Up Close with the Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda GT Chronograph Granata
Could this colorful panda be the most sophisticated sports watch on the market? The independent manufacture makes a strong case with this bold, two-tone chronograph.
Coco Chanel once said, “Elegance is refusal.”
But contrary to what many believe, this doesn’t mean rejecting new ideas like Grampa Simpson shaking his fist at a cloud.
Rather, Coco means it’s better to tone down the flash in favor of simple styles made from the most luxurious materials. You know, things that will last forever.
Parmigiani Fleurier’s Tonda collection has undergone an amazing evolution since CEO Guido Terreni took over the reins in 2021. And while beautiful from the beginning, almost every detail on the Tonda timepieces has become more refined as the collection has developed; at the same time, Tonda models have become more modern in their expression.
And in our minds, there is no better example of this than one of the brand’s new GT Chronographs: the stainless steel Granata.
In short, we’re enamored with the stainless steel Granata, so we are going to tell you why it might just be the most elegant take on the panda dial in a while.
We’re Here for the Ratio
Parmigiani fans value the good things in life: A good cigar, a comfortable and well-tailored linen shirt, and understated accessories. Things that seem simple from afar but up close bring a sense of luxury. And as Terreni writes on the company’s website, customers “appreciate sartorial craft on their timepieces, and have a strong sense of style and refinement.”
Of course, as many of you know, Founder Michel Parmigiani got his start restoring historically important clockworks, so enthusiasts are aware of the maison’s mechanical expertise. But Terreni is also a believer in the golden ratio, a design philosophy built on systems of harmony and proportion that date back to ancient Greece.
The love language of the Tonda GT marries many elements of Parmigiani’s past. For example, teardrop-shaped pushers and fluid lugs reference the 2016 Tonda Chronor, the brand’s first integrated chronograph movement that also won the 2017 GPHG prize for Best Chronograph. Plus, the knurled bezel is a signature feature of 1996’s Toric. And the openworked, delta-shaped hand and big date window are all beloved hallmarks of the Tonda GT family.
While the Tonda GT Chronograph Granata stands on the shoulders of the Tondas that preceded it, it does not feel like an archival piece. Sportier than its predecessors, this model’s use of its striking color scheme stands apart.
The brand calls this palette Granata – a mix of a silvered “triangular hobnail” guilloche dial and deep red counters – and it comes on an integrated rubber strap option with a deployant buckle (a first for the collection). It also has black date numbers and a shiny 42mm stainless steel case (the rose gold version has an unexpected glow).
It sounds like a lot, but somehow, it achieves a pleasing chromatic and material equilibrium.
Just as the look of the Tonda has become more streamlined under Guido Terreni, one of the first things he did after joining Parmigiani Fleurier was to rationalize its collections into two distinct families: the Tonda and Toric.
The Tonda GT embraces the spirit of the sporty line-up known as the Tondagraph. The “GT” in the GT Chronograph refers to “Grand Turismo” or “Grand Touring” cars, which are built for both high-speed and long-distance driving.
The Tonda GT Chronograph, in both its steel and gold iterations, embraces the architecture of smooth, ergonomic, and flowing lines. Meanwhile, both are powered by the in-house high-frequency (5 Hertz or 36,000 vibrations per hour) automatic integrated chronograph PF043 movement.
Functionally, the Granata also finds balance between being formal enough for work and robust enough for weekends. It is produced from head to toe at the brand’s fully integrated manufacture in the gorgeous Swiss mountain town of Fleurier. And the watchmakers take as much pride and pleasure in crafting this COSC-certified calibre as they do in decorating the dial and case.
Finally, these haute horlogerie finishings can be viewed through an exhibition caseback. And if that’s not impressive enough, this complication also features an annual calendar feature that only needs to be re-adjusted once a year.