Parmigiani Tonda 1950 Double Rainbow Flying Tourbillon And The Fun Of Following Scintillating Rainbows
by Martin Green
“Rainbow watches” are now a thing, and not an obscure thing either. Some of Switzerland’s most esteemed brands, including Rolex, Audemars Piguet, Hublot and Chopard, have played an active role in making these colorful watches popular.
That Parmigiani also makes this radiant group may, or may not, come as a surprise. One of the things that I always enjoy so much about this brand is that it is traditional in its approach to making watches, but doesn’t dilute creativity for the sake of history. Many of Parmigiani’s creations have a of avant-garde streak, sometimes subtle as with the Toric Chronomètre and at other times more prominent as with the stunning Bugatti models.
The new Tonda 1950 Double Rainbow Flying Tourbillon also fits the bill as it pleases with its complex and well-finished movement but also tantalizes with its unique design and innovative use of colored gemstones.
Double rainbows: twice the fun!
Most brands in this category utilize the bezel to display an array of colored gemstones whose hues are arranged to create a rainbow effect. The Tonda 1950 does that too, but also repeats the rainbow around an inner dial segment.
That’s stunning by itself, but Parmigiani took the creativity even further by using colorless brilliant-cut diamonds and aventurine along with the tsavorites, amethysts, sapphires, and other colorful delicacies.
The diamonds separate the rainbow-set bezel and frame of the subdial. Parmigiani opted for a snow-setting, which gives the dial even more of a texture difference. The contrast with the colored gemstones can seem a bit harsh on the photos, but in real life there will be more synergy due to refraction of light inside the diamonds, which causes internal flashes of scintillating light in different colors.
The blue aventurine, a glass material containing small reflective particles, inside the second “rainbow” is a stroke of genius on the part of Parmigiani. It creates both a sense of being a window into the sky and, thanks to its deep blue color, grounds the whole creation, preventing it from becoming too much.
I know that might sound a bit excessive for an effervescent piece like the Tonda 1950 Double Rainbow Flying Tourbillon, but keen observers of gemstone-set watches will appreciate the importance of these details; they are markers of the difference between good design and great design.
Justifying a guilty pleasure? Guilty as charged
For me, rainbow watches are a guilty pleasure. I shouldn’t like them, but I do. They are, in some ways, a vulgarity that we want to associate with the nouveau riche, but in reality they are a pleasure we just don’t want to deny ourselves.
The Parmigiani Tonda 1950 Double Rainbow Flying Tourbillon is powered by Caliber PF517, a mechanical delight that even the most demanding watch connoisseur will appreciate.
It has a height of only 3.4 mm, which is impressive given the fact that it features both automatic winding and a flying tourbillon. Parmigiani has paid particular attention to the finishing of all the movement parts, which is shown in particular by its engine-turned main plate, beveled bridges, and circular côtes de Genève. While peripheral rotors are amazing, I have always had a soft spot for micro rotors so I am quite taken by this platinum one decorated with a unique barleycorn guilloché.
Male, female, unisex?
Pink gold, colored gemstones, and diamonds: this has to be a ladies’ watch, right?
Here cultural differences might make a difference. In western Europe, this conclusion may be for many people as automatic as the sun rising in the morning, but others might not follow so fast.
Many brands, including Parmigiani, don’t market rainbow watches to a specific gender. A clever move, as I strongly feel that watch brands should be more like the scent industry, which lets consumers decide for themselves what they consider male or female. Women might be more comfortable wearing a watch like this, yet given its size I feel a man could get away with it equally well if it fits his style.
Parmigiani offers the Tonda 1950 Double Rainbow Flying Tourbillon on both a pink gold bracelet and an alligator skin strap made by Hermès. As you are already spending a substantial amount of money if you buy this watch, I suggest that you go all in and buy the bracelet version and get a separate strap with buckle.
Why? Because each of them gives the watch a distinctly different character that makes it as a whole far more versatile.
You might say that there is no such thing as versatility with an over-the-top rainbow watch like this Parmigiani?
Well, in the past I might have agreed with you. but since having had the pleasure of having many rainbow watches on my wrist over the years, I have concluded that they are so highly addictive that we can easily find reasons and occasions for wearing them.
For more please visit www.parmigiani.com/en/watch/tonda/tonda-1950-tourbillon.
Quick Facts Parmigiani Tonda 1950 Double Rainbow Flying Tourbillon
Case: 40.20 x 9.43 mm, pink gold, bezel set with 40 gemstones in rainbow configuration (2.59 ct total comprising 6 blue sapphires, 6 amethysts, 5 pink sapphires, 4 rubies, 6 orange sapphires, 6 yellow sapphires, and 7 tsavorites)
Dial: aventurine, 572 brilliant-cut diamonds in snow-setting (1.402 ct) and 31 gemstones in rainbow configuration (0.31 ct total comprising 4 rubies, 3 orange sapphires, 5 yellow sapphires, 5 tsavorites, 5 blue sapphires, 4 amethysts, and 5 pink sapphires)
Movement: automatic Caliber PF517, 21,600 vph/3 Hz frequency, 48-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds (on tourbillon carriage)
Price: $178,000 on strap, $196,000 on bracelet