Now in slate, the latest Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda Chronor Slate has the restrained charm of a matured debonaire man that’s rocking an eccentric heart

Now in slate, the latest Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda Chronor Slate has the restrained charm of a matured debonaire man that’s rocking an eccentric heart

“A gray day provides the best light,” said Leonardo da Vinci. This could not be closer to the truth in the case of the new — well for 2019 — Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda Chronor Slate. 

When the Tonda Chronor was originally released in 2016 marking the 20th Anniversary celebration for the Maison, it was a technical wonder (more on that later). Now being released in slate (or grey), Parmigiani Fleurier has scored another home run; it’s like an old debonaire man who is hopping about after being given a new heart. 

From the outside, the watch is a lesson on restrained and timeless elegance, and for a brand that’s only 20 odd years old, this is a marvellous achievement. Packing heat on the inside is the movement in solid gold that can provide an accuracy of 1/10th of a second and uses two column wheels, one of which drives the split-seconds function.

Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda Chronor Slate
Courtesy © Parmigiani Fleurier

The Context.

In 2017 the Tonda Chronor Anniversaire won the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève award in the ‘Chronograph’ category. An amalgamation of Parmigiani Fleurier’s expertise, it was in a way inspired by the restoration of two pair-cased pocket watches created by James Cox from the 18th century. The main feature that was carried over was the use of a jumping seconds mechanism.

Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda Chronor Slate
Courtesy © Parmigiani Fleurier

Moving past its stunning visual appeal, the watch came to be admired for featuring a 5Hz (36000 Vph) movement; it’s use of two column wheels (one of which drives the split-seconds function); its vertical clutch (use of horizontal clutch is more common within the industry); a balance held in place by a cross-through bridge; and the movement material: 18ct rose gold. 

The Present.

As a follow up to the 2016 model that came in either an 18k gold case or a white gold case offered with blue or white dial options, Parmigiani Fleurier has released new chronographs in two versions, again in 18ct rose gold or white gold, both limited to 25 pieces each.

While all of the above defining characteristics of the award winning model from 2016 have been retained, there have been a fair few changes as well. 

Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda Chronor Slate
Courtesy © Parmigiani Fleurier

I appreciate when brands are tuned in to the reactions of the watch community and develop accordingly. There are a fair few aspects of this new version that have been ‘updated’ from the 2016 release that seemed to have bothered a fair few collectors and opinion-makers. 

The ‘Updates’.

– First, the bezel is now changed from a flat bezel to a knurled bezel, inspired by the original Toric QP Retrograde.

– The lonesome tachymeter of the 2016 version gets a new friend in the additional pulsometer. 

Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda Chronor Slate
Courtesy © Parmigiani Fleurier

– The seconds and split seconds hands were the same colour in the previous versions; they are now different colours for improved legibility.

– The 2016 models had the sub-dials at 3 and 6’o clock simply printed; they failed to bring to the watch a sense of depth or 3D effect. Parmigiani Fleurier has catered to this as well; not only in the new versions counters are recessed, but they also have a nice concentric circle look to them that brings in textural inter-play as well. 

Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda Chronor Slate
Courtesy © Parmigiani Fleurier

The Debonaire Man.

The watch face shows the functions of central hours and minutes; small seconds; big date; chronograph and split seconds. Tonda Chronor Slate also features an in-house-made integrated chronograph with split-seconds (rattrapante) with the sub-dials being off-centered to increase legibility. 

The large outsized date at 12’o clock is very reminiscent of A. Lange & Söhne watches, though the execution is different here.

Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda Chronor Slate
Courtesy © Parmigiani Fleurier

There is something about brown and slate coloured dials that they just pop when paired with gold. This watch is no different. The opaline finished dial acts as a subtle backdrop to the beauty of gold that takes over in the form of the fluted bezel, case and the rose gold plated indexes and skeleton delta-shaped hands.

The Eccentric Heart. 

The references PFH282-1000200-HA1241 (red gold) or PFH282-1200200-HA1441 (white gold) feature the calibre PF361 which is a manually winding 18ct solid rose gold movement featuring a chronograph and split seconds. 

The first integrated chronograph from the brand, this hand-wound technical marvel offers a chronograph, a split-seconds function and a large date, all on a single main plate. The solid gold movement incorporates several state-of-the-art technological developments that increase its reliability and reveal the true prowess of the brand’s watchmaking expertise.

Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda Chronor Slate
Courtesy © Parmigiani Fleurier

The 30.6mm diameter x 8.5mm thickness movement beats at the frequency of 5Hz (36’000 A/h), comprises of 35 jewels & 328 components, and is encased inside a 42.1mm diameter and 14.6mm thick polished 18ct rose gold or white gold case. It offers a decent 65-hour power reserve and a basic 30m water resistance.

Watch Ya Gonna Do About It

What started in 1976 as a watch restoration workshop has taken the shape of a Haute Horlogerie brand based in Fleurier, Switzerland some twenty years later. 

Parmigiani Fleurier’s first wristwatch was the Toric QP Retrograde, a watch defined by its bezel that featured alternating gadroons and knurling. This distinctive style has now become one of the brand’s aesthetic trademarks. 

And in the latest Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda Chronor Slate, this style is embedded in good measure. 

Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda Chronor Slate
Courtesy © Parmigiani Fleurier

The movement as we said is a work of art, both technically and visually. This decorated, open-worked, hand-chamfered bridge movement can be admired through the sapphire crystal display caseback along with the engravings of an individual number and ‘Edition Limitee xx/25’.

We also admire the fact that it is a Swiss Made joint collaborative effort. The watches feature all of their components, excluding the strap and sapphire crystal, being produced by different manufactures such as Atokalpa, Elwin, Les Artisans Boîtiers, Quadrance & Habillage, and Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier. 

Overall, the curvature of the oversized and angled ‘tear drop’ lugs that compliment the strap buckle is also worth commenting on. Add to this the  alligator Hermès strap and the watch is nicely bound as a unit.  

Costing a cool 135’000 CHF, the combination of slate with gold is spot on, and the rattrapante (split-seconds) chronograph rocks the dial. 

For more information on these and other Parmigiani Fleurier watches, head to their website here.