Tonda 1950 Squelette: an invitation to explore mechanics
Uncovering the heart of its Tonda for the world to see, Parmigiani Fleurier reveals an elegant movement and components with a quality finish.
I turned it over and over, scrutinized its skeletonized movement to my heart's content and finally found what I was looking for – the detail that incarnates the elegance and finish quality of the Tonda 1950 Squelette by Parmigiani Fleurier. I saw it through the sapphire glass – a tiny metal tip that seemed to indicate the minuscule wheel axis. It is extremely slim and it looks like it is hovering in space. When I turned the watch over, on the dial side I found that it is one of the rhodium-plated indexes applied on the flange at 5 o'clock.
A set of re-entrant angles
Of course, I could have picked something more striking, such as the light fluctuations on the chamfered bridges decorated with drawn lines. I could have chosen to focus on the white luminescent lacquer that coats the hands thus offering perfect readability, or even on the aperture shaped like the petal of a lotus at 9 o'clock through which the engraved mass of the micro-rotor is revealed. I could have even devoted my attention to the impressive set of re-entrant angles that have most probably required all the patience and skills of the watchmaker. But instead of to old orthodox watchmaking, my eyes were drawn to the tip of the index at 5 o'clock that can be seen through the transparent caseback.
The piece’s delicate skeletonization reveals the quality of the in-house caliber PF705 that is only 2.6mms thick. It's a work of art, a mechanical masterpiece that gives us an urge to understand and hence makes us follow the path of the energy, like a treasure hunt, through the 39mms of the white gold case.
Let's start at 10 o'clock with the swinging of the platinum micro-rotor. It is engraved on both sides and the bottom part features the tear drops, a characteristic of the brand's lugs. If the watch is gently tilted from left to right, the user can see it drive the gears that push its kinetic energy to the barrel at 2 o'clock. The exposed spring can almost act as a power reserve indicator as it is obviously stretched to a maximum: the watch is quickly stopped when its stretched blade allows light to filter through and it is perfectly wound when it is rolled up, like a metal disk. We continue our visual inspection with the three hour, minutes and seconds wheels, up to the regulating organ. The oscillation of the balance and its spring, as well as the movement of the two rubies that play alternately with the teeth of the escapement wheel are almost a hypnotic sight to behold.
Introduced by Parmigiani Fleurier at the 2015 SIHH, the Tonda 1950 Squelette is comfortable to wear. Its subtle elegance stems from both the classic streamlined lines of its case that balance the spectacular look of the movement and the brand’s signature lugs that add to the watch's ergonomics. The alligator strap produced by Hermès is closed by a pin buckle engraved with the Parmigiani Fleurier monogram.