In 2016, in celebration of their 20th anniversary, Parmigiani Fleurier joined a small but prestigious group of manufactures with the introduction of the Tonda Chronor Anniversaire, featuring the Maison’s first-ever in-house integrated chronograph- the PF361 caliber. Only seven brands in the watchmaking world have the expertise necessary to develop, manufacture and meticulously assemble such an intricate caliber, and today, Parmigiani Fleurier is proud to announce the third such feat in its 23-year history for the highly anticipated Watches & Wonders Shanghai show.
Following the successful launch of the Tonda GT collection earlier this Summer, it should come as no surprise that Parmigiani Fleurier would seek to again surprise with the introduction of a new model that further cements their indelible mark in the watchmaking world.
The Tondagraph GT Rose Gold Blue features a polished and satin-finished bracelet and a 42 mm case, both made in 18-ct solid rose gold. The fluted bezel is inspired by Michel Parmigiani’s first watch model -the Toric collection-, while the case’s foundation comes from the award-winning Tonda Chronor Anniversaire watch, for which the Manufacture received the Chronograph Watch Prize from the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève in 2017. The similarities of both models go beyond the aesthetics. This timepiece houses the new PF071 movement, a COSC certified, automatic integrated chronograph with large date, based on the foundation of the original PF361 and featuring several impressive elements.
One column wheel instead of a cam
The movement is organized around a central column wheel serving as the main center of the chronograph. This component is particularly difficult to create and master, making it smoother to operate while at the same time maximizing what we call the chronograph’s activation ergonomics.
A vertical clutch instead of a horizontal clutch
The vertical clutch is more accurate than a horizontal clutch and it is also much more difficult to create. It boosts the accuracy of the timepiece by enabling the chronograph to start immediately and without the slightest initial jolt.
A balance secured by a cross-through bridge, instead of a single attachment point, known as the “cock”
The balance, the component regulating the movement, is more stable and robust with the double attachment point on the cross-bridge. This attachment minimizes the effect of impacts to the balance with gold inertia blocks and has been designed so that its height can be adjusted and adapted precisely to the rest of the movement.
36,000 vibrations per hour
The higher the oscillating frequency, the more accurate the chronograph. In-house integrated chronographs are rare; it is even rarer for them to beat at a 5 hertz frequency. This means that the chronograph’s seconds hand makes 10 jumps or “steps” per second, making it accurate to the nearest 10th of a second. Most other chronographs only make 8 jumps per second, making it 25% less accurate.
In addition, the dial displays all relevant information in a legible yet sophisticated manner via a small second subdials, two more for the chronograph function, a big date aperture at 12 o’clock and delta-shaped hands with black luminescent coating indicating the hours and minutes. The big date aperture is also integrated into the movement rather than added as an additional module so as to retain technical reliability, a technical feat of its own considering the spatial constrains involved. Parmigiani Fleurier therefore had to maximize the usable space on the caliber’s surface to house the 13 mm disks.
It would be remiss not to also mention the fine quality and attention to detail paid to the finishing of the movement, which may be admired from the open case back of the watch. All Parmigiani Fleurier movements feature chamfering and polishing done by hand; in this special caliber all parts are decorated by hand on visible surfaces, while even those which seldom see the light of day are sandblasted. The bridges, wheels, springs, levers, and other miniscule components receive tremendous attention- the hallmark of a Parmigiani Fleurier haute horlogerie piece. The PF071 features a sunray satin pattern and a 22-ct solid gold oscillating weight. All these elements, along with the “angel wing” bridges, contribute to the intrinsic beauty of the movement.
As with its Tonda GT predecessors, Parmigiani Fleurier worked with Dino Modolo to reimagine the design while still adhering to the Parmigiani Fleurier ethos, rooted in Michel Parmigiani’s admiration of the golden ratio. The updated teardrop-shaped lugs perfectly follow the lines of its integrated bracelet for a seamless look. The dial is finished with traditional “clou triangulaire” guilloche, further accentuated by its vibrant blue color. The finishing motif continues through the alternate, sportier blue rubber strap, making it a watch one can wear on any occasion.
Long revered among collectors, Parmigiani Fleurier continues to showcase its manufacturing prowess and commitment to excellence, this time with a contemporary approach to casual wear. From the screws to the balance spring and the all-important regulating organ- the escapement- to the case and dial, the watch is manufactured within the vertically integrated walls of the Parmigiani Fleurier family of factories. Only the hands, sapphire crystal and rubber strap are made by other trusted partners.
Limited to only 25 pieces, the Tondagraph GT Rose Gold Blue is a true celebration of time, watchmaking expertise and today’s modern collector.