News SIHH 2013

The Musical Pieces of Parmigiani Fleurier

Wood and Marquetry

The Watch Quote™ - February 11th, 2013



Illustrating the spirit of music through marquetry work – such was the challenge that Parmigiani Fleurier embarked upon. This year the brand is unveiling three astounding creations. Two Tonda Tourbillon wristwatches and a table clock which dials evoke the world of musical art and represent a new quest for excellence.

Assembling the Tonda Woodrock

In order to project a colourful and musical dynamism, Parmigiani Fleurier has turned for the first time to the refined and delicate art of marquetry. This truly ancient process consists of cutting out and assembling veneers – wooden veneers in this case – on a flat surface in order to create a highly meticulous decoration.

A true mosaic of colours, marquetry brings out the musical character of each of the three pieces and celebrates the Fleurier-based company's long-standing commitment to modern musical culture.

These three timepieces are an illustration of watchmaking excellence, but also of the boundless creativity of Parmigiani Fleurier. They express a genuine endeavour to promote the ancient and rare work of craftsmen; to ensure that traditional arts and crafts always have their place in the Swiss watchmaking scene.

Tonda Woodstock

An homage to the two most influential countries in the history of rock and roll



The iconic Tonda Tourbillon model bears on its dial the first Parmigiani Fleurier Marquetries and consist of two unique pieces of rare beauty which imply an astounding creativity and daring.



The idea dreamt up by the Parmigiani Fleurier designers was to depict a musical scene which was not static and conventional, as literal representations often are.



The guitar is an instrument with natural links to wood marquetry, and it was decided to use the Union Jack and the Stars and Stripes as the backdrops in this tableau paying homage to the two most influential countries in the history of rock and roll. The Tonda's tourbillon becomes the sound box of the guitar, music and the watchmaking art become one and the instrument comes to life through the regular oscillations of the complication.



Each marquetry dial is the result of 10 days' work and comprises more than fifty pieces of dyed wood. These have been designed, cut and then assembled with such meticulous care that the resulting dial appears perfectly flat to the naked eye.



The Tonda Woodrock, the British version, and Tonda Woodstock, the American version, are two unique models suggesting a paradigm where sound and image are interchangeable; two watches which celebrate the international culture of music, illustrated through exceptional watchmaking.



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Tonda Woodstock USA

Technical description




Movement:PF 510 hand-wound
FunctIons: Hours, Minutes, Central second.
One week power reserve indication.
Tourbillon.
Case: 3-part round
Diameter:Ø 42 mm
Thickness: 11.5 mm
Material:18 ct rose gold
Finish:Polished
Water resistance :30 m
Crystal :Anti-reflective sapphire
Bezel :Engraved "Gibson motif"
Crown:Ø 7 mm
Case-back:Sapphire crystal
Individual number, “MODELE UNIQUE”, “MJF” and “USA”
engraved on the case-back
Dial :Special dial with Gibson motif in wood marquetry
Bracelet : Leather Hermès alligator strap
Folding buckle :Polished finish

Tonda Woodstock UK

Technical description




Movement:PF 510 hand-wound
FunctIons: Hours, Minutes, Central second.
One week power reserve indication.
Tourbillon.
Case: 3-part round
Diameter:Ø 42 mm
Thickness: 11.5 mm
Material:950 platinum
Finish:Polished
Water resistance :30 m
Crystal :Anti-reflective sapphire
Bezel :Engraved "Gibson motif"
Crown:Ø 7 mm
Case-back:Sapphire crystal
Individual number, “MODELE UNIQUE” and “MJF LONDON”
engraved on the case-back
Dial :Special dial with Gibson motif in wood marquetry
Bracelet : Leather Hermès alligator strap
Folding buckle :Polished finish

Clock 15 Days Blue Note

The third act in this eulogy to music



The original silver Clock 15 Days was unveiled in 2011 and its streamlined form provided a showcase of the spectacular quality of its finishes. With its power reserve indicated on the barrel, by ingeniously externalising the Maltese cross – a patented Parmigiani Fleurier innovation – this piece demonstrates technical and aesthetic mastery.

For this clock to become the third act in this eulogy to music it needed a final complication: the marquetry on its dial.



The inspiration which forms the bedrock of its design comes from Dutch painter Piet Mondrian, known for his frescos of intersecting lines combined with blocks of colour. These gridlines and colour combinations give a musical air to Mondrian's work, suggesting a paradigm where sound and image are interchangeable.

The dial of this clock features the segmentation of surfaces so dear to Mondrian and the same vivid palette of primary colours which have musical overtones. Three instruments compete for space on the dial – a trumpet, a double bass and a piano – but this jazz trio is only partially displayed, like a suggestive hint. Indeed, the instrument is not important, it is only the music that it creates which emerges from this lively fresco.

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Parmigiani Fleurier Clock 15 Days Blue Note

Technical description


Movement :PF 920
Thickness:58.25 mm
Jewels:14
Components:136
Frequency:2.5 Hz – 18,000 Vib/h
Main plates and bridges:With Côtes de Genève, hand-engraved and bevelled
FunctIons :Hours, Minute, Seconds
Power reserve indicator on barrel
Exterior :Vermeil cabinet
Height:142 mm
Width:96 mm
Depth:80 mm
Material:925 silver plated with 18 ct yellow gold
Finish:Polished
Glass:Faceted mineral glass crystals
Secret key drawer :On the rear of the base
Removable logo for key hole at 180°
Individual number :Engraved on the case-back
Dial:Two-part:
Small dial in wooden marquetry, opaline small seconds counter
Large dial with Côtes de Genève and hand-bevelling
Hands :Delta-shaped with luminescent coating
Keys:Double key:
Large winding key
Small time-setting key made from stainless steel plated with 18 ct yellow gold, fitting inside each other

The Art of Marquetry

This is a venerable, ancestral art and its practice has become close to obsolete

Tracing of the outline

Marquetry is a process which consists of cutting out and assembling veneers – in this case, wood – on a flat surface to create a highly meticulous decoration. Often trained as cabinetmakers, extremely diligent and accurate in their work, marquetry craftsmen are masters of the numerous highly technical stages of their craft, which starts with a sketch on a piece of paper and finishes with a spectacular mosaic of segments reconstructing the original design.

Cutting along the tracing line

The marquetry craftsman starts his work by tracing the original design, detailing each element using a special tool (a Rotring). This tracing provides the dimensions and contours of each segment of the design and will be the basis for the marquetry work.

Tiny stars of the US flag - Tonda Woodstock

The marquetry craftsman then makes ten or more copies of the tracing printed onto paper, which he will use to cut out each of the different elements of the design.

Cutting out the elements

In preparation for the crucial cutting stage, the marquetry craftsman stacks ten sheets of wood, carefully selected for their colour and surface. He firmly nails them together and sticks on top of this resulting wooden stack, the single tracing of the segment which will busy him. A jigsaw is used for cutting, carefully following the lines of the pattern so as to create ten identical copies of the required segment. Even for a unique watch and single dial, the marquetry craftsman will always work in stacked layers of wood in order to only keep the most successful segment among the ten that are cut. This entire process is repeated for every single element in the design, and with as many different woods and colours as there are shades.

Cutting out the elements

The most difficult part would seem to be over once the last segment has been cut and the craftsman is ready to start assembling. However, this last stage is no less complex and often involves surprises which have escaped measurement. Despite rigourously following the dimensions along the entire pattern, when it comes to assembling the segments, the marquetry craftsman may find a minuscule error or an unpleasant little fissure which renders the entire piece useless. He must then go back to the primal stages and patiently retrace and recut with the required modifications.

Stacks of tainted wood

Marquetry is work which requires perseverance and precision, work where one must be able to envisage the whole even when grappling with its tiniest part. Because marquetry's reward comes at the end, when each segment is perfectly nestled in its enclave, playing its small part in enlightening the piece as a whole.

Stacks of tainted wood

Tainted sheets of wood

Tainted sheets of wood

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