As a pre-SIHH treat, details have just been released of the Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda Retrograde Annual Calendar watch. There is a certain voluptuousness about the timepieces produced by Parmigiani - curvesome shapes, convex silhouettes, generous hands, tactile tear-drop lugs and that unique oval logo - none are more curvy than the satisfyingly rounded case of the Parmigiani Tonda collection. With a host of dial indications, the Tonda Retrograde Annual Calendar is not just handsome - it's clever too.
The Annual Calendar module contained within the piece will quite happily use its marvellous mechanical memory to recognise the variations of each month, with the quirky exception of February, needing only minimum intervention by the wearer. This one uses a retrograde display on the outer edge of the dial to show the dates - only the odd numbers appear - chubby little Arabic numerals, clean and precise. The days of the week are at 9 o'clock, the months of the year, in number format are at 3, each display is readable and uncluttered. The brand's signature moonphase is at 6 o'clock, an exquisite slightly retro twin display, one indication for the Northern Hemisphere, the other for the Southern Hemisphere.
Two editions are available, one with silver dial and one with a charcoal dial. As with all Parmigiani models the meticulous details are excellent, the subtle textured dial centre is separated from the plain outer dial with a fine line which bulges slightly to accomodate the indications, slender hour markers which begin as shortened batons at the upper dial, ending as elongated, sharpened whisker-slim markers at the lower dial to balance the two halves - minutiae which make each Parmigiani watch special. The piece measures 40mm across and is available in white gold or rose gold case, with a sapphire crystal case back for a look-see at the PF 331 Calibre inside.
In 2003 Parmigiani separated their movement manufacturing division from its main business, naming it Vaucher Manufacture. Hermès acquired 25% of Vaucher in 2006, an aquisition which has enabled La Montre Hermès realise its horological ambitions and one which provides Parmigiani with a supply of luxurious Hermès leather straps. The Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda Retrograde Annual Calendar comes presented on a fine Hermès alligator leather strap with 18 carat gold buckle - this piece deserves no less.
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