbillon features a backdrop dial that is entirely snow set with 572 diamonds painstakingly set in different sizes of brilliant-cut diamonds selected by a master stone-setter for dazzling appeal. The diamonds are smaller on the periphery and gradually get bigger as they near the case’s curves. Each of the stones has a role to play, evoking glittering snow and blending harmoniously with the sub dial’s aventurine constellation.
Complete with 207 individually finished and hand-assembled parts, the movement is equipped with a platinum micro-rotor and was developed entirely in house by the brand’s master watchmakers. The caliber, with circular Cotes de Genève finishes and bevelled bridges, is actually integrated into the movement’s main plate in order to make it as thin as possible: just 3.4mm thick. This ultra-thin achievement is no easy feat and may not have been possible if not for the fact that Parmigiani Fleurier is a totally vertically integrated Manufacture.
Naturally, Parmigiani Fleurier would not build such a stunning masterpiece without ensuring its peerless finish from movement to case, dial and 18-karat rose gold bracelet or Hermes alligator strap. The compelling watch is also water resistant to 30 meters.