Watchmaking is equal parts art and engineering. The design of the case, dial, and even the bracelet and pairing of the strap requires an artistic eye. And while you may be tempted to think that the movement is all engineering, let’s not forget that movement architecture and finishing require a keen eye for beauty too. Therefore, it is not uncommon for watch brands and artists to collaborate on special pieces. After all, if you think about it, the dial is really just a miniature canvas for an artist to work his or her magic on. The latest watch and artist collaboration comes from Parmigiani and Italian artist Marcello Lo Giudice. This is the new Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda 1950 Marcello Lo Giudice watch.

The Tonda 1950 is Parmigiani’s collection of ultra-thin round watches. Tonda, by the way, is Italian for “round.” The Tonda 1950 Marcello Lo Giudice comes in a 39mm case made out of 18k rose gold and features teardrop-style lugs that have become a signature of the collection. The surfaces are all polished. Water resistance is just 30m, which is appropriate for a watch as dressy as this. All watches will come with a hand-stitched ‘Abyss Blue’ alligator leather strap made by Hermès that matches the dial very well.

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The dial, yes, this watch is all about the dial. What Parmigiani and Marcello Lo Giudice have done is use the dial as a canvas to recreate a section of Marcello’s Eden Universe, Eden Ocean artwork. Like Marcello’s works, the dial of the watch is made by using lasers to engrave and build volume on the raw plate of the dial. Then, a miniaturist painter applies paint to identically reproduce a selected portion of the art piece.

To ensure that the dial stays uncluttered. Parmigiani has made the rose gold-plated leaf hands smaller. Additionally, only a simple logo of ‘Parmigiani Fleurier’ at 12 o’clock adorns the dial. Looking at the press photos, because of the play on textures and colors, the dial looks very unique and attractive. And since no two watches will have the exact same dial, the caseback of each watch is engraved with the title ‘Piece Unique.’

The caseback has a see-through sapphire crystal window that gives owners full view of the self-winding caliber PF702. This is a micro-rotor movement that measures just 2.6mm thick. It beats at 3Hz and has a power reserve of 48 hours when fully wound. It is extensively decorated with Côtes de Genève on the bridges and balance cock, beveled edges, perlage on the base plate, and guilloche on the micro-rotor.

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I have always been quite fond of watches that combine watchmaking with the arts. Unfortunately, many of them turn out to be incoherent and compromised, not so with this watch. The combination of the classic Tonda 1950 case just works so well with Marcello’s artwork. The interesting textures and colors, plus the fact that no two are identical, make it a tempting proposition. The Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda 1950 Marcello Lo Giudice watch is limited to just 12 pieces and is priced at $36,000.

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