The Parmigiani Toric Hémisphères Rétrograde is the latest in the Toric line of watches, which represent the relatively conservative side of the brand with a traditional case and signature knurled bezel. This new-for-2017 model is a dual time zone watch which allows the wearer to set a second time right down to the minute, which is useful for tracking time zones that are offset by half-hour or even quarter-hour differences. This is unlike traditional GMT watches which only measure full-hour increments.
The precision and functionality of the second time zone indicator is possible thanks to the caliber PF317, an automatic movement with a module designed and supplied by Jean-Marc Wiederrecht (interviewed here about his First Grail Watch). With his company AgenHor, Wiederrecht has been making waves recently for his impressive work with movement and module design and is the man behind the AgenGraphe movement, the module in the Slim d’Hermès Perpetual Calendar (hands-on here), and of course, the Parmigiani Toric Hémisphères Rétrograde’s module.
Exactly what the few other 30 second tourbillon watches out there (perhaps outside in an even rarer DeBethune 30 second tourbillon timepiece version) do not probably have is a comparatively stable electricity reserve that lasts an whole week. Two barrels provide seven full days of power reserve in the manually-wound motion. Complications include time with central tabs, power reserve indicator gauge, and of course, the open tourbillon. The PF501 motion consists of 237 parts and works at a frequency of 3Hz. Viewing the movement through the caseback window is indeed a pleasure. Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda Hemispheres Watch Replica doesn’t disappoint with regard to the aesthetic quality and beauty of its decoration and finishing of motion parts. In the Côtes de Genève stripes to the beveled edges, surface treatments on all the metals are magnificent in a timepiece such as this. That being said, in this price point there is a very healthy variety of other watches out there which boast much more complicated motions, a lot of which have exotic systems or materials. The PF501 is extremely conservative in what it provides — meant for individuals seeking a very traditional mechanical timepiece experience.What is not completely traditional is your Ovale XL case, which aBlogtoWatch has analyzed in its various Parmigiani forms here. Personally, I love this case because of its effective combination of elegant appearances, flattering visuals on the wrist, and distinctiveness from many other watch instance styles out there. What is better is how comfortable the Ovale feels, and how it seems comfortable yet not like anything else on the market. Patek Philippe for several years tried to assert the value of a situation similar to the in the Ellipse. Though, Parmigiani is the one that created this elliptical circle shape a fantastic selection for contemporary men’s watches.This new for 2017 Parmigiani Ovale XL Tourbillon introduces a “blue abyss” colored dial which has a blue color applied over a metal base that’s decorated with vertical Côtes de Genève-style stripes. You don’t find these on dials all of the time, but they aren’t as rare as they used to be anymore. The hour markers are implemented 18k rose gold, to match the case material and color.
The caliber PF317, as mentioned earlier, displays time in two time zones to the minute with a day/night indicator for both time zones and, to top it all off, a retrograde date indication. The movement beats at 28,800bph and provides 50 hours of power reserve which is more than adequate. As you might expect, this is a lot of mechanics to pack into a wristwatch movement and the module is significantly larger in diameter than the base movement. Parmigiani has smartly designed the case back to work with this, with the display portion only revealing the base movement with its 22ct rose gold rotor and Cotês de Genève decoration.
If we flip over to the “white-grained” (even though it looks more off-white in these pictures) dial, we see that this is a busy presentation and can appear a little confusing at first glance. The sub-dial with rhodium-plated hands at 12 o’clock is the second time zone. It is highlighted with a gold ring but is subtle enough to not be distracting. To its right is the day/night indication for this second time zone. The primary time zone is featured on the main dial with javelin-shaped hands made from rose gold and filled with Super-LumiNova. The hand with the red crescent moon at the tip is not the seconds hand but the retrograde date.
The manner in which the first three and last three numbers for the date track are flipped around may prove annoying to some people – and I’m not entirely sure it was necessary to flip them in this case. The sub-dial at 6 o’clock indicates both running seconds and the day/night for the primary time zone. In my opinion, the day/night indicator for the primary time zone is redundant. While I can appreciate the mechanical complexity in having it there, it adds more complexity to an already packed dial. The entire dial is encircled by a railway track chapter ring and applied rose gold hour markers. Overall, Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda Hemispheres Watch Replica has done a good job at balancing out the many elements of the dial, and it becomes pretty intuitive to read after about the first minute.
The Super-LumiNova is something that stood out to me. In the world of haute horlogerie, manufactures sometimes forget the value of modern features such as lumed hands and an AR-coated crystal. For a watch to be versatile and a daily wearer, it has to have both good design and some modern features. Parmigiani seems to recognize this as they provide both lume on the hands and double AR-coating on the sapphire crystal.
All of this is housed in the signature rose gold Toric case, which was Michel Parmigiani’s first design back in the ’90s. A signature design element is the knurled bezel which gives the classic design an interesting twist. You’ll notice that there are two crowns, the top is to set the second time zone independently while the bottom is to set both time zones simultaneously. The watch is on the larger side at 42.8mm in diameter due to the module and the need for dial space to fit the various indications. The gently angled lugs are polished and offer a nice contrast to the texture of the bezel. The case is rated to 30m of water resistance which is adequate for a dress watch.
For those who may find the design too conservative and prefer something edgier, it’s worth noting that the same movement is available in the Parmigiani Tonda Hémisphères that launched in 2010. I personally prefer the dressier, refined presentation of the Toric Hémisphères Rétrograde. The highlight of this watch, however, is not the design but the movement and its ability to track the second time zone down to a minute. The Parmigiani Toric Hémisphères Rétrograde ships on a black Hermès alligator leather strap with deployment buckle and is available at retailers for a price of $29,500. parmigiani.com