In a very short period, the Tonda PF collection has stolen the limelight and positioned itself as the star product of Parmigiani Fleurier. Released with Guido Terreni at the helm in 2021, the Tonda PF reinterprets the luxury sports watch genre with refreshing minimalism and understated elegance that place it in a class all its own. During Watches & Wonders 2023, Parmigiani Fleurier introduced a second platinum version of its Flying Tourbillon, this time with a dapper Milano blue dial. In contrast to the sober monochromatic look of its predecessor, this platinum combo with a dark blue dial is a sharp dresser.
When Terreni was appointed CEO in 2021, one of his opening moves was to get Parmigiani Fleurier a seat in the luxury sports watch arena with a collection based on the elegant Tonda family. Rooted in Michel Parmigiani’s ultra-slim Tonda dress watch collection, the mandates for the Tonda PF collection were refinement without ostentation. According to Terreni, the sartorial style of the Tonda PF Collection is pure but highly detailed, a style he describes as “rich minimalism”.
A breed apart
The original personality of the Tonda PF collection can be attributed to a series of shared features like the knurled platinum bezel, the teardrop-shaped lugs, the seamlessly integrated bracelet, the delta-shaped skeletonised hands and a grain d’orge guilloché dial with applied gold indices. Upping the cachet of the collection with full-platinum cases, a Split-Seconds Chronograph appeared in the 2021 debut collection, followed by a Flying Tourbillon in 2022 and a Micro-Rotor and second Flying Tourbillon during Watches & Wonders 2023. It’s worth pointing out that the platinum models do not share the collection’s guilloché dials, relying instead on contemporary matte sandblasted platinum dials.
Platinum is a naturally occurring metal that is rarer, heavier, harder and more expensive than white gold. Unlike white gold – an alloy composed of yellow gold mixed with white gold alloys like palladium or silver and coated with rhodium – platinum is purer and naturally white. Non-magnetic, hypoallergenic and resistant to corrosion and tarnishing, platinum is the king of metals for watch cases. More challenging to machine than gold, the density of platinum also brings a reassuring heft to the wrist. Platinum is also less shiny than white gold emitting a soft grey glow, the perfect suit for the discreet temperament of the Tonda PF.
Sharing identical specifications to the 2021 edition, the platinum case measures 42mm across and has an ultra-slim profile of 8.6mm. Following classic Tonda PF family traits, the lugs are teardrop-shaped, and the platinum bezel is finely knurled. The brightly polished finishings on the bezel extend to the top surface of the lugs all the way down the outer links of the tapering integrated bracelet, contrasting with the vertically brushed areas of the case flanks and links of the bracelet. The striated screw-down crown (some complaints have surfaced due to its small size) ensures the 100m water-resistance of the case, a reassuring fact given the delicate flying tourbillon complication on board.
Now flaunting a dapper Milano blue dial, the Tonda PF Flying Tourbillon scales the sartorial ladder. The contrast between the greyish glow of platinum and the deep dark blue dial is impeccably sharp, evoking Terreni’s Italian sartorial analogies when describing the watch. The Milano blue shade is the epitome of discretion thanks to the sandblasted platinum base that gives it a matte, non-shiny finish. Pared down to the bare essentials, the dial displays the signature skeletonised delta-shaped 18k gold hands and the short, hand-applied white gold indices. Apart from the oval gold cartouche at noon with the letters PF, nothing else on the dial detracts attention from the off-centred one-minute flying tourbillon placed in an aperture at 7 o’clock. Crafted from titanium, the tourbillon cage weighs just 0.255 grams.
Never a brand to brag brazenly about its watchmaking breakthroughs, Parmigiani Fleurier’s Tonda 1950 Tourbillon of 2015 was hailed as the world’s thinnest automatic flying tourbillon with micro-rotor with the lightest tourbillon cage. Although the record was broken by Bulgari (with a peripheral rotor) in 2018, the in-house PF517 calibre is still an exceptionally thin and beautifully executed movement. The 207-part movement measures 32.6mm in diameter with an ultra-thin height of 3.4mm, has a frequency of 3Hz and a power reserve of 48 hours – adequate, but not exceptionally high. The decorative flourishes include the guilloché engraving on the platinum micro-rotor, circular Côtes de Genève and hand-bevelled bridges.
Compared to the sober monochromatic platinum suit/platinum dial combo of the first Tonda PF Flying Tourbillon, the contrast of platinum with the handsome Milano blue dial is a perfect match. A trim, beautifully confected suit that will look sharp in all seasons, year after year.
Availability & Price
The Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF Flying Tourbillon is not singled out as a limited edition – but don’t expect it to be made in the thousands. It retails for CHF 150,000. For more information, please consult Parmigiani.com.