Parmigiani Fleurier 2022 Roundup — An Outstanding Year For The Brand
Michel Parmigiani had made a name for himself as a highly skilled restorer of antique timepieces and mechanical automatons when in 1996, the Sandoz Foundation supported him in founding his own watchmaking brand, Parmigiani Fleurier. This brand thrived, and those curious enough to approach it soon discovered its promising potential. Yet, for quite a while, it remained an insider’s tip. This lack of recognition probably was a consequence of restrained marketing matching the style of the brand and the character of the man behind it. But in 2021, on the 25th anniversary of Parmigiani Fleurier, Guido Terreni became the CEO. By contributing his in-depth experience in the watch business, he gave the key impulses to ultimately trigger the breakthrough of Parmigiani. Initiating success is one thing, but maintaining it is quite another. Therefore, 2022 was critical for Terreni’s task. And wow, what a success it was!
For many, it was a surprise when Guido Terreni left Bvlgari to join Parmigiani Fleurier. He had achieved similar success at Bvlgari then as he has now with Parmigiani. It should have been a relatively easy task to keep on reaping what he had sowed. But, obviously, he was looking for a new challenge. And just as obviously, he was aware of Parmigiani’s potential. The rest is history, one might think. But not so fast! We are right in the middle of this development. We are witnessing a transformation of the watchmaking landscape, something that doesn’t happen too frequently within the extremely conservative Swiss watch business. That’s reason enough to round up the novelties that Parmigiani presented this year.
The plain watches
We start with the latest addition to Parmigiani’s offerings. Following the trend toward smaller case diameters and also clearly targeting female wrists, Parmigiani presents the two-handed model of the Tonda PF collection in a 36mm case. The Tonda PF Automatic exists in three variations. The Silver Sand version bears a dial in a bright tone of gray. In steel with a platinum bezel, it now is the entry point of the Tonda PF collection (CHF 18,500). The Warm Grey version (CHF 24,900) looks quite similar at first sight, with a dial color that is just a tint darker. But here, 12 baguette-cut diamonds form the hour indexes. This discreet way of integrating diamonds is another remarkable example of Parmigiani’s restrained design language. The star among these smaller Tonda PF models is the one in rose gold with a Deep Ruby dial and diamonds as hour indexes (CHF 49,500).
With the Tonda PF Automatic models, Parmigiani offers the typical Tonda PF look at a size for which there is increasing demand. Also, the brand adds a feminine touch and lowers the price of entry while staying coherent with the successful formula. The new PF770 movement with a central rotor and no date drives these three models.
Two more variations of the Tonda PF base model appeared this year. The Tonda PF Micro-Rotor “Serenissima” is a collaboration between Parmigiani Fleurier and Revolution & The Rake. This limited edition is a Tonda PF Micro-Rotor with a salmon dial and matching date disk. The 25 pieces for CHF 21,450 sold out quickly. To serve those who don’t like a bracelet, Parmigiani now also offers the Tonda PF Micro-Rotor in rose gold on a gray alligator strap with a rose-gold folding clasp for CHF 35,000.
Despite restraint being the defining characteristic of the Tonda PF collection, Parmigiani added two models with more expressive dials. The Tonda PF Skeleton boasts a beautifully open-worked dial that introduces technical artistry into the Tonda PF collection. This model is available in steel (CHF 59,000) and rose gold (CHF 88,000). During my face-to-face encounter with this watch, I realized that this deviation from the pure design language of the Tonda PF collection convincingly works.
The other new model that I will count as an artistic enhancement is the Tonda PF Flying Tourbillon. A tourbillon is not a complication (it is a different kind of escapement), and in a wristwatch, it hardly improves accuracy. Therefore, I consider a tourbillon an artistic animation, albeit a highly prestigious one. The tourbillon in the Tonda PF Flying Tourbillon is visible through an aperture in the dial to allow the owner to enjoy watching that little whirlwind doing its job.
It is also important to note that this is a full-platinum watch. Not only the bezel and the winding rotor of the movement are made of this precious metal but also the dial, the case, and the bracelet. Unlike other Tonda PF models, the dial has a fine-grained sandblasted texture instead of the super-fine guilloché pattern that I also used as a background for the cover image of this article. But the platinum bracelet shows the same surface decoration as both the steel and gold models. The case has a diameter of 42mm and is relatively thin at 8.6mm. The PF517 movement is a tourbillon version of the PF703 micro-rotor movement. This watch costs CHF 140,000, and it is limited to 25 pieces.
The smaller complications
The novelty from Parmigiani Fleurier that caused the most stir this year was the Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante. When you don’t need the indication of an additional time zone, it is completely invisible, and you have a plain Tonda PF with a blue dial. The combination of this subtle GMT indication with a rattrapante mechanism that causes the additional hour hand to jump below the main hour hand is ingenious. In my opinion, this is the most elegant GMT watch on the market. And that, in turn, is exactly the way you would expect Parmigiani to design such a watch. The rest is a typical Tonda PF delight, including the stunning bracelet and the dazzling integrated pusher on the left side of the case for advancing the secondary hour hand. At CHF 26,000, this watch is not even much more expensive than the Tonda PF Micro-Rotor.
Another small complication that Parmigiani presented this year is the Tonda PF Annual Calendar in rose gold on a brown alligator strap. The watch, as such, is not new, just the strap and a rose gold folding clasp. It is an annual calendar with a retrograde date, month, weekday, and moonphase display. All these indications are packed on a tidy dial within a 42mm case. In this combination, the Tonda PF Annual Calendar retails for CHF 53,000.
Parmigiani Fleurier added three pure chronographs to its lineup this year — two Tonda GTs and one Tonda PF. By “pure,” I mean chronographs that don’t include other heavy complications. I will give attention to the chronograph annual calendars that the brand introduced this year below.
The Tonda GT Chronograph arrived in two new panda executions. Both came in a rose gold 42mm × 14.3mm case with a silver dial bearing a triangular hobnail guilloché pattern. Both feature a big date. They differ in the background color of the sub-dials, which are either a red violet or a medium gray. These watches are equipped with rubber straps in a color matching that of the sub-dials. In this panda style on rubber straps, the Tonda GT chronographs have a much sportier appearance than their siblings in the Tonda PF collection. Parmigiani’s PF071 caliber drives these two models. It is a COSC-certified high-beat (5Hz) integrated chronograph controlled by a column wheel with a vertical clutch. CHF 43,100 could make one of them yours.
In a much less expressive guise, Parmigiani added the Tonda PF Chronograph in rose gold on a blue alligator strap with a rose gold folding clasp. The blue strap matches the blue dial of this model. Instead of a big date, there is a regular date, but this is also a COSC-certified high-beat chronograph with a column wheel and a vertical clutch (PF070). Parmigiani asks CHF 45,000 for this model.
The complicated watches
Here we enter the area of grand complications where those brands capable of producing such watches showcase their ability. We begin with the Tonda GT Annual Calendar Chronograph. Both an annual calendar and a chronograph are impressive technical achievements in their own right. The combination of both, however, lifts these models to a different level. Parmigiani offers two new models in the same color schemes as the new Tonda GT Chronographs I presented above but in steel cases. These steel cases make these watches appear even sportier. A tiny window indicating the current month at the bottom of the sub-dial at 3 o’clock is the only hint that reveals we are facing a grand complication. Parmigiani’s PF043 movement delivers all this functionality in a 42mm × 13.7mm case. The brand offers the Tonda GT Annual Calendar Chronographs at CHF 19,400, which is a very attractive price.
We are reaching the grand finale of this roundup, Parmigiani Fleurier’s current pinnacle of watchmaking mastery, La Rosa Celeste. This model is a minute repeater with a Grand Feu enamel dial and case back and a fully engraved white gold 42mm case. But actually, La Rosa Celeste is a piece of art. The “square rose” motif that is engraved across the entire case is defined by the Fibonacci sequence, which forms the basis for the Golden Ratio. This, in turn, is the guiding principle for all of Michel Parmigiani’s designs. Therefore, this watch epitomizes everything Parmigiani Fleurier is about. The PF335 caliber hidden behind a hunter case back is a feast for the eyes and probably also for the ears. Parmigiani’s La Rose Celeste is a unique piece with a recommended price of CHF 600,000.
From plain models, artistic pieces, and small complications to chronographs, sportier models, and even grand complications, what a lineup this is! I like the way Parmigiani carries forward the design of the Tonda PF collection without impairing the original concept. The leather straps are a concession to those who don’t like bracelets, and the rubber straps suit the sportier models. Furthermore, the brand doesn’t neglect the Tonda GT collection. Parmigiani Fleurier can be proud of what it has achieved this year.
Guido Terreni didn’t invent anything entirely new that Michel Parmigiani had not already introduced into his brand. But Terreni made this impressively capable brand appear sexy. This success was even greater than the brand itself had expected. The result is a demand that currently exceeds what Parmigiani can supply. So now Terreni must concentrate on the more common tasks of a CEO. He must drive the streamlining of production processes to sustainably increase the manufacturing capacity of Parmigiani Fleurier and restructure the distribution network the brand already put in place. It will be exciting to witness the next steps in the development of this brand. You can find more information on everything about Parmigiani Fleurier on its official website.
What do you think about this lineup of novelties? Which of these models is your favorite? And what model would you ask Parmigiani to present next year if you could place a wish? Let us know in the comments!