BY HARLAN CHAPMAN-GREEN
Parmigiani Fleurier is an established watchmaker based high in the hills in Switzerland in a small village called Fleurier. It’s a beautiful place (one that we visited on our trip to Chopard a few years back) to be, with a few watchmakers here and there through the town. Watchmaking in this little town is eccentric, beautiful and utterly precise in its finishing, with some of the best-decorated watches coming from here. Bovet was born in the town, and Chopard’s L.U.C watches, some of the best watches around, are mad here. The village even has its own seal of approval called Qualité Fleurier (although it’s not exclusive to Fleurier-based watchmakers).
Making watches in this town is an art form and a source of income for many, so it’s no surprise that things made here are exquisite. Parmigiani Fleurier’s latest collection, the Tonda PF, fits this category. Following the success of the Tondagraph GT watches we saw them make last year, Parmigiani has released a few new watches.
Tonda PF Micro-Rotor
The first is the most striking for my eyes as it removes the chronograph. In its place, Parmigiani Fleurier has placed, well, nothing. It’s not quite minimalism to the max, but for a company that’s used to adding loads of different finishes, it’s pretty restrained. That’s not a bad thing, although I’m sure some will see wasted space, I for one, am glad to see them let the finishing of the dial do the talking. It’s helped along the way by some tiny markers, and the logo is simply the applied PF graphic, no writing here. The hands have been skeletonised too to remove obstructions.
Inside the watch is the PF703, a thin movement of just 3mm thickness. It features a micro-rotor and beautiful lines of polishing, ensuring there’s plenty to view even if it’s not all wheels (power reserve is 48 hours). This thin movement provides a slim case. The watch measures 40mm x 7.8mm and can be had in steel for $22,900 or rose gold for $53,900.
Tonda PF Chronograph
This watch sees the chronograph return and with it a chunkier 42mm x 12.4mm case. It has a depth rating of 100m (in fact, all four watches have a 100m water resistance rating) and a three-piece bracelet in your choice of metal. These watches get a deep blue dial colour instead of grey like on the PF Micro-Rotor, but they otherwise keep the minimalistic design cues. I wonder how many comments we’ll get about the date window at 4.30?
Inside the PF Chronograph is the calibre PF070, which is also exquisitely decorated and has a longer power reserve of 62 hours. It also has a column wheel for smoother chronograph operation and beats at 5Hz for accurate timing. These watches are priced at $31,000 in steel and $69,700 in rose gold.
Tonda PF Annual Calendar
There’s something to be said about a sportier watch with a calendar function instead of a chronograph. It adds an edge of sophistication while still retaining the sporting credentials (although exactly how many credentials these watches have remains to be seen). This watch features a day, date, month and moonphase indicator, and the annual calendar system within it will adjust for the ends of every month, excluding February.
Inside the watch is the automatic calibre PF339. A modular movement for more straightforward construction by Parmigiani Fleurier, the PF339 features automatic winding, a 4Hz beat rate and a 50-hour power reserve. The prices of these watches are set at $38,700 in steel or $77,500 in rose gold, and they measure 42mm x 11.1mm.
Tonda PF Split Seconds Chronograph
Sitting at the top of this new Tonda PF collection is the Tonda PF Split Seconds Chronograph. One of the most complicated chronographs, the Split Seconds allows you to time two events independently via unique gearing and a second chronograph seconds hand. In this case, the split-seconds hand is silver while the chronograph hands are painted green which contrast with the sandblasted platinum dial nicely. Also, the 42mm x 15mm case and the bracelet are made of platinum.
Inside this dream watch is the calibre PF361, a hand-wound calibre with rattrapante (split-seconds) chronograph, gold bridges, two column wheels (for the two seconds hands), a 5Hz beat rate and 65-hour power reserve. Unlike the other models, this is a hand-wound piece, but it gives a much better view of the movement. This is limited to 25 examples worldwide and costs $171,600 apiece. Independent haute horology isn’t cheap.
Visit Parmigiani Fleurier here.