The watch’s movement is made of 18K rose gold, which significantly complicates the production process. Everything from milling the plates to finishing the bridges is more difficult than it is with more typical movement material, usually brass or nickel. The machines have to be recalibrated; thus, everything takes longer. In the end, it is worth it, though, as the results are stunning.
This is Parmigiani’s first integrated chronograph, a feat that cannot be underestimated, especially considering many watch companies will never reach this pinnacle. Adding a chronograph module on top of an existing base movement is the most common alternative to an integrated chronograph. This solution, however, adds thickness to the overall movement and — to many watch aficionados — is far less “pure” than building a movement as a chronograph from the start as opposed to adding that function as an afterthought.
In addition to being an integrated chronograph, the watch has a split-seconds function as well, which is far more complicated to manufacture. Moreover, it uses a vertical clutch in combination with dual column wheels, one for the chronograph and the other for the split-seconds function. A column-wheel chronograph operates more smoothly than a cam-operated one, and a vertical clutch is more accurate, and has less jitter when starting and stopping, than a horizontal clutch. Needless to say, Parmigiani’s configuration uses the most premium configuration.
The balance beats at 5Hz (36,000 vph), which allows for a chronograph that can measure times with 1/10th-second precision.
Another notable design feature is that the balance bridge is the cross-through type with two connection points, which reduces the chance of affecting the movement accuracy due to shocks versus a balance assembly with a single connection point.
Using the ”grand feu“ enamel technique, the dial — blue on our review model, also available in white — further adds to the craftsmanship and luxuriousness of the each timepiece.
The Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda Chronor Anniversaire is presented in a 42.1 mm x 14.6 mm, fully polished case. It has a 7.2-mm crown and is water-resistant to 30 meters. The back is engraved with the individual number.
Rose gold Delta-shaped hands with a luminescent coating indicate the hours and minutes. The pointed, faceted hours indices are 18K gold and have been polished to stand out against the background of the dial. Just inside the hour chapter ring are chronograph minute, seconds, and tachymeter scales, all added during the enamel-dial production process. At 6 o’clock is a double-sided small seconds hand that continuously rotates. At 9 and 3 o’clock are the 12-hour and 30-minute chronograph counters, respectively. And at 12 o’clock is a large, double aperture date display.
The Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda Chronor Anniversaire is available in four configurations: in addition to the model we reviewed with white gold case and blue dial, there is a version with white-gold case and white dial, a rose-gold case with white dial, and a rose-gold case with blue dial. A black or brown Hermès alligator leather strap, with Ardillon buckle matching the case, finishes off each piece. Each version is limited to 25 pieces.
Producing an integrated chronograph is a huge breakthrough for any watch manufacture. The fact that Parmigiani has accomplished this feat should be no surprise, however, as it is one of the most vertically integrated high-end watch companies in the world.