Parmigiani launches watches inseparable from music every year, highlighting the long-term cooperation between the brand and Montreux Jazz Festival. These unusual watches allow music and haute horlogerie to meet on the dial, and the exquisite wood inlay craftsmanship creates a unique look for each watch. The common features of this type of watch are: the dial has a color matching the national flag; and a guitar is painted, and in the open sound hole, there is a tourbillon.
There is no doubt that the newest member of the wood inlay series, Tonda Mambo, is the most sophisticated and complex product in the series to date. On the dial, Cuban guitarists playing their hometown Mambo dance improvised strings, bringing a strong Latin style to the watch.
The beauty of details
The wood inlaying process requires careful cutting of wooden blocks in accordance with specific patterns, and then assemble these wooden blocks one by one in a prescribed space to form a life-like figure, and finally complete the work. A slight mistake in the cutting process will make the entire damascene process useless. The smaller the wooden block, the more complicated the inlaying process.
Therefore, it is not difficult to imagine the complexity of the Tonda Mambo watch. This inlaid fine work product sets an unprecedented ‘high standard’ for this craft, and the shocking picture creates a valuable quality for the watch. For example, a guitarist’s polka dot shirt includes two dot patterns. On the dial, the details of the clothes are reproduced, maybe a polka-dot pattern is sufficient; however, in accordance with the rigorous aesthetic spirit of fashion designers, Tonda Mambo is decorated with two polka-dot patterns. With such fine workmanship, Parmigiani’s enthusiasm for improving the inlaying process can be seen; the extra attention to detail brings the most exquisite products, even if the process is difficult.
Other similar details are as follows: black lines less than a hairline outline the guitarist’s figure, hands, hat, and guitar. The lines are intertwined to form a clear boundary, which is not necessary. However, these lines construct the outline of the mosaic process, which creates a sense of contrast and relief, giving the character a personality. Such a structure requires extremely careful processing in order to create a precious and delicate dial.
From wood to graphics
Each piece of wood fiber is unique and has a very special effect. Choosing every piece of wood inlay requires a full understanding of the characteristics of the wood, which is especially important. The carefully selected wood is a special feature of Tonda Mambo.
The guitarist’s straw hat is made of Koto Maille wood, which naturally has a woven texture, like the pattern of a straw hat; the face and hands are made of pear wood, which has a delicate, shiny skin-like texture; the shirt is made of Burr walnut The fibers of this wood have natural wrinkles, which perfectly reflect the wrinkle feeling of the fabric. In the process of wood selection, let various types of wood block fibers make the best use of them to create different patterns; even the wood blocks themselves are patterns, as if they have naturally achieved the art of wood inlaying.
Stylish and luxurious mosaic work
Because of the craftsmanship, it is commendable, and Tonda Mambo is just that. The infinite pursuit of perfection penetrates into the most subtle parts of the fiber. The inlaying work is no longer just a simple and representative design, creating a unique feeling that combines the beauty of rare, contemporary and delicate.
In order to further enhance the texture of the dial, the wood is dotted with several small gold nuggets, so the entire dial is shining. The soft halo, together with the 30-second tourbillon oscillation, breathes life into Tonda Mambo.
About wood inlay craftsmanship
This is an awe-inspiring ancient art form that has been passed down from generation to generation. It was not until the 20th century that it finally regained its vitality in the fine watch industry.
The inlaying process is mainly to cut out some wood on a plane for the assembly and decoration of the dial of the timepiece, thereby creating an extremely delicate decorative effect. Inlay craftsmen are often trained as furniture technicians. They are hardworking and precise. From drawing the initial sketch on paper to the final stitching pattern to create a wonderful enough to subvert the original design-a series of high-tech processes of mosaic art they are all at their fingertips.
The work of the mosaic craftsmen began with the original design of Lintong, and they used a special tool (Rotring drawing pen) to carefully draw each element. This copying work is the basis of the mosaic work, from which the size and contour of each design block can be determined. Next, inlay craftsmen reprint ten or more design drawings on paper, and they will use these drawings to cut out different design blocks. The cutting phase is the most critical. Prior to this, the craftsman had to select the wood, the selection criteria involved the color and surface texture of the wood, and then piled the 10 pieces of wood carefully selected. The wood is firmly nailed together with nails, and then the copy map to be processed is glued to the top of the pile of wood. Use a saw blade to carefully cut along the boundary of the copy map, so as to obtain 10 mosaic blocks with the same shape. Even if all that is needed is a wooden block, the inlay craftsman always cuts it with a pile of wood, and then only keeps the most successful cut of the 10 blocks. Every design block has to go through this process. Even if there is only a slight difference between each design block, each block must be cut according to this set of procedures. There are as many different woods as there are differences. Blocks and how many different colors.
Once the last block was cut, there seemed to be no more complicated procedures, at which point the craftsmen began to assemble the design block. However, even this last step is not easy, and often there are unexpected ‘surprises’. Although the entire process strictly follows the dimensions, when the block assembly is started, the craftsman may still find very small errors or small eye-catching cracks, so the entire work is ruined. The craftsman must start from scratch and patiently copy and cut again as needed.
Engaging in mosaic work requires patience and precision. Even the smallest details must be carefully considered, and the overall situation must be kept in mind. It’s all because: the success of the inlaying work will only show up at the last moment. At this time, each block is perfectly embedded in its own position, and together guards the reputation of the wood inlay craftsmanship.
About Parmigiani Fleurier
The world-famous Swiss fine watch brand Parmigiani Fleurier was founded in 1996 in the heart of Waldtravel, Switzerland. The soul of the brand lies in its expertise in antique watch / mechanical restoration and its completely independent manufacturing capabilities. The brand focuses on independent production capacity and pursues the superbness, creativity and quality of watchmaking. Today, Parmigiani has grown into one of the very few top Swiss watch brands that are completely independently manufactured today.