Why Parmigiani Fleurier’s New Tonda PF Collection May Be Its Most Daring Yet
Parmigiani Fleurier celebrates its 25th anniversary with a cool and contemporary collection designed for purists, the Tonda PF.
Parmigiani Fleurier occupies a unique space in haute horology. But if you’re not familiar with the back story, then pull up a seat and let Aunty Rhonda tell you a story.
Michel Parmigiani was renowned for restoring the world’s most sophisticated historic timepieces and automata. Then, in 1996, he launched his brand, Parmigiani Fleurier, in the small village of Fleurier in the Swiss Jura. Today, Parmigiani Fleurier remains a small (yet respected) independent brand known for creating super-luxe timepieces that are treasured by collectors because of the company’s dedication to craft, complication, and aesthetics.
In contrast to its founder’s work with historical timepieces, Parmigiani Fleurier is also a young brand. And to celebrate its 25th birthday, it has just introduced a new, modern collection at Geneva Watch Days – the Tonda PF.
Kanye has just released Donda; Parmigiani Fleurier has just dropped the Tonda PF at Geneva Watch Days, and both launches are milestones. The Tonda is one of Parmigiani Fleurier’s cornerstone collections. And like all PF watches, it has a strong point of view.
“The name of this family of watches comes from the Venetian term ‘Tondo,’ which refers to the round canvas on which Renaissance artists created magnificent works of art,” founder Michel Parmigiani is quoted on the brand’s website. “In a way, our round Tonda range is that blank canvas which enables the individual to explore the many facets of the Parmigiani Fleurier aesthetic.
This Parmigiani Fleurier family allows the wearer to express themselves with a quartet of new canvasses: the Tonda PF Micro-Rotor, a slim, pared-down, high-end, two-hander with platinum micro-rotor; the Tonda PF Chronograph, featuring an almost flush dial and an integrated high-frequency chronograph movement; and the Tonda PF Annual Calendar with a retrograde date. All three models are available in steel with a platinum hand-knurled bezel or entirely crafted in 18K rose gold.
Finally, the fourth member of the new collection, the Tonda PF Split Seconds Chronograph, celebrates the brand’s 25th anniversary with 95% pure elemental platinum and a limited production of 25 pieces.
Overall, what is different about the Tonda PF line is that Parmigiani Fleurier has streamlined its silhouette without sacrificing its luxurious details, making it the brand’s most forward-looking collection. Moreover, the Tonda PF collection shares many common characteristics, including an integrated bracelet that lends it a sportier presence. Plus, the new and distinct PF logo is set in a vertical oval, appearing in double-edged appliqué at 12 o’clock. For extra depth, the indices of each timepiece are set across two levels of a subtle Grain d’Orge guilloché dial.
The case band on all four references of the Tonda PF line also deserves closer examination. It is not straight, but slightly bassiné, i.e., wider near the bezel and narrower on the wrist. This tapering provides the overall design with a sense of increased slimness. The surface is horizontal-satin-finished all around, as is the upper surface of the lugs.
The Tonda PF Split Seconds Chronograph
Each member of the Tonda PF trio has its personality, but the Split Seconds Chronograph is the head of the family. Conceived as an homage to the brand’s heritage, it’s also a tribute to the passion of Parmigiani Fleurier fans. In honor of the brand’s 25th anniversary, it is limited to 25 pieces and features a 950 platinum case and bracelet and an extremely rare solid platinum dial.
Inside the platinum case is a new version of the Calibre PF361 – an integrated high-frequency split-seconds chronograph that is also one of Parmigiani’s most complicated movements. This movement’s mainplate and bridges are also crafted from 18K rose gold. And though hidden behind a closed dial, the PF361 is open-worked with satin finishings and beveling.
The Tonda PF Split-Seconds Chronograph is limited to 25 pieces and priced at $171,600.
The Tonda PF Chronograph
The 42mm timepiece is an excellent example of how the design of a high-end timepiece is affected by the specific needs of a complication. The 5 Hz Calibre PF070 is an integrated high-frequency column wheel movement with small seconds and two registers. Plus, it marks the debut of a new oscillating weight made of 22K rose gold.
The guilloché dial is beautifully finished, never revealing the pressures of accommodating the stress that the date window and three counter openings put on the surface. The almost flush face of the Tonda PF Chronograph is achieved via a lightly sandblasted minute track and counter outlines on the discrete deep-blue dial. Available in stainless steel or rose gold, these chronographs maintain a low profile thanks to cushion-shaped pushers that seem almost fused with the lugs.
Tonda PF Chronograph is priced at $31,000 for stainless steel and $69,700 for the rose gold.
The Tonda PF Annual Calendar
The 42mm Tonda PF Annual Calendar shares the same 22K rose gold oscillating weight as the Tonda PF Chronograph, which helps set it apart from Parmigiani Fleurier's previous annual calendar movement.
The new Calibre PF339 presents a retrograde date, day, month, and 122-year moonphase as it is visible in both hemispheres in addition to the hour, minute, and second hands. Also available in steel and rose gold, Parmigiani Fleurier has also reimagined and refined the dial display, pushing the date out toward the minute track and using discretely outlined counters on the warm grey guilloché dial to create a more balanced and pared-down design.
The Tonda PF Annual Calendar is priced at $38,700 for stainless steel and $77,500 for rose gold.
The Tonda PF Micro-Rotor
Minimalist and discreet, the time-only Tonda PF Micro-Rotor is the most elegant of the four new references. Measuring in at 40mm is also features a clean, matte grey guilloché dial. This watch is also the first with a new version of Parmigiani Fleurier’s signature PF703 movement. This ultra-slim, 3mm thick, self-winding calibre features a platinum micro-rotor integrated into the mechanism’s structure rather than lying on top of it. This integration, in turn, allows the Tonda PF Micro-Rotor to measure a super svelte 7.8mm.
Like the rest of the Tonda PF collection, each surface on the Micro-Rotor model – be it on the movement or dial – delivers a visual treat. In this example, the hands and indices mirror the color of the case and bracelet (available in stainless steel or 18k rose gold), while the date disc is the same hue as the minute track, thus creating a consistent color scheme. This cohesion makes it a fine timepiece appropriate for any occasion.
The Tonda PF Micro-Rotor is priced at $22,900 for the stainless steel and $53,900 for the rose gold.
Parmigiani Fleurier characterizes the Tonda PF collection as a mature, sartorial approach to watchmaking. As Guido Terreni, Parmigiani Fleurier’s new CEO, summarized in a press release: “We have conceived the Tonda PF for the watchmaking purists of tomorrow. An uncompromising crowd of a select few, seeking personal hedonistic pleasure, who are savvy in watchmaking, appreciate sartorial craft on their timepieces, and have a strong sense of style and refinement.”
Interview: Three Questions With Guido Terreni
(Photography by Pierre Vogel)