Meteorites are fascinating because they have been around for a long time. Most of them began life from 4 to 4.8 billion years ago, as left-overs from when the solar system was forming. So they are a bit older than the earth, and so they are almost a third of the age of the universe (13.8 billion years). A lot of meteorites reach the earth, about 10,000 tons per year, even though most of it is in the form of fragments less than 1 mm in size. Occasionally a large meteorite falls and leaves a very big hole, such as the Meteor Crater in Arizona. Meteorite rocks are not easy to find, and many are now recovered from Antarctica, where they are foreign objects, so to speak, in a sea of ice. On their fiery path through the earth’s atmosphere, they liquefy, and then recrystallise. This is the origin of the lovely patterns that emerge when you slice a meteorite stone and treat it with acid to reveal the crystal patterns. Everything about the production process is difficult: meteorite is a hard material, harder than rock, and unpredictable, with irregular mineral structure.
The Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda 1950 Special Edition Meteorite in black version
One of the most popular themes for new watches presented in 2015 was astronomy, and so there were a few meteorite watches. This piece by Parmigiani Fleurier is particularly beautiful, with maximum space left to the “Abyss blue” or black meteorite dial (the colour is added during production). It is enhanced by the rhodium-plated metal indices, Parmigiani’s characteristic delta hands with luminescent coating, and a small seconds subdial at 6 o’clock, made by a different finish of the meteorite dial surface. The case is in titanium, with a sapphire display caseback that provides a view of the beautiful PF 701 calibre, developed in-house, supremely slim at 2.6 mm. It is an automatic watch, with a platinum micro-oscillating weight that makes the movement even more attractive. The watch runs at 21,600 vibrations per hour, 3 Hertz, and provides a power reserve of 42 hours.
The Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda 1950 Special Edition Meteorite in Abyss blue colour
It wears very well on the wrist, with diameter 39 mm and thickness just 7.8 mm. Each watch is engraved with its serial number. When you look at it, you see the hours, minutes and seconds, while the unimaginable age of the inky-dark dial helps put our own dimension of time into the broader context of our home, the universe. Price about €17,500. www.parmigiani.ch