In 2016, Parmigiani unveiled the Tonda Métropolitaine Sélène, a feminine piece designed to represent the lunar phases. This year, the brand launches the Tonda Métropolitaine Sélène Galaxy, a special edition of the previous model, which reveals the moon in all its cosmic glory, at the centre of an aventurine dial representing the galaxy.
Aventurine dial and setted bezel
Aventurine owes its characteristic textured appearance to small inclusions of metal. The 2017 model exploites the natural texture of this material. The Tonda Métropolitaine Sélène Galaxy features a midnight blue aventurine dial whose surface, mottled with fine golden fragments, beautifully replicates the twinkling of stars in the night sky. At the heart of this constellation sits the moon phase complication in all its glory; the name Galaxy virtually chose itself…
The hands are skeletonised so as not to obscure the beauty of the aventurine. Their iconic delta shape – part of the Parmigiani 2016 visual identity – is outlined and gilt with pink gold, underscoring the time with an elegant brilliance in perfect harmony with the pink gold of the indices. The bezel of the steel case is set with 72 brilliant cut diamonds, totalling 0.51 carats, which draw the sparkle of the aventurine along the case to emphasise the allure of this material. At 6 o’clock, the small second stands out on a black background, revealing the date on a matching date disc.
Tonda Métropolitaine Sélène Galaxy © Parmigiani
The russet moon of the Tonda Métropolitaine Sélène Galaxy radiates the magical glow of exceptional nights. It is magnified thanks to its surface made up of craters — known as lunar seas — obtained by applying successive layers of transfers, a complex process which involves great skill. Much more than a simple representation, this is a genuine embodiment of the moon on the wrist that disappears and emerges from wisps of cloud amidst its starry constellation. The colour of the moon is matched exactly to the tone of the pink gold on the hands and the dial indices.
The moon phase function
The PF318 movement and its moon phase module were entirely created in the Parmigiani Fleurier manufacture. The moon phase operating principle is based on a gear moved by the hour wheel, which rotates at half the speed of the gear. This means that the gear drives the moon disc every 24 hours via a flexible blade integrated in the centre of its wheel.
A corrector at 9 o’clock enables the wearer to independently index the moon in relation to the day and date in order to match its phase to the geographic reference location. This moon correction device features a safety system thanks to the blade, which is flexible to prevent irreparable damage to the gear in the event of incorrect operation.
The PF318 self-winding movement has a power reserve of 50 hours and excellent isochronism thanks to its two series-mounted barrels that regulate the rate. Visible through the watch’s sapphire case back, this calibre is entirely circular-grained, decorated with Côtes de Genève and bevelled to the finest haute horlogerie standards customarily applied in the Parmigiani Fleurier manufacture.
The Ovale XL instance is just another upside to the watch (as I said previously). Dimensions are 37.6mm wide by 44.8mm tall and 12.2mm thick. It wears somewhat larger than it seems, given the broad lugs, and in 18k rose gold it looks absolutely lovely. I would like to use the word “elegance” again to explain my view of how it looks. To me this means that it has the graceful curves of a natural form, while also being aesthetically pleasing to the eye with a cohesive type. It is basically a dress watch which gets extra attention because it’s different, but in no way lost or of questionable taste. The fact that it’s a fancy tourbillon is that the pricey icing on the cake.As far as I can consider, Parmigiani knows the Ovale XL situation is unique, and doesn’t use it for anything under $50,000 USD. That’s a shame because I’d like for there to be a steel or titanium model with a simple automated motion (still in the tonneau-shape) that’s priced much less. It would serve as a slightly more avant-garde counterpart into the Parmigiani Tonda 1950. I locate the relative width of the strap (thanks to the broad lugs) for a flattering look, and it also will help enrich the formal, yet manly position of this timepiece’s overall form. A 30 second tourbillon will spin faster (clearly) compared to a 60 second tourbillon, and consequently its actual purpose is to supply an improved feeling of visual animation to the dial. A graceful rose gold line frames the open tourbillon window and bridge being a detail I very much enjoy.
Case back view © Parmigiani
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