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SIHH 2016: Parmigiani Fleurier - Tonda Chronor Anniversaire

At SIHH 2016, Parmigiani Fleurier celebrated its 20th anniversary with the introduction of the Tonda Chronor Anniversaire featuring  a new integrated chronograph movement crafted from rose gold.

Most chronograph movements are not integrated but built with a modular architecture, i.e. the chronograph module is added on top of a base movement. As it is easy to imagine, a modular chronograph movement is less expensive to produce and, often, easier to service than an integrated one. Anyhow, when actuated, a modular chronograph can draw power from the mainspring somehow affecting the timekeeping of the watch.

Differently, an integrated chronograph movement is a clean-sheet design, conceived since the beginning to be a chronograph with each element restricted to a single main plate.

An integrated chronograph is a big challenge for a watch manufacture. In fact, the chronograph relies on kinematics with a chain of actions, each one determining and triggering the next, and each sequence precisely synchronised and adjusted. Even a tiny imperfection in the chain may disrupt the entire movement.

Michel Parmigiani explains: "The Tonda Chronor Anniversaire is a reflection of 20 years of work. To successfully create an integrated chronograph, one must first master its imposing, meticulous assembly of constituent parts; not just their manufacture, but also their operation and function at the heart of a calibre; one must appreciate both their limits and potential. For this reason, an integrated chronograph is necessarily the work of an experienced manufacture."

The new PF361 movement is manually wound and includes a chronograph, a split second function and a large date, all on the same main plate. To highlight the prestige of this model, the movement was crafted from gold and meticulously finished, each unit requiring more than 50 hours just for the decoration.

Picture courtesy of Francois-Xavier Overstake (EquationduTemps)

The high oscillation frequency (5 Hz or 36,000 vibrations per hour) of the new calibre guarantees exceptional accuracy and enables a precision to the 10th of second (the seconds hand makes ten jumps per second).

The Chronor measures split times thanks to an additional hand - the "split second hand" - which sits on top of the central chronograph seconds hand, and is linked to it when the start, stop or reset operations are performed. However, once the central seconds hand is running, if the push-piece on the crown is activated, the hand stops, while the central seconds hand continues to run. This way, the wearer can accurately read the intermediate time. It will be sufficient to press the push-piece on the crown again to bring the split second hand back in line with the central seconds hand.

As you can see in the picture below , the movement has two column wheels, one to govern the chronograph, the other to drive the split second function. It also uses a vertical clutch, more difficult to create, but technically more accurate than the horizontal clutch. A vertical clutch enhances the accuracy of measurements by enabling the chronograph to start up both immediately and without any initial jolt.

The balance is secured by a cross-through bridge instead of a single attachment point (generally referred to as the "cock") with the advantage of improved stability and robustness, even in case of an impact.

As a final touch, Michel Parmigiani’s signature is featured on the barrel’s drum and surrounded by a pattern composed of myriad of theParmigiani Fleurier lug shapes. The PF361 movement offers a power reserve of 65 hours.

The Tonda Chronor Anniversaire is available with either a white gold or rose gold case, each of which will be produced in a limited run of 25 pieces to mark this anniversary, with the possibility to choose the "grand feu" enamel dial in two shades: white or "Bleu Roi", a deep blue with changing hues especially developed by Parmigiani for this model.

Appearing at 12 o’clock behind a double counter with gold appliques, the large date is also integrated in the movement and not an additional module. Thanks to this challenging solution, the total thickness of the 42 mm case was contained to 14.6 mm.

The price of the Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda Chronor Anniversaire is Euro 128,000 / US$ 135,000.

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