Travelling with a Parmigiani Tonda Hemispheres
By Marco Gabella for Parmigiani Fleurier
During a recent travel in Asia, I had the opportunity to wear and try a Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda Hemisphere; indeed, nothing is more relevant than a trip, to appreciate the efficiency and the ergonomics of a watch with the GMT functionality.
Amongst all the complications available on the market, the second time zone is undoubtedly the one that interests me most, as it is the only function associated with the date really useful in my daily life.
Until now, I only had watches that displayed the second time-zone through an extra central hour-hand. Despite the differences in color or shape between the hand indicating the local time and the one indicating the destination time, I admit that I had to concentrate in order to catch both indications displayed on a single dial and featuring a shared minute-hand.
This point precisely makes a difference in the Hemispheres collection models: they feature a full second time-zone function sitting at 12 o'clock, in a distinct sub-dial with specific hands for the GMT functionality.
Discovery of the watch and sensations while wearing it
With 42 millimeter in diameter and 11.15 mm in thickness, the watch features relatively classic and reasonable proportions. However, the wide dial's aperture rimmed by an extremely discreet bezel, gives a powerful and singular look to this piece. The interpenetration of the droplet-shaped lugs and the middles perfects the overall design, integrating the brand's aesthetic codes with subtlety.
The caseback is beveled between the lugs, allowing the wristband to closely fit the watchcase. Besides the aesthetical aspect, this device provides great comfort in wearing the watch, especially for tiny wrists.
At Parmigiani Fleurier's, all the components are manufactured within the group (see the article of Peter Chong or this other on MHF) , except the crystals, rubies, lubricants and leather straps. These exclusive straps are manufactured by Hermes, with an outstanding execution. Thanks to the softness of this leather, the strap is as comfortable as a second skin.
This classic set is magnified by a dial whose finishes and layout are a remarkable demonstration of the brand's expertise. The depth effects combined with diverse materials and surface treatments produce an almost mesmerizing sight. The Côtes de Genève stripes subtly highlight the main hour-hand path. The blued engine-turning finish creates a boundary for the extra time-zone display. It is an invitation to travel.
The strongest feature of this model is the full extra time-zone, that allows us to read both the departure and the destination times independently.
The automatic winding PF 337 manufactory caliber can be set down to the minute, which allows the watch to display zones with half an hour or three quarters of an hour time differences.
Both time-zones can be set through two independent crowns. The display is made even more legible by one individual day & night indicator for each time-zone. In reality, this original display is extremely intuitive and is far superior in terms of legibility to those models with an extra GMT hand only.
With its original design as well as with its second time-zone absolute functionalism, this watch is truly iconoclastic. Fine watchmaking too often expresses itself by mimicking aesthetic codes from the past, without bringing a really contemporary vision. Yet, Parmigiani Fleurier shows the strength of a young brand, hence without the burden of the past that its illustrious competitors have to carry, while drawing its references from the basics of mechanical watchmaking. Finally, this alliance between past and present offers a real evolution of classicism.