Parmigiani Fleurier Wows with Its Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante at Watches & Wonders 2022

Re-invigorated by the refresh of its Tonda collection last year, the independent brand scores another hit with an original, discreet take on a familiar complication.

By Steven Rogers
European Editor

Parmigiani Fleurier CEO Guido Terreni is on something of a roll. Since taking the reins at the Swiss independent brand in early 2021, the Milan native has managed to reinvigorate the company almost overnight. Thanks in no small part due to its updated Tonda collection, which had the watch world swooning when it was introduced last summer.

Terreni, the former head of Bulgari and one of the architects behind the Octo Finissimo, channeled all his expertise into creating a luxury sports watch that is both contemporary yet pared down. So much did the Tonda speak to collectors and connoisseurs of haute independent watchmaking that all of Parmigiani’s production through 2022 is reserved for the pieces it has sold off the back of the last year’s collection refresh.
 

Continuing on from the time-and-date micro-rotor, five-hertz chronograph, annual calendar, and split-seconds chronograph models launched in stainless steel and red gold last year, Parmigiani has now introduced a new model to coincide with its participation at Watches & Wonders 2022 – the Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante.

Minimalist Design Cues

Aesthetically, the 40mm Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante retains the same minimalist design cues that made the rebooted Tonda PF collection a hit last summer.

These include a refined “barleycorn” guilloché dial featuring a new oval-shaped Parmigiani logo; short, hand-applied solid gold hour indices; skeletonized, 18K gold alpha hands; and a sandblasted, recessed minute track framed by a knurled bezel. The latter, in 950 platinum, is stepped to sit perfectly on the stainless-steel caseband, whose brushed and polished “waterdrop” lugs marry seamlessly with the integrated, textured steel bracelet.
 

Even the finely-finished PF051 calibre, visible through the exhibition caseback, architecturally resembles that of the Tonda PF Micro-Rotor, with the oscillating weight adorned by a barleycorn motif to echo the dial-side decoration.

Discreetness and Simplicity

But as its name implies, the Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante introduces a brand-new complication. And its discreetness and simplicity of use are a joy to experience, something that I was able to do on a recent visit to Parmigiani’s headquarters.

To set the time in a second time zone, each press of the ergonomic pusher at 8 o’clock advances the rhodium-treated gold hour hand by one hour. However, once the hour hand advances, it reveals a second skeletonized hour hand – made in 18K red gold – underneath it, which continues to indicate the time back home.
 

Once returned to your home time zone, pressing the red gold pusher integrated into the crown will see the rhodium-plated hour hand return to above the red gold hand, similar in manner to a split-seconds chronograph. Genius!

Home is Golden

Explaining the use of red gold for both the home-time hour hand and crown-based pusher, Terreni said: “Home is where your loved ones are. Home is golden; home is precious. So, using gold for the home-time hour hand and monopusher is a symbolic choice of material.”

Even the movement’s oscillating weight is made of 22K red gold, as opposed to platinum like on the Tonda PF Micro-Rotor, with Terreni saying: “again, home is the center of life, and the center of life of the movement is the micro-rotor.”
 

And Terreni also stressed the significance of naming the watch the GMT Rattrapante rather than, say, “Split GMT.” He said: “The French word ‘rattrapante’ means ‘catching up,’ implying a reunion. Whereas the English word ‘split’ implies a separation. Since the GMT mechanism is geared towards reuniting at the end of a trip, of reconnecting emotionally with home, we felt it more appropriate to use the French word ‘rattrapante.’ ”

Clean and Uncluttered

I can’t deny there is a certain tactile pleasure from using the two pushers, but more than that, having this on-demand second time zone helps keep the Milano blue dial clean and uncluttered. It is in keeping with the pared-down aesthetic ushered in by Terreni and allows the wearer to enjoy the dial’s subtle details when the GMT complication is not needed.

Unlike the Tonda PF Micro-Rotor, the GMT Rattrapante has no date window at 6 o’clock. That is a conscious choice by the brand since it not only frees up more dial space but also ensures there is no confusing information signaled; after all, there would always be at least one hour of the day when the date in the second time zone is different from the date back home.
 

While the case has a very wearable 40mm diameter, like that of the Tonda PF Micro-Rotor, it is understandably a little thicker to accommodate the GMT mechanism. However, at 10.7mm thick, it is still pretty slim.

And the crown-based pusher also means the GMT Rattrapante can’t have a screw-in crown like the Tonda PF Micro-Rotor, so there is a slight compromise on water resistance – 60 meters instead of 100 meters.

Design Coherence

Besides offering an original and useful complication that is discreetly displayed and easy to activate, the Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante is a superb exercise in design coherence that Terreni has no doubt played a role in cultivating.

It is not just the dial, case, and movement that echo other models in the collection. Other touches show that all the little details are being considered, such as the 8 o’clock second time zone pusher that mirrors the design of the pushers on the Tonda PF Chronograph.
 

Pricing and Availability

Priced at CHF 26,000, excluding taxes, the Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante is on show at Parmigiani Fleurier’s Watches & Wonders booth this week. With the current surge in demand for the brand’s timepieces, deliveries for the GMT Rattrapante are likely to take a little while, but you can be sure it will be worth the wait.

For more information, please visit Parmigiani Fleurier’s website.
 

(Photography by Pierre Vogel)

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