The New Tonda PF Collection Exemplifies A Re-Invigorated Watchmaking Maison

·6-min read
Tonda PF Skeleton
Tonda PF Skeleton

With the Tonda PF collection, Parmigiani proves that you can speak volumes by saying nothing at all.

When I spoke with Chief Executive Guido Terreni earlier this year, he told me that Parmigiani enjoys undeniable respect for its craft, but it has never relished the bona-fide commercial success that other watchmakers of its standard have. He commented that “today, things are less formal than 25 years ago, and tastes in watchmaking have become fresher and younger but that doesn’t mean it has become less refined”.

With that understanding, his plans have pushed the brand into a new era of aesthetics by recognising its contemporary brand identity while respecting those values of the brand that were founded on: the new Tonda PF collection, launched to mark Parmigiani’s 25th anniversary, is exemplary of a re-invigorated watchmaking maison.

The Tonda PF: Opulent Minimalism

Available in a time-and-date model, a chronograph and an annual calendar, the Tonda PF brings an entirely fresh look for Parmigiani while retaining its distinctive visual identity. Eschewing the long form logo for an applied but still oval “PF” logo, the “new” motif located under 12 o’clock on each of the new watches isn’t exactly new; it was first used by the founding master watchmaker-restorationist Michel Parmigiani himself in the mid-1990s, when he launched the brand as a hallmark on precious metal cases and to engrave on movements.

Today, it’s been brought to the fore, to join the other embellished yet minimalist elements. The indices of each timepiece are set across two levels of the dial, resulting in unexpected visual dynamism through plays of light and shadows; meanwhile, the brand’s iconic Grain d’Orge guilloche dial pattern that lies beneath has been rendered the finest imaginable.

In Terreni’s words: “The guilloche dial as a texture is not invasive and does not take undue attention away from your eyes as opposed to classic guilloche where it is a focal point. By doing it so thin, it becomes very fresh and a design language of its own while respecting the craft that has been in the brand since the beginning.”

Indeed, any smaller and it would have become invisible. Any larger, it would become too obvious, therefore defeating the purpose of sophisticated understatement: imperceptible refinement, entire dedication to exclusivity, modern permanence.

Absent ornament, ostentation or opulence, the Tonda PF is emblematic of Parmigiani’s take on the highly competitive integrated-bracelet sports watch segment. The Tonda PF is luxury at its most refined, yet texture, form and detail can be found and appreciated especially when a true connoisseur knows where to find them.

As an entirely new design for Parmigiani, the Tonda PF bracelet is particularly noteworthy. Terreni, who led the creation of another integrated-bracelet darling in the industry, personally oversaw its development. He describes it ‒ supple like a fabric strap ‒ as a “second skin” for the wearer. The “entry” model, Tonda PF Micro-Rotor is 40 mm wide and 7.8 mm thin, taking its name from the platinum micro-rotor accompanying the extra-thin calibre. Yet despite its luxurious finishing and finesse, the Tonda PF watches enjoy screw-down crowns and 100 m depth ratings, cementing their raison dʼetre as sports luxury watches.

TONDA PF MICRO-ROTOR PRICE + SPECS

Case 40 mm x 7.8 mm stainless steel or rose gold with platinum 950 or rose gold knurled bezel and 100 metres water resistance
Movement Automatic Calibre PF703 with 48 hours power reserve
Price On Application

Introducing Tonda PF Skeleton

Tonda PF Skeleton
Tonda PF Skeleton

At Watches & Wonders earlier this year, a new Tonda PF Skeleton joined the stable with requisite Parmigiani subtle detailing. When we last spoke, Terreni admitted that though Parmigiani’s watchmaking competencies are well known in the industry, it didn’t enjoy the commercial success commensurate with its know-how, the Tonda PF Skeleton therefore represents every expression of horological excellence thatʼs expected of a luminary brand.

Reflecting the spirit driving the Maison when it comes to watchmaking creativity, the Tonda PF Skeleton strips away the dial to reveal the PF777 calibre inside. Purity and restraint reign supreme, while the smallest details are explored in depth until the perfection of volumes, aesthetics and added value form with movement bridges dressed with NAC coating, an alloy of the platinum family, for a high-contrast dark grey finish.

These bridges also exhibit vertical brushing throughout, while the bevelled edges have received a mirror-polished chamfer allowing light to dance across its myriad of finishing in a subtle if spectacular fashion. This meticulously hand-chamfered latticework draws the puristʼs eye in order to grasp some of the mysteries of its kinematics.

TONDA PF SKELETON PRICE + SPECS

Case 40 mm x 8.5 mm stainless steel or rose gold with platinum 950 or rosegold knurled bezel and 100 metres water resistance
Movement Automatic Calibre PF777 with 60 hours power reserve
Price On Application

The World Premiere: Tonda PF GMT Ra­ttrapante

Rewriting watchmaking tradition on its quest for purism combined with innovation, the Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante is a refined world-first combining discreet complexity with peerless user-friendliness. Sharing a lot in common with the time-and-date Tonda PF Micro-rotor released last year is a good thing, but this time, there’s no date window while an additional central rose-gold 12-hour hand serving as a GMT indicator, as well as a pair of case-matching, well disguised pushers at three and eight oʼclock, allow you to activate its GMT Rattrapante.

Here the Rattrapante function does not refer to a flyback chronograph but rather, the GMT pointer plays “peek-a-boo” or catch up with the hour hand. The rose-gold hour hand is set co-axially with the white-gold hour hand; pressing the pusher at eight oʼclock causes the upper rhodium-plated gold hand dedicated to local time to jump one hour forward, thereby revealing the rose-gold hand which displays time in the wearer’s place of residence, known as “home time”.

Once the second time zone information is no longer required, pressing the crown integrated rose-gold pushbutton repositions the rhodium-plated hand on top of the rose gold hand ‒ in the same manner as a split seconds chronograph hand preserving its understated nature that serve as common denominators alongside restrained and quintessential architecture.

This highlights the knurled and polished bezel, teardrop shaped lugs that present a discreet yet strong visual and identity signature ensuring the stylistic and iconic coherence of the collection, as well as the supple, smooth-flowing bracelet design.

TONDA PF GMT RATTRAPANTE PRICE + SPECS

Case 40 mm stainless steel with platinum 950 and 60 metres water resistance
Movement Automatic Calibre PF051 with split GMT function and 48 hours power reserve
Price On Application

(Images: Parmigiani)