Watches: Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda Métrographe Collection (+live pics)

By Thierry Ané on January 31, 2014

Since its creation, Parmigiani Fleurier has always been associated with haute horology. Based at the heart of the Val-de-Travers, this vertically integrated manufacture produces every component in-house except the sapphire crystals and the stunning watch straps made by Hermès.

Seasoned collectors praise the brand for its technical competency as well as the superlative finish of its creations. This excellence comes at a price though and with an annual production of roughly 5,000 pieces a year, Parmigiani Fleurier remains a niche brand for discerning and wealthy customers.

In order to appeal to a larger audience and hopefully increase its production (according to what I have been told the medium-term target is 10,000 pieces per year), the brand has decided to unveil a more accessible collection called the Tonda Métro. Designed to appeal to “young and dynamic” individuals, the line includes the Tonda Métropolitaine for ladies and the Tonda Métrographe for men. Strategically, this launch is of the utmost importance for Parmigiani Fleurier as its expansion is conditional on the Tonda Métro’s success.

In this article, I will only present the men’s models but the database on the web site and the Watches of 2014 appDownload Watches of 2014 on the App Store also document the Tonda Métropolitaine for ladies. They are worth looking at! I particularly like the mother of pearl model with Hermès taupe calfskin leather and the amarante red guilloché model with Hermès white calfskin leather that could be the perfect Valentine’s gift.

The Tonda Métrographe collection is composed of four models plus a special edition timepiece. All watches are equipped with the self-winding PF 315 calibre, entirely developed and produced in-house. Made of 351 individual parts, this chronograph movement uses two series-coupled barrels to offer 42 hours of power reserve. Despite the model being an entry point for Parmigiani Fleurier, the finish lives up to the brand’s reputation: bevelled bridges and “Côtes de Genève” decorations can be admired from the sapphire exhibition case back on all models.

Back view of the black dial model with Hermès black calfskin leather strap

The shape of the stainless steel case of these new watches draws its inspiration from the Tonda 42 Hémisphères. However, the brand opted for a size of 40 mm instead of 42 mm, which is a shame in my opinion since the watch has a little sporty side but it will suit a broader range of wrist sizes (and since ultimately the objective is to appeal to the largest number of customers, this makes sense). Unlike with the Tonda 42 Hémisphères or with the more classic Tonda 1950 Special Edition though, it is slightly asymmetrical. The asymmetry is subtle and one needs to really pay attention to notice that the lugs are shorter on the left-hand side of the case. On the right, they are bigger to envelop the oval-shaped chronograph pushers and serve as crown protectors.

Parmigiani Fleurier designed two dial variants for the regular collection, grained white or black. Both versions are available with a metal bracelet or with a Hermès calfskin leather strap (taupe or black depending on the dial choice). With pale green, the “special edition” model offers a third dial alternative, but only comes with a steel bracelet.

All dial variants, however, are true to the brand’s DNA: the delta-shaped hands, the elongated open-worked date window and the asymmetrical layout of the chronograph counters forming a sideways figure “8” are unmistakable design cues that we are in front of a Parmigiani Fleurier timepiece.

The grained white model with snailed silver counters, gold-plated applied indexes and numerals is definitely the most classic-looking version, especially with the extremely refined Hermès taupe calfskin leather strap.

Dressed in black, the watch becomes sportier. Its black dial features a snailed hour ring, rhodium-plated baton hours and pale green chronograph counters. Made of SuperLuminova, they produce a visually striking effect when in the dark, as can be seen on the picture below.

Night view of the black dial models

Lastly, the “special edition” dial is pale green with a snailed hour ring, rhodium-plated baton hours and white chronograph counters. The colour is truly unique, very smart and very Parmigiani but it is difficult to appreciate on the pictures. It is the perfect model for the urban dandy.

The Special Edition model

With a price range of CHF 8,000 to CHF 17,000, Parmigiani Fleurier enters a lower price segment without compromise on the quality of the product (case, movement, finish) or the originality of its design. This collection should bring a younger clientele to the brand made of discerning individuals with a true appreciation for what is beautiful and original at the same time.

As usual now, you will find the result of our photo shoot below.