Dr. Edwina Davies reviews the Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda 1950, a watch that is refined and unostentatious.
As a small child my father and my uncle took great delight in showing me those things which gladden your heart. I recall being carried carefully, nightdress clad, in strong arms, to the stables where my uncle’s dog had given birth to two tiny, wriggling puppies. On other occasions I was lifted to spy inside a thrush’s nest or gentle, gnarled hands would lift out a tiny swallow’s egg and place it in mine to be returned duly to snuggle in its nest’s feather lining. Something wonderful and the joy we shared followed the words, “Come and see”.
Wildlife often amazes you with its simple beauty. However, beneath the epidermis lurks incredible complexity. But beauty can also be man made.
The Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda 1950, refined and unostentatious, hides intricacies that astonish.
So share the joy, come and see.
Usually I choose one from a collection, generally the red or rose gold if such is available, so I will not break the habit and focus on the full range.
There is a choice of 18 carat rose gold or white gold and they can be chosen with either a graphite face or a grained white face, creating a choice of four and they all look very different.
The rose gold adds a soft glow to the white dial but stands out strongly against the graphite. The white gold against the graphite has drama but subtlety when edging the white. What they all have is clarity and a purity which is entrancing.
They are minimalist in their detail but striking in their effectiveness. There is the attraction of uncluttered lines, readability, and simplicity. But it is a simplicity that has freshness and is ingenuous. I love the honesty and integrity of form and line of each offering.
The hours are counted by simple strokes which on closer perusal are sculpted to a narrow point guiding the eye to the centre of the dial, diamond polished resting proudly on their opaline background. The beautiful delta shaped hands which have a luminescent coating are finely outlined in the appropriate gold.
The Parmigiani Fleurier name in simple upper case lettering, black on the white dial, white on the graphite, is set in a perfectly sculpted oval frame outlined again in gold and resides at 12 o’clock.
Resting at 6 o’clock is the recessed, simple, small seconds dial. Each five minute integer noted by the simplest of batons and marked off by the slenderest of hands.
All are clearly visible through the anti-reflective sapphire crystal glass.
The whole is an exquisite exposition of elegance.
Smooth lines, polished finish, expertly crafted, no distractions, this watch is a delight, a pleasure to behold. The slim bezel which frames and compliments the dial enfolds the face seamlessly and the lugs are smooth, graceful, gently curving as they meet the case. The interhorns are narrow and add to the sweep of the lines.
The case is 39mm but a slim 7.8mm in thickness, only possible because of the slender movement within. The slim silhouette thus affords another attractive feature for the would be owner to enjoy.
At 3 o’clock rests the small knurled crown, unobtrusive, no distraction from the sleek elegance of the case’s lines.
A sapphire crystal back affords a gallery for admiring the movement and bears the watch’s individual number.
Within are the features which sing of the artisan’s skills, the bevelled bridges and the Côtes de Genève stripes.
The movement is the PF701, like the PF700 it is extra thin a testimony to the watchmaker’s craft. It has an off-centre micro oscillating weight.
It is an in-house movement, only 2.6 mm thick so allowing the creation of a slim refined case. It houses 29 jewels.
Automatic winding it has a frequency of 21,600 vph and a 42 hour power reserve provided by a single barrel.
This is a watch to wear with a well cut suit.
The strap securing it is of alligator with an ardillon buckle in the selected rose or white gold.
What do you ask of a watch?
If you simply want the principle functions of hours, minutes and seconds, you have them exquisitely presented.
If you desire elegance, you have that in abundance.
If you require delicate detailing then that too is delivered.
If you admire a sleek slender profile you have that.
If you want a movement which has Swiss provenance, you have it here.
Here is beauty, refinement, perfection, created by a watchmaker who cares. Bearing the year of Michel Parmigiani’s birth in its name, it honours that skilled artisan, creator and restorer of fine watches which are exemplars of the skills of haute horology.
My advice would be if you can afford it, buy one in each gold to accompany different outfits.
Model: Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda 1950
Reference: Rose Gold/White Dial PFC267-1002400; Rose Gold/Black Dial PFC267-1000300; White Gold/White Dial PFC267-1202400; White Gold/Black Dial PFC267-1200300
Case: 18-carat red or white gold; diameter 39.00 mm; height 7.80 mm; water resistant to 3 bar (30 metres); sapphire crystal to front and back.
Functions: Hours; minutes; subsidiary seconds.
Movement: PF 701; self-winding; frequency 21,600 vph; 29 jewels; power reserve 42 hours.
Strap: Alligator with ardillon buckle in rose or white gold, polished finish
Angus is a self-confessed watch addict and is frequently asked to contribute to various printed magazines and websites around the globe. He also writes for individual watch companies on matters of horology and has appeared on television and radio as an industry expert.