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In The Metal: Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda Tondagraph GT

In The Metal: Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda Tondagraph GT

Whatever their shape or form, all watches tell us the time. But aside from this highly handy function, which two complications prove the most useful in everyday life? According to Parmigiani Fleurier, the answer is: an annual calendar and a chronograph. These are the two functions that define the Swiss horology house’s new limited edition Tonda Tondagraph GT.

The combination of these two functions in one watch remain a rare sight, making the Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda Tondagraph GT well worth a review. Some of the few examples that come to mind include Patek’s 5960 models, Carl F. Bucherer’s Heritage BiCompax Annual Calendar, or Ulysse Nardin’s Marine Chronograph Annual Calendar. In comparison to perpetual calendars (which are more frequently combined with chronos), annual calendars are marginally easier to create and slightly more work to upkeep, needing adjustment once a year (at the end of February). That isn’t to say that they aren’t still highly complex; the integration of a chronograph and an annual calendar is a feat in itself.

The Design

The man behind the design of the Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda Tondagraph GT is Dino Modolo. A renowned designer, Mondolo has a history in working alongside the likes of Vacheron Constantin, Raymond Weil and the Gucci Group. The joy of Modolo’s latest watch with PF is first and foremost its legibility. This is primarily thanks to its bold colour scheme.

On a base level, the dial is black and features clear applied baton hour markers, while the annual calendar display’s date and month are orange. The eye is therefore firstly drawn to the big, bold date windows at 12 o’clock, before being guided to the month at 3 o’clock. Super-LumiNova lights up the hour markers at night, while the Delta-shaped hour and minute hands are simply skeletonised.

Michel Parmigiani is known for saying that “If you learn to look, art will reveal itself”. This definitely applies to the Tonda Tondagraph GT. On second glance, the watch is actually full of fine details. Mirroring the nature of the watch’s functions, the horology house from Val-de-Travers combines haute horlogerie finishing on the dial with sporty details. The dial pays tribute to the annual calendar function’s elegance by showcasing Guilloché Clou triangulaire finishing on the dial and a finely fluted bezel.

It simultaneously integrates sporty details on behalf of the chrono with snailed 30-minute and 12-hour subdial counters at 6 and 9 o’clock, as well as a snailed outer ring. Furthermore, the beautifully integrated chronograph pushers function smoothly with a high quality and robust feel.

The Strap

Perhaps the sportiest element of the Tonda Tondagraph GT is the part that secures it to the wearer’s wrist. The 42 mm steel watch is available with either an integrated steel bracelet sporty or black rubber strap. The strap option is undoubtedly one of the most comfortable out there, sitting incredibly well on the average male wrist (roughly 18 mm). Not only does it fit well, but it also feels good; the rubber material is noticeably soft and smooth to the touch.

The only criticism is that the crown feels – and arguably looks – slightly too large on the male wrist, leading to a slight red mark on the wrist after a few days of wear. That said, this is, of course, dependent on the wearer in question to an extent. Nevertheless, the case size (plus height of 13.7 mm) combined with the integrated rubber strap sits perfectly on the wrist.

The Movement

The calibre behind the Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda Tondagraph GT and its unusually combined functions is the PF043. This automatic manufacture movement provides hours, minutes, annual calendar, chronograph, big date and small seconds. As well as providing a 45-hour power reserve and frequency of 4 Hz, the calibre also showcases fine decoration in the form of Côtes de Genève stripes. This, as well as the 22-carat gold rotor, is visible via the anti-reflective sapphire crystal caseback.

Tonda Tondagraph GT: The Verdict

The defining factor of the Tonda Tondagraph GT is technically its rare combination of two complications. However, it is the execution of its design that makes this watch a real winner. Parmigiani Fleurier perfectly balances fine watchmaking with sporting elegance, making this an ideal piece for men wanting a high quality chrono that showcases haute horlogerie at its very best. The masculine and distinctive design, alongside the unusual combination of functions, makes it easy to understand why this model is limited, and will likely appeal to a very specific group of men. Additionally, the use of an annual rather than perpetual calendar has its benefits aesthetically; if the watch were also to include a moonphase, this piece would likely be much less legible and the dial would risk appearing cluttered.

There is also a second benefit to the watch’s design; its versatility. You can imagine it on the wrist of a man swinging a tennis racket or speeding through Le Mans, but equally envision the highly decorated yet discreet black timepiece accompanying a suit at a gala. This gives the Tonda Tondagraph GT an extra level of appeal. That said, some might question whether they want to wear such a beautiful watch for every sport. Water sports, for example, can be a risky game when it comes to chronographs, even those with a screw-down crown, but the pushers are not. Under great pressure, water can potentially get through the chronograph pushers. After all, it’s worth remembering that horology houses pointedly use the term “water-resistant” as opposed to “waterproof”. This doesn’t specifically apply to this model, but you should generally be careful.

Last but not least, it is worth returning to the functions; annual calendar and chronograph. Why is this an important combination? In the world of watches, rarity is something to treasure; this makes the maison’s choice of functions a smart business move. Not only is an annual calendar marginally easier to produce and thus somewhat cheaper, but also possibly more likely to have a higher demand than if PF had integrated a perpetual calendar. Limited to 200 pieces and priced at 18,500 euros, the limited edition has all the ammunition a watch needs to succeed.


www.parmigiani.com


FEATURES

Artboard 4 copy 3W_BRAND

Parmigiani Fleurier

Artboard 4W_MODEL

Tonda Tondagraph GT

Artboard 4 copyW_REFERENCE

PFC906-0000210-X01482

Artboard 4 copy 4W_CASE MATERIAL

Stainless steel

Artboard 4 copy 11W_DIMENSIONS

Diameter: 42 mm

Height: 13.7 mm

Artboard 4 copy 10W_WATER RESISTANCE

100 m (10 bar)

Artboard 4 copy 2W_DIAL

Black with Guilloché Clou triangulaire finishing

Artboard 4 copy 5W_STRAP/BRACELET

Black rubber strap with folding clasp or stainless-steel bracelet

Artboard 4 copy 9W_MOVEMENT

PF043

Artboard 4 copy 7W_MOVEMENT TYPE

Automatic

Artboard 4 copy 6W_POWER RESERVE

45 hours

Artboard 4 copy 8W_FREQUENCY

4 Hz (28,000 vph)

Artboard 4 copy 13W_FUNCTIONS

Hours, minutes, small seconds, big date, chronograph, annual calendar

Artboard 4 copy 12W_PRICE

EUR 18,500 – limited to 200 pieces