THE MÉTRO COLLECTION – TONDA MÉTROGRAPHE AND TONDA MÉTROPOLITAINE
The Métro Collection is the first Parmigiani Fleurier watch whose lines and essence embody the spirit and magic of the world’s great cities, their inhabitants and the frenetic pace that governs their movements. The collection features “Métrographe” watches for men and “Métropolitaine” watches for women.
Both the men’s and women’s versions of this round steel timepiece are characterised by their long proportions, which confer elegance. The watch features a modern, urban design which is more refined than the brand’s other classics, and reminiscent of the Tonda 1950. The calibre 3000 movement and its housing have been designed with extreme precision to produce a slim, refined case middle.
The subtlety of the Métro collection – a slight imbalance which gives it its character – comes from the fact that watch is asymmetrical: it has two different profiles. Its left-hand profile, which is devoid of a crown, is the classic, conventional side, and displays the brand’s iconic teardrop shape. By contrast, its right-hand profile features elongated lugs which extend to the crown, reaching around it to envelop the chronograph push-buttons on the men’s version. This asymmetry confers on the watch its subtly stylish identity; a touch of modernity that overturns conventions.
The aesthetic of the dials in the Métro collection uses the principle of contrasts to highlight a particular aspect of the piece. On the men’s Tonda Métrographe, it is the chronograph complication which stands out, thanks to the accentuation of its two minute and hour counters. On the grained white dial version, these counters are grey and highlighted by a blue disc; on the black or Abyss blue dial versions, they are outlined with Superluminova material which highlights them in the daytime and makes them glow at night. The two counters form a slanted figure 8, enhancing a characteristic sign of the Parmigiani Fleurier brand.
On the Tonda Métropolitaine, feminine curves soften the piece’s modern lines. The long case middle finds its contrast in the “flinqué” finishes on the dial, which take the form of undulating waves. The numerals and indices are inlaid, standing out in rounded relief from a two-dimensional background characterised by straight lines.
PF 310, PF315 – Movements in the Métro Collection
In 2014, Parmigiani Fleurier launched the Métro collection equipped with PF310 and PF315 calibres on the Tonda Métropolitaine and Tonda Métrographe respectively. This new range of movements, entirely manufactured by Parmigiani Fleurier represents an industrial achievement for the Brand in the sense that Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier, its watch manufacturing centre, has developed manufacturing processes optimised for the brand.
Linear transfer machines, coupled with the use of die stamps, ensure uniformity of production resulting in a calibre which is uncompromisingly reliable. The rationalised manufacturing processes are therefore repeatable in terms of quality and accuracy.
Additionally, the manufacturers have created “one-piece” designs to enable, where possible, multifunction components to be produced which decrease the settings required.
Finally, all the manufacture’s combined expertise has been focussed on perfecting the precision of the movement. This is the case, for example, for the variable-inertia balance, known as the “inertia balance”, which now eliminates the need for the standard index-assembly. This innovation makes it possible to adjust the moment of inertia by rotating the inertia blocks rather than adjusting the active length of the balance-spring as required with a standard adjustment. It also functions stably in the long term, it makes the watch shock-resistant and, as the counting-point is maintained, it guarantees outstanding isochronism. This consistency is reinforced by the double barrel which enables a more stable, linear distribution of power than a single barrel in the calibre.
At the end of the production process, the master craftsmen finish each component entirely by hand, giving a result which cannot be reproduced by machine. The bridges are bevelled on a bench grinder, all the visible parts of the movement are circular-grained and the Côtes de Genève decorations add the finishing touch to the piece. The manual work invested in each calibre is immense.
In Search of Abyss Blue
She is a master dial-maker in La Chaux-de-Fonds, he is a photographer in Chicago, but they both share the same mission. Capturing the beauty of the Tonda Métrographe in the colour of the dial, or in an urban snapshot; fusing this Abyss blue onto a nickel surface or drawing inspiration from the depths of Lake Michigan to take a photograph in its image.
The photographer wanders through the straight streets of the city looking for the perfect shot. It is a summer’s morning and the sun skimming the rooftops is already dazzling. The colossal buildings tower over him and, as he takes in their majestic proportions through his lens, he encounters a problem: In this city, there is either too much light or there is not enough. In full sunshine, the light is blinding, but in the shade, it is too dark. The contrast between these two ends of the spectrum is everywhere, and the photographer can find no happy medium with a more conducive play of light. His search goes on and on.
The master dial-maker at the Parmigiani Fleurier manufacture holds her breath, as she does each time she creates the brand’s signature Abyss blue. Creating this shade is a real work of art and, despite her many previous successes, she remains cautious as a matter of course. All the basic conditions are in place: a specialist electroplating bath, with a certain current, at a perfectly controlled temperature. With a steady hand, she dips the support into the tank and artfully moves it as only she knows how. Under the effect of electrolysis, the colour is transformed and – although she has seen it so often before – this spectacular sight never ceases to amaze her. The initial bright orange shade turns into an almost rust-coloured brown; next, purplish tones appear, as deep as the striking colour of aubergines; finally, waves of blue materialise with this blue-violet hue which turns blue…and then a moment later…Abyss blue. Stop. She keeps this colour and deftly removes the support. Two or three seconds more in this bath and the piece would have turned to royal blue then grey. With a smile, she muses how this dance of galvanic colours is a delicate art, as she gazes into the perfect Abyss blue she has created. You have to know how to play with the external parameters and wait for the right moment.
“Play with the external parameters and wait for the right moment.” In Chicago, suddenly the solution becomes clear and he knows he has the answer. The glazed structures of the skyscrapers which surround him offer a glimmer of hope, at certain specific times of day, as they reflect the light. He must therefore wait for the exact minute when scene is backlit by the windows to achieve this fine balance of light and shade. He positions himself strategically at the intersections where these contrasts are found and waits for the right moment. As the rays of sunlight filter through at the perfect angle, he clicks the shutter on his camera and captures a moment of eternity.
Power-reserve: 42 hours
Frequency: 4 Hz – 28’800 A/h
Dimensions: 12 ½”’ – Ø 28.0 mm
Thickness: 6.07 mm
Barrel(s): 2 series-coupled barrels
Decoration: “Côtes de Genève”, bevelled bridges
Small second at 3 O’clock
1/4 sec chronograph – large second, 30 min & 12 h counters
Dimensions: Ø 40 mm
Thickness: 11.7 mm
Water-resistance: 30 m
Glass: Anti-reflective sapphire
Crown: Ø 7 mm
Back engraving: Individual number DIAL
Colour: Blue abyss
Index: Rhodium plated appliques with luminescent coating
Finishing: Snailed exterior, opaline centre, luminescent counter
Hands: Delta-shaped with luminescent coating
Steel: Titanium / Steel polished and satin-finished