From its very beginning, Parmigiani Fleurier has always stood for the very fundamental values of fine watchmaking, with a flair for all the artistry that goes with the technical excellence. It’s natural given that Michel Parmigiani, the founder, started his career in 1976 with his own watchmaking and restoration workshop, at a time when the industry was in the midst of an existential crisis driven by the advent of quartz watches. His reputation grew quickly, and he was entrusted with the restoration of several notable pieces, including the Maurice-Yves Sandoz collection of pocket watches and automatons, one of the most important in Switzerland. With the Sandoz Foundation’s support, Parmigiani founded the namesake maison in 1996, which has continued his vision of merit at every level of the watchmaking process.
For many years though, Parmigiani Fleurier showed considerable promise, but somehow did not gain the traction that would have been expected given the incredible horological content imbued into each of its timepieces. Perhaps what it needed was a fresh perspective, which is exactly what its CEO, Guido Terreni, brought when he joined the company in 2021. With more than 20 years’ experience in the industry, Terreni quickly set out to re-focus Parmigiani’s watch offerings, more tailored to today’s enthusiasts and bringing in a new clientele with a streamlined look, all while providing the same watch excellence that connoisseurs already knew to associate with the maison. This is well exemplified with the new Tonda PF Sport collection, comprised of two models, Automatic and Chronograph, each available in either stainless steel or 18K rose gold. They’re a natural evolution of the previous Tonda GT models, albeit with numerous fine aesthetic adjustments to ensure that there is a closer linkage with the Tonda PF, the core elegant collection within the maison’s offerings.
It takes a very keen eye to spot the differences between the PF and the PF Sport, although they become quite clear once described. The bezel, for example, has 160 incisions rather than the 225 applied to the “regular” Tonda PF. It may seem trivial, but along with a slightly larger crown, it gives the PF Sport a bolder, arguably more casual look, again in line with the desired differentiation between the two collections. For the Tonda PF Sport Automatic, along with the restrained 41mm case size, the addition of a centre seconds hand is very deliberate, keeping with the weekend lifestyle ethos, also in contrast with the regular PF model which simply omits a second hand entirely. The guilloché pattern on the dial is a very traditional classical element that evokes Parmigiani’s fine watchmaking experience and has also been adapted with a finer “grain” when compared with the previous GT collection, emphasizing again that, although this is the sports-oriented offering from the maison, it is only a slight step away from the desired style of the Tonda collection. It never pretends to stray into the realm of the active sports watch, preferring to be the choice for a weekend trip.
The Tonda PF Sport Chronograph is even more evidently targeted to an active lifestyle by virtue of its additional complication. However, the design restraint is very much present, for it remains much more on the elegant side of the equation. The reverse panda dial design is meant to be easily legible, on this occasion with a simplified design on the subdials without the rehaut present in its Tonda PF sibling. Another key differentiator is that the Tonda PF Sport collection is presented with a rubber strap, although we must say that it is an extremely luxurious one, being cordura-treated, handcrafted and hand-stitched, being perceptibly much more supple and comfortable on the wrist.
Both models in the Tonda PF Sport collection are equipped with manufacture movements, the Automatic beating at 28,800vph and its double barrel providing 60 hours of power reserve, whilst the Chronograph opts for a higher frequency at 36,000vph, leading to a more precise timing interval of 1/10th. A larger diameter movement also allows for a more substantial barrel, with 65 hours of power reserve. The winding rotor, in gold on both models, sees a sportier design inspired by the steering wheel of a classic car.
We can certainly see a compelling vision that has taken shape in the past two years, from the Tonda PF and now the Tonda PF Sport collections. Parmigiani Fleurier has been taking concrete steps to streamline its collections, with a clear identity geared towards elegance and discretion, all with the utmost respect for the traditions of haute horlogerie.