Spotlighting Parmigiani Fleurier’s Tonda GT Annual Calendar Chronograph Steel
Parmigiani Fleurier is not all about the sell-out Tonda PF. Without a doubt, the PF inaugurated a new era for the Swiss independent brand last year to rave reviews. To the wider market, the flagship collection may seem like an overnight sensation. The truth is, its aesthetic evolution has a lot to thank the Tonda GT for. Having debuted a year prior in 2020, the Tonda GT elevated the classic Tonda looks into a new series of sports-luxe watches. And the best part is that the Tonda GT has brought along an annual calendar chronograph. Annual calendar chronographs are few and far between. The latest Tonda GT Chronograph Steel models featuring a coveted annual calendar with gray and red panda dials now join that exclusive club.
A 25-year evolution
As evident in the name, the Tonda GT (Gran Turismo) infuses extra racing-fueled oomph with its sportier and heftier form. To achieve that, Parmigiani solicited veteran watch designer Dino Modolo for his master stroke on the first run of the Tonda GT. Best known for co-creating Vacheron Constantin’s Overseas, Modolo derived the new GT Chronograph from the GPHG 2016 award-winning Tonda Chronor and refreshed some of Parmigiani’s hallmarks. This Tonda GT case design integrated with a bracelet culminated in the success of the Tonda PF, orchestrated by new CEO Guido Terreni (of Bvlgari Octo Finissimo fame).
Red and gray pandas
For the latest Tonda GT Chronograph, formerly known as the Tondagraphe, we have two color variants in stainless steel. Characterizing the panda face and the rubber strap are oxblood red and medium gray tones. The big date and the tri-register layout are defining features against the silverish-white dial. A dual-aperture displays the date below the Parmigiani Fleurier wordmark at 12 o’clock. The 30-minute and 12-hour totalizers sit at 9 and 6 o’clock respectively. On the right is the small seconds indicator, which neatly uses both ends of the hand to run through 60 seconds along two semi-circular tracks. It thus leaves room for the month display on the bottom half of the disc. Now, cue the coolest feature that gets me giddy about this watch — the annual calendar.
Annual calendar chronograph
The annual calendar is the adopted little brother of the perpetual calendar, so to speak. This high complication was invented only in 1996 by a Swiss engineering student and commercialized by none other than Patek Philippe, who created the first perpetual calendar wristwatch in 1925. Forfeiting the intricacy and price tag of a grand complication, the annual calendar, as the name denotes, requires you to adjust the date every year. The date counts through the long and short months of a year until the end of February. That means you only need to change the date forward once a year on March 1st.
A complication for everyday use
Personally, I never remember which months are long and which ones are short. But who uses the Gregorian calendar would not know that February is the exception? That explains why I find the Breguet Quantième Rétrograde’s calendar function outdated in such a high-spec creation. I would certainly be happy to make an annual adjustment, especially if that complication makes the price more accessible than a perpetual calendar. That said, I wouldn’t exactly call an annual calendar chronograph “affordable”. Annual calendar chronographs are relatively scarce and typically offered at the high end. Parmigiani has made an attractive offering with its Tonda GT Annual Calendar Chronograph in a stainless steel case.
The Tonda GT case measures 42mm in diameter and 13.7mm in height to accommodate the modular chronograph movement side. It provides 100 meters of water resistance and features a stepped bezel with a polished chamfer and the brand’s signature knurled edge. The case surfaces alternate between mirror and satin finishes, while the crown and teardrop pushers are polished. Beyond the colored sub-dials that form the panda face, the rest of the dial plays with complementary features and contrasting textures.
The hand-applied indexes are treated with a black luminescent coating to match the black date and month wheels. The rhodium-plated skeletonized hands and indexes sit harmoniously on top of the triangular-hobnail guilloché dial and the grooved chapter ring. Topping it all off is an ARunic sapphire crystal, which harnesses the most advanced technology to offer colorless double-sided anti-reflection.
A special engine
Powering the Tonda GT Annual Calendar is the manufacture caliber PF034, produced by Parmigiani’s sister company Vaucher. When you know that Vaucher supplies most of Richard Mille’s chronographs, including the annual calendar chronograph engine, you can appreciate the level of horological finesse that we have here. The PF034 is a modular movement that comprises 443 components, among them, a sandblasted 22K rose gold oscillating weight. The finishing is adequate for this price level to keep the offer attractive. This self-winding mechanism operates at a frequency of 28,800vph (4Hz) and offers a 45-hour power reserve.
An attractive package
The Tonda GT Annual Calendar Chronograph is keenly priced at CHF 19,400 on a rubber strap. The strap is high-grade and comfortable, and it lends a punchier style to the sports watch. And if you prefer to be more subtle, the model also comes in a black version with both rubber strap and stainless steel bracelet options.
The value of this steel model is compelling relative to what is on the market, and for where Parmigiani is heading in this new era. It would be so easy to overlook this impressive offering amidst the craze over the Tonda PF. On top of that, the Tonda GT Chronograph also comes in a rose gold model equipped with a super engine that deserves its own column inches. So I will be back with a second article featuring these Tonda GT Chronographs very soon.
For now, visit Parmigiani’s Fleurier’s website for more details.
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