Looking at the classic shapes of the Parmigiani Tonda 1950 suddenly made me realize that this manufacture has only been there since 1996. A very young brand – especially for watch industry standards – that is able to design a watch that could easily trick you into thinking you are dealing with a brand with a history of at least eight decades. The elegant lines of the Parmigiani Tonda 1950 watch case, the manufacture movement with micro-rotor and wonderful dial and hands are so balanced that it could appear to you as a watch that found its roots in the 1950s and was subject to subtle iterations through the decades to come.
Reality is, as you probably suspected by the recent founding date of the company, that the Parmigiani Tonda 1950 is not a watch that has been out there for ages. Parmigiani Fleurier just did an excellent job in creating a classic looking timepiece or in popular language, a dress watch. I was more than happy to give this Parmigiani Tonda 1950 a spin for a few weeks. Throughout the years, I’ve become a sportswatch guy to be honest. Reason for this is that a lot of the classic looking watches look a bit too classic for my age (being in my mid-thirties) or just to plain small (being a little overweight).
The 39mm diameter Parmigiani Tonda 1950 easily snuggles on the wrist and sits comfortably. For a classic watch, 39mm is quite large but for guys like me it is just perfect. The thin case and its dial without any irrelevant decoration also make the watch appear a bit bigger than normal for a dress watch.
Teardrop lugs come to mind when I take the watch for a closer inspection. The nice round lugs remind me of those teardrop lugs I admired so often on vintage watches. They have a high polish finish and are positioned in such way, that the 39mm case actually looks quite good on large wrists but still elegant on smaller wrists.
A small gold winding crown has ‘PF’ embossed on it. The crown appears to be a bit too small if the Parmigiani Tonda 1950 had had a manual winding movement, but for correcting time it is just perfect.
What has set this Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda 1950 apart from a lot of other dress watches are the dial and the Delta hands. These hands and dial actually bring a feeling of relief to the table, as I believe that if Parmigiani had used a more classic shaped set of hands and a dial exempt of the applied gold oval shape around the brand name, the watch would have been too old-fashioned for me. Since I’ve been writing on watches, I get to try all sorts of watches and many dress watches do not withstand the ‘is that your grandfather’s watch?’ question from family and friends. I noticed that besides the size of the case, the modernity and “freshness” of the piece are also due to these hands and the little applied oval shape on the dial.
Besides the white dial with rose gold applied markers, the Parmigiani Tonda 1950 is also available with a graphite dial and white gold case. A matter of taste I guess and I am happy that I did not have to choose.
Designing a beautiful watch is not enough anymore. Collectors and watch enthusiasts demand more from watch brands than they did before and Parmigiani Fleurier is probably thriving from this demand for high-end watches with true value. No story telling, but simply convincing their clients by watchmaking skills and a true and complete independence of manufacturing. Turning the Parmigiani Tonda 1950 around will immediately show you what this watch (and brand) is about: watchmaking.
The 39mm gold case houses a beautifully finished 30mm caliber PF701 movement decorated with the famous Côtes de Genève and angled manually all over the place. The micro-rotor is crafted out of Pt950 platinum with a very neat engraved pattern. The movement is as thin as 2.6mm and consists of 145 parts (including 29 jewels). A feast for the eyes and I’ve found myself taking the watch off my wrist numerous times to simply enjoy the craftsmanship of the movement. Fratello Watches visited the manufacture a while ago and a detailed report can be found here.
Parmigiani’s Tonda 1950 comes on a wonderful hand-stitched alligator strap made by Hermès and a tang buckle in rose gold. The tang buckle is something I applaud, as I am always fighting with folding clasps (sizing, too thick on the wrist, flipping open too easily).
With the Parmigiani Tonda 1950 my hunger for a beautiful dress watch has been brought back to life again and the standard has been set quite high from now on.
Ever since he was a young child, Robert-Jan was drawn to watches, even though it were digital Casio and quartz Swatch models at the time. In the mid-1990s, his interest increased when he started to read about mechanical watches in... read more