Parmigiani Fleurier’s renaissance coincided with the rise of the luxury sports watch with an integrated bracelet. The brand is now introducing its specific vision of this type of timekeeper: the Tonda PF Sport. An evolution of the Tonda PF, which itself was a direct descendent of the Tonda GT, the Tonda PF Sport is purpose-built for aesthetes rather than athletes. Indeed, with the new collection, Parmigiani Fleurier might have come right out and made light of the idea of properly functional watches from traditional watchmakers.
To begin with, there are two watches in play: an automatic chronograph (Tonda PF Sport Chronograph) and automatic (Tonda PF Sport Automatic). We will look at the Chronograph first, as what is new here is significant, but other elements that are changed (the bezel, for example) and are common to both models will be highlighted too. The idea behind the Tonda PF Sport Chronograph, in particular, is a challenge to the ‘pressure of time’ standard that one most frequently encounters in relation to this complication. Look at the watch and consider the absolute absence of text on the dial; the ‘panda’ style really pops as a result, and even the date at 4:30 feels inoffensive.
Chronographs, in general, have a tendency towards being busy, design-wise, All manner of fonts, colours and styles of hands come together in a cacophonic symphony celebrating legibility. While that last sentence was a bit of a flourish, it too is indicative of what often goes wrong in the world of the chronograph. We will have more to say on this subject in the Autumn issue of WOW, where we dive deep into the business of recording elapsed time, but for now we return to the Tonda PF Sports Chronograph.
Parmigiani Fleurier has issued this chronograph in two variants to begin with: steel and rose gold, both with textured rubber straps. The 42mm watch is water-resistant to 100m, though the thickness of 12.9mm is (theoretically) still in the realm of casual, relaxed elegance; the PF070 automatic calibre is new and is COSC-certified. For those who think the guilloche on the dial and the knurled bezel are familiar to the Tonda PF, you are correct but also not. The clous triangular is closer in spirit to the outgoing Tonda GT (yes, the Tonda Sport marks the curtain call for the Tonda GT), while the knurled bezel has more prominent ridges than the PF. In the steel version, the bezel is not executed in platinum. Parmigiani Fleurier says there are 160 incisions for the Tonda PF Sports rather than 225 of the Tonda PF. We have yet to touch and feel this watch so we have to leave it there, but a future issue of WOW (not Autumn this time) will surely get into details like this.
Returning to that movement, the PF070 is new, which you can tell from that date window. It does preserve many elements of previous Parmigiani Fleurier chronographs, such as a high-beat escapement (5 Hz), column wheel and vertical clutch. Freed from the annual calendar in the Tonda GT variant, it is worth noting that the chronograph here is an integrated affair, not modular. It seems the 315-component calibre is both hand and machine-finished, although a physical examination will tell us quickly how elegantly it all comes together. The clous triangular and the knurled bezel should likewise be hand-executed, if other characteristics of the Tonda PF are anything to go by.
It should go without saying that Parmigiani Fleurier is making the Tonda PF Sport a part of the regular collection, and so it is limited only be production. The outgoing Tonda GT will likely remain available alongside the PF Sport and we look forward to comparing the two designs. One element of the Tonda GT that will remain with the Tonda PF Sport is the use of black SuperLuminova on the tips of the delta-shaped hands and the appliqués.