Parmigiani Fleurier was until recently a purists only delight. With last’s year launch of the Tonda PF, the independent explores new territories, still keeping the signature design and exalted decoration that made it famous. During the Geneva Watch Days, I fell in love with Tonda’s chronograph rattrapante, the precious Parmigiani Tonda PF Split Seconds Chronograph.
Parmigiani Tonda PF Split Seconds Chronograph
Geneva Watch Days 2021 was a fantastic opportunity for Parmigiani Fleurier to launch their new exceptional Tonda PF collection. Celebrating 25 years from the launch of the brand, the Tonda PF is intended as a forward-looking collection combining attention to craft, complications and streamlined aesthetics. From the series, the Tonda PF Split Seconds Chronograph stands out with a monochromatic theme highlighted by the platinum specific shine and delightful delta-shaped gold hands.
Tonda in precious clothes
It comes as a natural choice for this flagship piece to be dressed in platinum. More precious as gold, it goes easier unobserved for those unfamiliar with the specific lustre of the metal. Packed in 42mm with a thickness of 15mm, the watch is, in my humble opinion, at the maximum dimension for this kind of excellence: large enough for those with strong wrists but still enjoyable for those with small wrists or a taste for small diameters. It wears as specific to the material – quite heavy directly compared with similar pieces in titanium, but a genuine pleasure for those familiar with platinum, or at least, with stainless steel or gold bracelet watches. I personally enjoy the weight of the full metal.
The Tonda PF Split Seconds Chronograph comes with the familiar voluptuous lines of the Tonda collection: an unusual and tasteful combination of delicate lines with bold wide shoulders terminated in relative short lugs. A refined combination that gives a smaller wear and permitted an elegant integration of the bracelet. Fine brushing and mirror polishing highlight the watch’s lines. The two steps bezel with fluted lines increase the boldness and sportiness of the Tonda. A 100m water-tightness underlines the sports characteristics.
The screwed-in crown presents a good grip and bears the embossed PF logo. The crown presents a pusher destined to be the rattraper (to recapture)- it allows the stoped hand of the split chrono to sync with the running hand (rattrapante – the name of the split-seconds complication). Another specific element of Parmigiani Fleurier is the gorgeous pushers’ shape, finished with a well-executed polish that increases the contrast with the matt finish of the caseband.
The bracelet is manufactured in 3 rows with external slim polished links and wide central matt elements. The integration is flawless and the extraordinary mobility of the links offer comfortable and pleasant wear. The platinum bracelet is ended with a white gold folding clasp, where, we find again the PF logo positively engraved.
A dial that stands out only if you know what are you looking at…
Parmigiani Fleurier goes further and uses platinum also for the dial. The elegance of platinum is presented in an understated form – the sand-blasted finish does not reveal its true material but it looks absolutely amazing, at least for me…
A central horizontal chronograph layout is balanced vertically by a small seconds indication at the lower side of the dial, while the top is a stage where the minimalistic PF logo plays the central part in highlighting the noble origin of the watch.
The outer region of the dial is used for a pulsometer register calibrated to 30 pulsations – an excellent tool for anyone mastering this type of pulse reading and highly desired features for those saving lives. Because why not save lives in style with a watch that you can count on.
The medial line presents the 30-min counter on right and a 12 hours totaliser on the left. A recessed ring bears printed indexes and numerals with exceptional legibility. To the small seconds subdial was given the same treatment.
The time uses 18ct gold rhodium-plated skeletonized delta-shaped hands with steel, rhodium-plated, in baton shape for seconds. The split chronograph uses rose gold plated hands. The split-seconds hand is a steel rhodium plated for better legibility and contrast.
Calibre PF361 in gold
While the watch frontal view might go unnoticed, the back of the watch will certainly receive some gasps of wonder and admiration. The manual winding manufacture movement is made in 18ct rose gold. The movement stands out through the generously revealing sapphire crystal.
The calibre PF361 is a version of the Tonda Chronor launched in 2016 for the brand’s 20th anniversary. This magnificent horological creature featuring gold bridges brought the “Best Chronograph” prize at 2017’s GPHG. The movement combines not only an exquisite visual presence but also a rare and complicated horological function.
The Calibre PF361 features two column wheels: one is used for the general chronograph function while the second is dedicated to the split function. Moreover, the movement uses a vertical clutch that prevents the stutter that can be caused by a horizontal clutch. In this way, the chronograph has an exceptional behaviour, with a secure start-stop of split hands.
The architectural multi-layered construction with amble skeletonised bridges is a true example of haute horlogerie. While the main brushing does not necessarily impress, the polished edges do. An entire feast of sharp angles denotes the fine handwork and virtue of Parmigiani Fleurier. Small details amaze further: the hidden signature and brand’s specific tear drops can be observed on an attentive study of the movement.
Asking Diana (she is M.D.) about the utility of the pulsometer function, she told me that she is rarely using it, but those few occasions were critical and having a chrono that she can count on can save lives. BTW, she wears a 41 mm full metal bracelet chrono with day/date on her night shifts – another argument for the size and weariness of the watch for those appreciating the feel. But she considers the date an important feature, sadly missing here. In a middle of an emergency, needing time, day/date for fast documentation is maybe not as life-saving as the pulsation scale but ease for the wearer in stressful conditions. While perfectly understanding her point, I am also aware that this is just a sports watch with a note on excellence and haute horlogerie. Adding more details/complications to this dial will dilute its pure beauty.
While the Parmigiani Fleurier pieces were a hidden gem for the collectors in the know, with the Tonda PF, the brand’s appeal is increased for a larger audience. With a modern design and its characteristic details, the becomes well anchored in the modern horological theatre. The Parmigiani Tonda PF Split Seconds Chronograph speaks a language known to the purists that is also easier to understand for younger generations. With sublime finishes, pure horological know-how and a limited edition of just 25 pieces, the Tonda PF Split Seconds Chronograph ticks a lot of boxes. It shows the determination of the brand to evolve, without forgetting its origins and, most importantly, its true horological blood.
Parmigiani Tonda PF Split Seconds Chronograph Technical Specifications
Ref: PFH916-2010001-200182 – RSP: 155,000 CHF
- Hours, minutes, small seconds,
- Split-seconds chronograph
- Calibre PF361 – manual-winding manufacture movement in 18ct rose gold with integrated split-seconds chronograph
- Power reserve: 65 hours
- Frequency: 36,000 Vph (5 Hz)
- Jewels: 35
- No. of components: 309
- Diameter: 30.6 mm
- Thickness: 8.45 mm
- Decoration: satin-finished open-worked bridges, hand-bevelled edges
- Polished and satin-finished platinum 950 with hand-knurled bezel
- Diameter: 42 mm
- Thickness: 15 mm
- Crown: Ø 7.2 mm, screwed-in
- Glass: ARunic anti-reflective sapphire
- Case back: sapphire glass
- Engraving on case back: serial number – “Edition limitée X/25” – “PARMIGIANI FLEURIER” – “36’000 Alt/h”
- Water resistance: 100 m
Dial & Hands
- Material: platinum 950
- Finishing: sand-blasted
- Indices: hand-applied rhodium-plated appliqués
- Hours and minutes: 18ct gold rhodium-plated skeletonized delta-shaped
- Chronograph and small seconds: steel, rhodium or rose gold-plated
- Polished and satin-finished platinum 950 bracelet
- Closure: 18ct white gold folding clasp
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