Parmigiani Fleurier Re-Invents Its Rattrapante at Watches & Wonders 2023
The watchmaker showed a two-pronged approach at the recent Watches & Wonders: An ongoing refinement of mechanical and material excellence and capitalizing on its groundbreaking take on a rattrapante to plumb new depths of functionality.
At the 2022 edition of Watches & Wonders in Geneva, Parmigiani Fleurier debuted one of the most elegant pieces of the conclave: the Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante.
By using the hour hand to conceal a skeletonized red gold hand under it that remains set to your home time, a recessed pusher at 8 o’clock to advance the main hour hand to a new time zone, and a reset mechanism built into the crown, the Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante delivered a new vision (and set a new bar) for the GMT function. And, perhaps most remarkably, the brand achieved all this within the simplicity and elegance of the 40mm Tonda design zeitgeist.
Splitting the Difference
So, let’s say that you want to create an on-demand second use for the Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante’s groundbreaking interpretation of a GMT display. What would happen if you take the Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante’s approach of stacking the hour and GMT hands approach but stack the minute hand instead? You have the simple yet unexpectedly clever formula for the new Tonda PF Minute Rattrapante that debuted at Watches & Wonder 2023 in Geneva.
Like the GMT Rattrapante, you will still use a recessed pusher at 8 o’clock to advance the underlying red gold hand. But instead of a red gold split-hour hand that advances one hour at a time, the Minute Rattrapante has a split-minute hand that jumps forward in five-minute intervals and a second pusher at 2 o’clock to move it an additional one minute on each punch. Voilà, a new way to set bottom time.
Into the Blue
As you can see, even just a quick run-through of how the Tonda PF Minute Rattrapante works delivers a multitude of uses for the function: pending deadlines and appointments, heck, even cooking. But at the launch, the folks at Parmigiani Fleurier cast the unexpected example of diving as an iconic purpose for the minute rattrapante.
In a traditional dive watch, you would use the rotating dive bezel to mark the calculated dive time for your adventure, say 35 minutes ahead of real-time. Then, when your dive watch’s minute hand aligns with the bezel marker, you know it’s time to begin surfacing.
Yet, while the shimmering fluted platinum bezel of the 40mm Tonda PF Minute Rattrapante is stunning, it does not move as all dive watch bezels must. So why did Parmigiani use diving as an example? Well, although the Minute Rattrapante’s version of a dive time demarcation is all done with the hands, it is no less easy to read than a traditional dive watch; when the minute hands align again, start your surfacing. The, once you’re up, you lock the two-minute hands together again via a pusher on the crown. Easy.
Plus, with 60 meters of water resistance, the watch is more than up to the challenge.
As is typical of Parmigiani, the Tonda PF Minute Rattrapante is also elegant. The polished and satin-finished stainless steel case and bracelet blend seamlessly with the platinum bezel. Meanwhile, the sophisticated teardrop recessed pushers and the no-fuss, “just hands and bar markers” play off a sand-gray dial embellished with a grain d’orge guilloché pattern.
Finally, it has the exquisitely finished PF052 automatic movement, visible through the caseback, with a rose gold micro-rotor and a 48-hour power reserve.
Suffice it to say: The Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF Minute Rattrapante ain’t your ordinary rough and rowdy dive watch. And that’s a good thing because, as a certified diver, I am intrigued by the possibility this watch could a more elegant yet visually compelling form of dive-timing. So, while a rattrapante minute feature potentially has a multitude of everyday functions, expect to pay $30,600 for your unique dive experience.
Tons of Tonda News
The new Tonda PF Minute Rattrapante aside, fans of last year’s Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante (and of the Tonda line in general) have a few new additions to get excited about, like a new 18K red gold version of the 40mm Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante (approx. $65,250).
However, in addition to the Tonda PF Minute Rattrapante and the red gold version of the GMT, there were also no fewer than three totally new executions of the Tonda timepiece: First is the stunning all-platinum Tonda PF Micro-Rotor (approx. $95,630), featuring a platinum micro-rotor and an ultra-thin 3mm PF703 automatic movement.
Second is the exquisite 42mm Tonda PF Tourbillon (approx. $168,760). Now available with the same rich Milan blue dial as its red gold GMT Rattrapante cousin, this new tourbillon sports an all-platinum construction.
And third, in a sportier and more classic move, the new Tonda PF Split Seconds Chronograph ($171,600) features an exquisite Michel Parmigiani-signed manual-wind PF361 chronograph movement. Absolutely dripping in red gold swagger already, even more of the precious material is used for the bridging, as seen on the movement via the caseback.
Collector Calendars? Killer
Sound like enough? It wasn’t. Parmigiani Fleurier continued to flex its estimable horological muscle and its “element 78” theme with an uncanny trilogy of all-platinum calendar timepieces.
There is a Gregorian annual calendar with a retrograde date. Next is a complete version of the highly complex Chinese, or Xiali, calendar with classic Chinese characters. And last but not least, an Islamic Hijri perpetual calendar with Arabic calligraphy.
Sadly, the full story of the design and development of each of these masterpieces is beyond the scope of this article. However, as they are box set (limited to only three), be comforted in knowing that these Tonda PF calendars are strictly “price on demand” and more than likely already spoken for.
You can find out more at the Parmigiani Fleurier website.
(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)