Parmigiani Fleurier is finally getting the attention it deserves. Now guided by Guido Terreni of former Octo Finissimo fame, the brand has entered the competitive luxury sports arena with two distinct proposals: the refined Tonda PF family of 2021 and the Tonda GT, a sportier more robust approach to the luxury sports watch introduced in 2020. Coming up with two distinct designs that manage to look fresh and not fall into copycat mode is challenging, but PF has pulled it off with an impressive dose of sophistication and style. The Tonda GT Chronograph, in both its manifestations, is a beautiful fusion of PT traits that underscore Michel Parmigiani’s fascination with the golden ratio and his love of smooth, ergonomic and flowing lines. The Tonda GT Chronograph is back with attractive new two-tone or panda dials in Quantum Grey and Granata that steer clear of the current obsession with blue and green. The two Tonda GT Chronographs in 18k rose gold cases are powered by PF’s high-frequency integrated chronograph movement, while the two steel models raise the stakes by offering a rare combination of chronograph and annual calendar complications.
The best of all worlds
Following a thorough spring-cleaning session under Guido Terreni, Parmigiani Fleurier has streamlined its collections into two main families: Tonda and Toric. The Tonda is the best-represented family embracing the Tonda PF, the brand’s latest sub-family of elegant luxury sports watches, and the Tonda GT, a sportier line-up once known as the Tondagraph. The four watches we’re looking at today belong to the Tonda GT family. Like the GTs of the car world – Gran Turismo or Grand Touring cars designed for high-speed and long-distance driving – the Tonda GT collection is the sportiest line in the Tonda family, designed for rough and smooth terrains.
The architecture of the Tonda GT borrows freely from the Tonda Chronor, the brand’s first integrated chronograph movement of 2016 that took home the 2017 GPHG Chronograph Watch prize. The beautiful teardrop-shaped pushers and fluid lugs are direct descendants of the Chronor, while the knurled bezel is a hallmark feature of Michel Parmigiani’s debut Toric watch of 1996. Guilloché dials, openworked delta-shaped hands, a big date window, and an integrated bracelet are other features of the Tonda GT family.
The Gold Tonda GT Chronograph Hi-Frequency
The colour schemes for the chronograph counters of the Tonda GT Chronograph – referred to by the brand as Quantum Grey or Granata – work superbly well with the rose gold case. I’m not sure if it was deliberate, but the reference to ‘quantum’ inevitably evokes the profile of a suave yet rugged 007 agent. It actually works very well with these models that combine robust attributes like 100m water-resistance but look impeccably dressed and sophisticated at the same time.
The deluxe 42mm rose gold case has a height of 14.34mm and is polished with satin-brushed surfaces. Looking at the watch from the side, you will see the wonderful curvature of the case construction flowing gracefully from the case and down the bracelet. There are no aggressive edges or sharp shapes; everything is smooth and rounded, like a water-worn pebble. The teardrop pushers for the chronograph are slanted, respecting the curvature of the case middle and housed inside a larger teardrop lug that melts into the bracelet. For the record, Dino Modolo, the watch designer, was commissioned to refresh the architecture of the lugs to accommodate an integrated bracelet.
Presented in either silver guilloché dials with Quantum Grey counters or silver guilloché with Granata counters, the Tonda GT Chronograph features a classic 3, 6 and 9 o’clock layout with a big date window at noon. The crisp triangular hand-guilloché decoration on the dial provides an intriguing texture, which changes to a snailed background on the chapter ring hosting the applied rose gold indices with their black luminescent coating. The hour and minute hands are signature delta-shaped and skeletonised with a touch of black lume at their tips. While the content of the watch is sporty, details like the black lume, as opposed to yellow or green, up the luxury factor of the dial no end. And whoever might suffer from date window fever might even be persuaded that this big date window looks great. The running seconds sub-dial at 6 o’clock has two arched tracks and the inscription’ 5Hz Chronograph’ printed below, an indication of the sophisticated chronograph movement powering this watch.
Visible through the sapphire crystal caseback is Parmigiani Fleurier’s in-house, COSC-certified, integrated high-frequency chronograph with a column wheel, vertical clutch and big date display. The in-house calibre PF071, is based on the GPGH award-winning calibre PF361 and its 5Hz/36,000vph frequency allows the stopwatch to capture intervals of 1/10th of a second. Fitted with 331 components and 42 jewels, the movement delivers a robust 65-hour power reserve. A high-end movement, calibre PF071 displays Haute Horlogerie finishings with satin-brushed openworked bridges, hand-bevelled edges, and a skeletonised 22k rose gold rotor.
The models are delivered with sporty rubber straps with a triangular motif in the centre, like the guilloché dial, in Quantum Grey or Granata to match the counters on the dial. The only problem I foresee is which of the two to choose! Both models retail for CHF 43,100.
Quick facts: 42mm diameter x 14.3mm height – 18k rose gold, brushed and polished – knurled bezel – screw-down crown – 100m water-resistance – anti-reflective sapphire over dial, sapphire crystal caseback – silver guilloché dial with Quantum Grey or Granata counters – chronograph indications in sub-dials at 3 and 9, running seconds at 6 o’clock – applied indices with black luminescent coating – delta-shaped openworked h&m hands – big date at 12 o’clock – calibre PF071 (based on calibre PF361) automatic with integrated chronograph and big date display – COSC-certified – chronograph with column wheel and vertical clutch – 5Hz/36,000vph – 331 components – 42 jewels – 65h power reserve – hours, minutes, small seconds, big date and chronograph – Quantum Grey or Granata rubber strap – CHF 43,100 quantum grey dial (ref. PFC903- 2020001-400181) – CHF 43,100 Granata dial (ref. PFC903- 2020002-400181)
The Steel Tonda GT Chronograph Annual Calendar
Although the brand calls it a Tonda GT Chronograph, it is also an annual calendar providing owners with an interesting and useful combination of complications. Last year, Brice covered the steel Tonda(graph) GT with a black-and-white panda dial and an integrated steel bracelet. This year, the same model is back but with different coloured counters – Granata and Quantum Grey – and matching rubber straps.
With a 42mm diameter and relatively contained height of 13.7mm (remember, it has a chronograph and annual calendar complication below deck), the 100mm water-resistant stainless steel case is mostly polished, giving it a more refined touch. Like the high-frequency PR chronograph covered above, the knurled bezel sits atop the stylised flowing lines of the case, which set it apart from the usual suspects in the luxury sports watch arena.
Although it might seem like an identical dial layout to the 5Hz chronograph, the Tonda GT fits both complications in a neat, tight package highlighted with counters in Quantum Grey or Granata. However, look again and you’ll notice that the functions are in different positions. Here, the running seconds counter is at 3, the 12-hour elapsed times at 6 and the 30-min counter at 9 o’clock. So far, we’ve got the chronograph functions covered. With the big date at noon, the month is ingeniously integrated inside the small seconds counter at 3 o’clock. In fact, you can’t miss it because the aperture for the month on the right is indicated by an inscription on the left that reads ‘month’ – a necessary inscription or not? As an annual calendar, the month will need to be adjusted once a year, at the end of February.
The rhodium-plated indices, which are applied to the ribbed track, and the tips of the delta hour and minute hands, are treated with black luminescent material. Again, the excellent contrast between the silver hand-guilloché motif and Granata or Quantum Grey counters assists legibility.
The sapphire caseback reveals the calibre PF043, an automatic modular chronograph and annual calendar movement. Fitted with an openworked 22k gold rotor generating a 45-hour power reserve, the movement beats at 28,800vph/4Hz. It features refined finishings such as the circular Côtes de Genève decoration on the bridges and circular graining.
The two stainless steel chronograph and annual calendar models are presented on Quantum Grey or Granata rubber straps to match the dial. Both models retail for CHF 19,400.
Quick facts: 42mm diameter x 13.7mm thickness – stainless steel, polished and brushed – knurled bezel – screw-down crown – 100m water-resistance – anti-reflective sapphire over dial, sapphire crystal caseback – silver guilloché dial with Quantum Grey or Granata sub-dials – applied indices and delta-shaped openworked hands with black luminescent coating – big date at 12 o’clock – running seconds at 3 o’clock with month – 12h chronograph counter at 6 o’clock – 30-seconds counter at 9 o’clock – calibre PF043, in-house automatic – 28,800vph/4Hz – 443 components – 56 jewels – 48h power reserve – hours, minutes, small seconds, annual calendar and chronograph – CHF 19,400 (ref. PFC906-1020001-400181) Quantum Grey dial – CHF 19,400 (ref. PFC906-1020002-400181) Granata dial
For more information, please visit Parmigiani.com.
This post first appeared on Monochrome Watches - An online magazine dedicated to fine watches.