In 2010 Parmigiani Fleurier’s Tonda Hémisphères became the Swiss watchmaker’s premiere dual-time model, with an innovative two-dial, single movement solution used to display two separate time zones, each adjustable with its own crown.
Unusually, that watch allowed the wearer to adjust both minutes and hours in a second time zone, a technically difficult step that separates the watch from ordinary GMT models where only the hour hand can be adjusted.
This week Parmigiani Fleurier has extended that technical fluency to its knurled-bezel, round-cased Toric collection, the very first design released by company founder and master watchmaker Michel Parmigiani in 1996.
As with the earlier Tonda dual-timer, this new Toric Hémisphères Rétrograde allows the wearer to pair any two locations, corrected to the nearest minute. It even allows those locations with a half-hour or quarter-hour difference to be paired with full hour times set from the Greenwich meridian.
Here’s how it works: A module is indexed to the main movement in order to govern the second time zone. By pulling out the smaller of the two crowns, at 2 o'clock, the module is disengaged from the movement, meaning that it can be adjusted independently of the second time zone, to the nearest minute. When the crown is pressed back in, the movement and the module re-engage and the second time zone is re-indexed to the first so that they operate simultaneously with the desired interval.
The larger crown (at 4 o'clock) is used to wind the movement, set the primary time and set the date. Each of the time zones is associated with a window, which provides the day/night indication so that the time of day can be read in an instant for each time zone.
Inside the watch is Parmigiani’s own Caliber PF 317, now built with the rapid retrograde date function that gives the watch its name. Parmigiani Fleurier says this retrograde date hand flips so fast to the number 1 that the eye will not be able to see it move. This self-winding movement has a double series-mounted barrel with a power reserve of fifty hours.
Parmigiani Fleurier has coated the hands of the main time zone with SuperLuminova to make them highly visible and to contrast with the hands of the second time zone, which are rhodium-plated. The large date numerals along 240 degrees of the dial’s circumference are larger than usual for these sorts of displays, insuring a quick read.
The Toric Hémisphère Rétrograde is available with a 42.8mm rose gold case paired with a grained white dial and a top-of-the line Hermès black alligator strap. On the back of the piece, the movement is entirely decorated with Côtes de Genève and circular-grained. The watch incorporates a 22-karat rose gold guilloché oscillating weight, which makes the viewing the reverse side a pure horological pleasure. Price: $29,500.
*Design: 7 (out of 10)
Refined classic lines imbued with subtle Parmigiani design elements like the fluted bezel.
An unusual and easy-to-use dual timer with fully adjustable (to the minute) second time zone, twin day/night indicators and a fast retrograde date display, all powered by twin mainspring barrels wound by an eccentric rotor.
One of only four brands to earn the Fleurier Quality Foundation (FQF) certification, Parmigiani Fleurier’s attention to every detail is evident in the exquisite case finishing as well as the multiple styles of enhancement on the movement within.
Second time zone “stick” hands could be more prominent.
Parmigiani Fleurier makes few enough watches annually that it is highly unlikely you’ll run into another one of these at your favorite country club.
Initial cost ($29,500) is substantial but rarity should overcome minimal brand awareness.
iW Rating: 45 out of 60