Parmigiani is getting a bit of a makeover under the direction of the brand’s newly appointed CEO, Guido Terreni, who took over the helm in January of this year. Some of the fruits of his labour were unveiled on recently at Geneva Watch Days in Switzerland. The new look is cleaner and more directional with a focus on the Tonda collection, which has a new chronograph, annual calendar and split-seconds model. The new lineup is dubbed the “Tonda PF” in reference to the new branding, which removes the Parmigiani Fleurier name in favour of a simple PF logo at 12 o’clock. And while that’s no small change, Parmigiani’s fan base will likely approve—many collectors over the years have grumbled or joked about the brand name’s similarity, in both pronunciation and spelling, to Italy’s most pervasive cheese, parmesan.
Like founder Michel Parmigani (who was born and raised in Switzerland, but whose father hails from Milan), Terreni also has Italian roots. He spent the last two decades at Bulgari, where he oversaw the positioning of the Roman jeweler’s watchmaking division to become a respected force in the industry with six world records (it now holds seven) in ultra-thin movements housed in contemporary, forward-thinking designs. So now all he has to do is make the magic happen a second time.
Parmigiani is well respected, thanks to the founder’s master-watchmaking chops and its elite integrated-watchmaking manufacture (used by other brands such as Chopard to make components or cases), but it has never quite got the recognition it deserved, certainly compared to other niche brands of similar ilk.
“My role in this moment is really to shape and to define, in a very precise way, what is the soul of Parmigiani,” Terreni told Robb Report shortly after being appointed CEO. “It’s a brand that is twenty-five years old. It’s a brand that had a tremendous start in very prestigious and exceptional pieces and mechanics. It needs direction and it needs a consistency across the style, across the tone of voice and across the story. Few people know about this brand, so there is an opportunity to widen it to people, but not in a quantitative way.” His goal is not to make more watches, but to speak to an educated clientele with discreet taste and style and to communicate more clearly about Michel Parmigiani’s expertise. “More than the brand value, I think we have to build the human value,” he says.
The Tonda, Kalpa and Toric collections will be his focus, starting with the brand’s biggest moneymaker, the Tonda. The new collection is a more refined follow-up to last year’s Tonda GT and Tondagraph GT models (pictured above), which offered a sportier bracelet for clients looking for a more everyday timepiece. This time around, the dials are way less fussy. You might even say, minimalist. Here’s a look at its promising future:
Tonda PF Micro-Rotor
Here’s one for the purists. This slim 40 mm by 7.8 mm PF Micro-Rotor houses the new PF703 movement, a self-winding engine measuring just 3 mm thick thanks to a small platinum micro-rotor integrated into the movement rather than resting on top of it. Save for a small date window at 6 o’clock, with a dark background (matching the colour of the minute track) that blends into the gray grain d’orge guilloché background, the dial only features delta-shaped skeletonised hands and small hand-applied hour indicators, foregoing numerals. It is available in 18-carat rose gold or stainless steel with a knurled bezel design.
Tonda PF Chronograph
Similarly, even the chronograph received a face wash. The hour markers are also shortened, but, here, they make room for the symmetry of the three counter subdials. Like the Micro-Rotor, it comes with delta-shaped hands and grain d’orge guilloché, this time in navy. Both the stainless steel and 18-karat rose gold versions are powered by the high frequency 5 Hz caliber PF070, an integrated column-wheel movement with two registers and a small seconds. It debuts a new 22-karat rose-gold and openworked oscillating weight accented with the new PF logo.
Tonda PF Annual Calendar
The calibre PF339 that powers the new 42 mm Tonda PF Annual Calendar comes with retrograde date, day, month indications, as well as a 122-year moonphase aperture that displays the cycle in both hemispheres. The date has been pushed to the outward minute track, refining a design that pares down a complicated watch that could easily look hectic. There’s 50 hours of power reserve and it comes in either stainless steel with a platinum knurled bezel or 18-karat rose gold with a matching knurled bezel, both with grey guilloché dials and a 22-karat rose-gold oscillating weight.
Tonda PF Split Seconds Chronograph
The question we can’t answer until we see one of these in the metal, is can you read the time. But there’s a beauty to the monochrome Tonda PF Split Seconds Chronograph thanks to the platinum 950 case contrasting with the sand-blasted platinum dial with 18-karat gold rhodium-plated skeletonised hands. Flip it over and you will see some of Michel Parmigiani’s mastery in the beautiful architecture (not coincidentally, he almost became an architect before pursuing watchmaking) of the PF361 manual winding high-frequency split-seconds chronograph movement in 18-carat rose gold (a new version of the GPHG award-winning ChroOr). The 42 mm by 15 mm watch, equipped with 60 hours of power reserve, comes with a hefty price tag to match its weight in precious metal. It is limited to 25 pieces.
Previously published on Robb Report.