When he presented the new Tonda PF collection, then newly-appointed CEO of Parmigiani Guido Terreni had one idea in mind; offering his most elegant, discreet take on the luxury sports watch with integrated bracelet. Sartorial elegance, utmost refinement and casual spirit in a sleek, almost minimalistic yet highly detailed attire. Since then, the concept has been enlarged with a selection of classic complications, such as a chronograph or an annual calendar. In 2022, the brand pushed the concept even further with the GMT Rattrapante, reinterpreting the meaning of horological complication by making it true to the basics of the collection; sleek, intuitive and voluntarily discreet and elegant. This year, Parmigiani presented the Tonda PF Minute Rattrapante, an unprecedented take on a function that usually necessitates a rotating bezel…
Mysterious, refined, unintrusive and hidden from view when not needed. The whole idea behind the pair of Rattrapante Tonda PF watches – which, keep in mind, have nothing to do with the classic definition of a rattrapante, also known as the split-seconds chronograph – is to offer a practical additional function only when it is needed, whether it is a GMT or a Minute indication, and to hide it when the user only needs to display the time.
The minute rattrapante function
The mission of the Tonda PF Minute Rattrapante; enabling on-demand fine calibration of the minutes over a specific period of time for any occasion or event requiring measurement of the minutes count. In traditional watchmaking, this is a function that is, actually, highly common, perhaps the most common in sports watches… Think about it twice. The possibility to measure a specific duration on a 60-minute scale is, in fact, what a rotating diving bezel does. The idea of Parmigiani; performing the function usually operated by the graduated unidirectional bezel on a dive watch via the movement itself. And thus, transforming a feature of the case into a complication found in the movement. Easier said than done…
The whole idea behind the Tonda PF Minute Rattrapante, which is fully explained and demonstrated in the video on top of this article, is basically the same as the Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante of last year. The latter enables a distinction between local and home time in one-hour increments, by using an additional central hand to display the second time zone adjusted with two lateral pushers, and to hide it from view when unnecessary by pressing the pusher set into the crown. The Minute Rattrapante works more or less in the same way, however with distinctions to be expressed regarding the result of this function, and how it is adjusted.
How does the Parmigiani Tonda PF Minute Rattrapante work? Let’s take a look at its features. The case features two pushers on the left side, and a crown at 3 o’clock with an 18k gold pusher integrated in the middle. The dial classically comes with a pair of hands to display the hours and minutes. These hands are rhodium-plated skeletonized delta-shaped, but there is a third hand on this dial… The minute hand, when the function is disabled, conceals another minute hand in 18k rose gold. And then the minute rattrapante function comes to life, but using the two pushers on the left.
By pressing these pushers, which activate the function “on-demand” you can set the additional minute hand in five or one-minute increments, and thus quickly or finely adjust it to the desired target time – five minutes by the pusher located at 8 o’clock, one minute by the one positioned at 10 o’clock. The period of time to be measured will have elapsed when the rhodium-plated hand (a.k.a the classic minute hand) has reached the position of the 18k rose gold minute rattrapante hand. It is returned to its position by means of the crown-integrated pusher, in a similar way to the split-seconds function.
When to use this minute rattrapante function, and what can it perform? Well, simple… It does everything a unidirectional 60-minute bezel does when combined with the minute hand of a dive watch. To give a basic idea, it allows you to track a certain moment, in which you have to do a certain task. Say, for example, tracking the duration of an interview or a meeting (something that is often performed by an intrusive alarm watch), tracking the time you’ll have to leave the airport lounge to go to the gate, making sure your pasta will be perfectly al dente or, if you’re courageous and feel like bringing this watch underwater, tracking the remaining time of your diving session. In short, this is a rather technical expression of the countdown timer.
What matters most here is the fact that, in typical Parmigiani Tonda PF, the minute rattrapante function is expressed through the movement, not through the case, and in the most discreet and refined possible way. This is novel, unexpected and innovative, yet performs a function that has been around for decades in an intuitive, legible and unintrusive manner.
A handsome, sartorial sports watch
There is, of course, much more to the Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF Minute Rattrapante than just its additional function. This is, first and foremost, a Tonda PF with everything it means. You can see this Tonda PF Minute Rattrapante, as well as its sister the Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante, as evolutions of the classic Micro-Rotor model, a watch that we’ve categorized as the most elegant luxury sports watch with integrated bracelet.
The case, made of stainless steel, measures 40mm in diameter, with a height of 10.7mm – about 3mm more than the time-only micro-rotor version (explained by the more complex movement and superimposed minute hands). Yet, it remains a relatively compact watch that wears nicely thanks to its soft tonneau shape, and sloping bracelet. The case, decorated with a combination of satin-finished and polished surfaces, is not only elegantly shaped but also finely executed, with an impressive level of detail. Two elements particularly caught my attention; the finely knurled bezel made of 950 platinum (used here for its incomparable sheen) and the gorgeous drop-shaped pushers on the left side, which are not only beautifully integrated but also extremely satisfying to use. The case has sapphire crystals on both sides and a respectable water-resistance of 60 metres.
For this edition, the dial retains the style of either the micro-rotor or GMT models, but in a new and appealing Sand Grey colour. This soft, warm and discreet grey tone is here paired with the signature ultra-fine hand-guilloche Grain d’Orge texture of the collection – a deliberately miniaturized pattern that only reveals its true nature when looked closely, and appears almost matte at a distance. The small touches of rose gold, on the minute hand and the crown-integrated pusher, add a discreet sense of luxury. The bracelet, following the lines and finishes of the case, wears like a charm but can’t be easily removed or micro-adjusted.
Under the hood of the Tonda PF Minute Rattrapante is an evolution of the brand’s classic micro-rotor movement, a fine movement with 48h power reserve and a solid 22k gold mass decorated with a guilloche pattern. The minute rattrapante function is performed by a newly-designed module that sits on top, and adds almost 100 components to the whole assembly. The back reveals a nicely decorated engine, with polished bevels, Geneva stripes, perlage and elegant shapes for the bridges.
Availability & Price
The Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF Minute Rattrapante is released as part of the permanent collection, alongside the GMT Rattrapante, as of September 2023. It will be priced at CHF 28,000. For more details, please visit www.parmigiani.com.