It was exactly 25 years ago in 1996 that master watchmaker and independent restorer of some of the finest clocks and watches in history, Michel Parmigiani, launched his own eponymous brand. Backed by the Sandoz Foundation, the Parmigiani Fleurier brand was dedicated to upholding the traditional craftsmanship of watchmaking but with a decidedly modern twist. Passionate about his watchmaking, Michel Parmigiani is always thinking ahead, thinking about where he wants his brand to go next and what else he can create to keep the watches fresh and in the forefront of collectors’ minds. It is this ethos that has guided Parmigiani Fleurier to 25 years of success and continued growth. Now, on its 25th anniversary, Parmigiani releases a new collection, Tonda PF, with complications and advancements.
I remember when Michel Parmigiani first launched his brand. It was years in the making and he was humble yet incredibly passionate. It is fulfilling to see that decades later, he is still passionate about watchmaking. Intent on creating a perfect balance between aesthetics and technology, and between contemporary and traditional, Parmigiani has regularly unveiled new calibers and collections. In fact, the brand boasts 30 different calibers to date with feats such as an integrated split-seconds chronograph, tourbillon and more. The new Tonda PF collection is similarly dedicated to excellence and geared for the purist watch lovers. The new series, like many of Parmigiani Fleurier’s watches, are based on the golden ration mathematic formula as the guideline for features such as the size of the hand or counters, the curve of the lugs and more.
The Tonda PF collection consists of seven integrated bracelet models that are powered by the brand’s most iconic movements, including a slim two-hands with date version housing a micro-rotor, a high-frequency 5 Hz integrated chronograph, and an annual calendar with a retrograde date,. The watches ae offered in either stainless steel or 18-karat gold. There is also a 25-piece limited edition integrated split seconds chronograph with case, dial and bracelet made in platinum.
Each piece in this all-new collection boasts certain common elements, such as the “PF” logo on the dial at 12:00 inside a vertical oval applique. The dials are created on multiple levels to add depth and dimension, with the indices set on two levels and a superb grain guilloche’ pattern in the center. The hands are crafted of solid gold and are entirely open-worked in an all-new design. The bezels on the stainless steel versions are platinum and all bezels boast high polish finishes along with hand knurling.
Tonda PF Watches
Measuring 40mm in diameter, the Tonda PF Micro-Rotor watch offers hours and minutes, as well as date and features a clean and elegant dial. It is powered by the ultra-slim 176-part PF703 movement that is just 3mm thick. The self-winding caliber can achieve this thinness thanks to a platinum micro-rotor that is integrated into the caliber instead of being placed on top. The finished watch measures a mere 7.8mm – or just about a third of an inch. In stainless steel with a platinum bezel it retails for $21,900 and in 18-karat roes gold it sells for $53,900.
The Tonda PF Chronograph is a generous 42mm in size and is powered by the brand’s 5 Hz high-frequency integrated column-wheel chronograph. This movement is a COSC-certified chronomter with automatic winding and 315 parts. It showcases two chronograph counters as well as a third counter for the running seconds hand. Harmoniously balanced, the dial boasts a sandblasted minute track on the outer edges. The watch is equipped with a new 22-karat rose gold open-worked oscillating weight. The Chronograph in steel retails for $31,000 (and boasts a platinum bezel) and in 18-karat gold it sells for $69,700.
Another highlight watch in the Tonda PF line up is the Annual Calendar, also a 42mm piece and also equipped with the new 22-karat gold rotor. Powered by the 359-part PF339 automatic-winding movement, the watch offers a retrograde indication for the date, day and month, and at 6:00 displays the moonphase in both hemispheres. That moon phase indication is accurate for 122 years. It retails for $77,500 in 18-karat gold and for $38,700 in stainless steel with a platinum bezel.
The ultimate watch in the collection, though, is the Tonda PF Split-Seconds Chronograph in platinum. As mentioned, it is made in a limited edition of 25 pieces for the 25th anniversary of the brand. The solid platinum dial is meticulous finished to offer a deep luster and great sheen. This watch is powered by the Caliber PF361, which is a new version of the brand’s high-end caliber found in the ChronOr. Its mainplate and bridges are made of solid 18-karat rose gold that is open-worked and meticulously finished. The high-frequency 309-part movement allows for 1/10th-of-a-second timing of two events that start at the same time and end at different times (as in a horse race). This highly complicated watch retails for $171,600. The new collection is an apt presentation of how Parmigiani Fleurier blends art and tradition with modernity.
(This article by Roberta Naas first appeared on her column on Forbes.com)