Benefiting from the digital version of Watches & Wonders 2020, Parmigiani Fleurier has just presented the Toric Tourbillon Slate with a flying tourbillon at 7 o’clock, framed by a beautifully decorated dial and case. A hybrid of sorts, the Toric Tourbillon Slate appropriates the shell of the Toric watch family but is powered by its in-house, ultra-slim automatic flying tourbillon with micro-rotor, first seen inside the Tonda 1950 Tourbillon five years ago. Let’s take a closer look at this new and elegant piece.
Degrees of thin
Although Parmigiani does not openly engage in the ongoing battle to produce the thinnest watches on the market today, it is a worthy contender in the line-up of ultra-thin flying tourbillons. The first appearance of Parmigiani’s Automatic Flying Tourbillon was in 2015 inside an elegant 1950 Tonda case. This particular Tonda model took home the title of the ‘thinnest automatic flying tourbillon with micro-rotor’ powered by a movement just 3.4mm thick. The nuances are important, as you’ll see when we compare it to other ultra-thin tourbillon models.
The current title for the world’s thinnest automatic tourbillon watch is held by the Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic. Coming in with an anorexic movement thickness of just 1.95mm, Bvlgari’s watch depends on a peripheral rotor for its power. The movement inside the Parmigiani model is thicker at 3.4mm but is powered by a platinum micro-rotor and the tourbillon is of the flying variety, not fixed in place by bridges. Closer in specs to Piaget’s Altiplano FlyingTourbillon model, the difference here is that the Altiplano relies on a manual-winding mechanism (no need for a rotor and generally thinner than automatics).
The Toric Tourbillon Slate that has just been officially presented is a hybrid. When clock and watch restorer Michel Parmigiani turned his hand to producing his own watch in 1996 for the fledgling Parmigiani brand, the result was the Toric. Bristling with references to Ancient Greece, Michel Parmigiani’s Toric watch was designed using the Golden Ratio (also known as Phi, in honour of the Greek sculptor Phidias who applied this ratio to design his sculptures). This watch was reissued recently and also launched in a slate grey version, close in style to today’s model. Although the new watch retains the elaborate external features of the Toric, the movement is the same one used onboard the Tonda 1950 Tourbillon: calibre PF517.
Case and dial
The three-part case of the Toric Tourbillon Slate is crafted in 18k red gold, polished with the hallmark knurled bezel and sloping lugs. The diameter is 42.8mm and the profile is 9.45mm. This is slightly larger and thicker than the original Tonda 1950 Tourbillon, which measured 40.2mm x 8.65mm. Like other Toric Chronomètre models, the dial is decorated with a hypnotic rice grain guilloché pattern that mimics the concentric patterns that can be found on a pine cone (Fibonacci spiral).
Executed entirely by hand, the slate grey background is offset with applied red gold Arabic numerals and elegant, partially skeletonised, golden javelin-style hour and minute hands with luminescent tips. The 60-second tourbillon is off-centred at 7 o’clock and an external track doubles up as a small seconds indicator. The flying tourbillon cage is reputedly one of the lightest cages. Weighing just 0.255 grams, it is crafted from titanium.
The sapphire crystal caseback reveals the in-house PF517 automatic extra-thin flying tourbillon movement. Like all Parmigiani watches, the movement is beautifully decorated and features circular Côtes de Genève, hand-bevelled bridges and a barleycorn guilloché engraving on the platinum micro-rotor. With 207 parts, a 3Hz frequency and a power reserve of 48h, the movement measures 32mm diameter and has an ultra-thin height of 3.4mm.
Strap, Availability and Price
The Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Tourbillon Slate in 18k red gold comes with a Havana alligator strap made for Parmigiani by Hermès (one of the few things that is outsourced by the brand) and is attached to the wrist with a red gold pin buckle. The model is a limited edition of 25 pieces and will retail for CHF 130,000. For more information, please consult parmigiani.com.