Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda GT
The steel luxury sports watch business has been pretty prolific over the past two years. Virtually all the luxury mainstream and small brands have steel sports timepieces in their product portfolio, including those we'd never imagine they would ever release a timepiece in steel, like A.Lange & Söhne, for example. This trend confirms this category is a first choice among consumers when approaching their luxury watch's next purchase.
Parmigiani Fleurier's offering within the Tonda collection is broad; I guess it's the only collection to include either classic and sports watches. When it introduced the Tonda Metrographe, one of the first timepieces I have ever worn as a press media representative, Parmigiani Fleurier debuted a delightful three-link bracelet, whose mid one is oversized. Also, my heart keeps beating for another "old-school" from the brand, the Bugatti Aerolithe. However, the 2020 Tonda GT is the brand's sportier proposition ever (I guess GT stands for Gran Turismo), it comes in steel or gold, and follows up the flagship Toric Tourbillon, released end of April. It comes in two options, which share the Big Date complication: the former is a three-hander, the latter is a complicated watch offering a chronograph paired to an annual calendar.
The Tonda GT is the outcome of a partnership signed with an external designer, who decided to abandon the Tonda's neo-classic look, while preserving those signature codes familiar with every Parmigiani Fleurier, like the teardrop-shaped lugs, as seen from aside. He explored uncharted territories for the brand while retaining a certain family feeling via details belonging to other collections, instead. The bezel, for example, is a nod to the Toric collection.
Up close, the Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda GT showcases a double-stepped bezel, the upper part being tapered and polished (I'm afraid it will be prone to scratches easily), the lower flat ring being as knurled as on the Toric instead. The dial boasts a triangular Clous decoration, yet the case design is where designer Dino Modolo, changed the game. The lugs are straight, narrow, and squared. Viewed from aside, however, they preserve the teardrop design. The bracelet is new and integrated; it appears to be an evolution of the current one, with the difference that a five-link bracelet has replaced the "old" one. On the Tondagraphe, buttons and crown have undergone a redesign too. The push-pieces are squared and sharp, whereas the grooved bezel looks outsized, a bit too much at least by judging from the press photos.
The various timing information's displacement is clean enough and draws inspiration from the Chronor, even if the matching decorative process reminds once again the Aerolithe. The double-scale with double-hands running seconds register is synonymous with a Parmigiani Fleurier chronograph. Interestingly, the designer adopted two colors for either Chrono or calendar display; all the information about the calendar is identifiable via the orange color code (month and day).
My only doubt regards how oversized are the wordings that end up with overcrowding an otherwise well-designed and eye-catching dial. At 13,7mm in thickness, the Tondagraph GT Steel Black is the "talking piece" of the new collection, and houses the PF043 caliber beating at 4Hz and ensuring a 48-hour maximum power reserve. It also sports a semi-skeletonized gold winding rotor, and Côtes de Genève decorated bridges. Parmigiani Fleurier will produce 200 pieces of the Tondagraph GT Steel Black, each priced at 18,500 Swiss Francs or 19,500 Swiss Francs (leather strap or bracelet, respectively). Such retail prices are impressive considering the brand's prestige, the specs sheet, and the competitive scenario.
Alongside the Tondagraph, Parmigiani Fleurier introduces a time-only version, available in steel or rose gold, showcasing, as said, an outsize date and running seconds at six, featuring double scale and hand. Sporting a steel bracelet too, the Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda GT Steel Black is 11,2mm thick and is undoubtedly Parmigiani Fleurier's proposal among sports luxury timepieces in steel. It retails for 14,500 Swiss Francs in full steel; drop by 1000 Swiss Francs, and you'll get the rubber strap variant instead. It comes in pink gold on a rubber strap at 24,900 Swiss Francs, or with a full gold bracelet (retail price not yet disclosed).
(Photo credit: courtesy of Parmigiani Fleurier )
Gaetano C @Horbiter®