Watches: Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda 1950 Squelette

By Thierry Ané on December 9, 2014

I believe Parmigiani Fleurier’s Tonda 1950 is one of the most elegant dress watches on the high-end segment of the market. Although I am usually not thrilled by small size timepieces (I consider 39 mm to be in the average to small region), I would gladly make an exception to wear any model from this understated line starting with the most classic, the Tonda 1950 Rose Gold with Opaline Silver Dial, all the way to the surprising Tonda 1950 Special Edition in titanium presented in 2012.

The highly elaborate round case with extremely original lugs that hug perfectly the wrist while giving the watch its unusual character, the neat bezel slim enough to maintain the harmonious proportions of the watch while beautifully outlining the dial with its perfect polish finish, the exquisitely cambered case band and small but easily grasped crown thanks to is fluted surface, one can tell that all the elements have been thoughtfully designed to ensure a timeless elegance.

The watch features such an understated aesthetic that it even becomes universal and works with equal success in its feminine version. Not a single change to the 39 mm case with a thickness of 7.80 mm: just a tasteful play with the colour of the luxurious hand-stitched Hermès alligator straps and the material of the dial and the very formal (some might say austere) Tonda 1950 White Gold with Opaline Black Dial and black strap becomes the vibrant Tonda 1950 Mother-of-Pearl with a shiny red Hermès alligator strap and a thin row of diamonds to highlight the beauty of the white mother-of-pearl dial.

But even in its feminine attire, the watch can retain its classicism and understatement: the combination of red gold and diamonds with a superb grey Hermès alligator strap and black Tahitian mother-of-pearl on the Tonda 1950 Black Mother-of-Pearl is a testament to Parmigiani Fleurier’s impeccable taste.

For the 25th edition of the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie that will take place at the end of January in Geneva, the Swiss manufacture will reveal the technical side of this Tonda 1950 by introducing male and female skeleton versions of this incredible watch.

For these editions, the in-house PF 701 calibre with its characteristic small seconds was replaced by another manufacture movement powered by a micro-rotor but offering the hours and minutes only. The new PF 705 clearly makes up for this loss by showcasing all its inner workings thanks to a magnificent skeleton work. Each bridge and main plate of this 30 mm movement has been openworked by hand in an extremely contemporary fashion. The hand-bevelled edges, hand-drawn strokes decoration and impeccably finished internal angles remain a clear indication of the brand’s attachment to traditional watchmaking and flawless craftsmanship.

The gents’ version, the Tonda 1950 Squelette White Gold, features a sapphire dial with an outer metallised rim hiding the points of attachment and providing the necessary contrast for the hour markers. This perfectly invisible crystal surface offers a breathtaking view of the skeleton work. As splendid the show can appear to watch enthusiasts, it may look too “mechanical” for ladies’ wrists. The design team found an elegant compromise: a frosted sapphire glass with a translucent misty effect. Look closely and the openwork movement will be revealed but it never offsets the delicate harmony brought by the rose gold case and its circle of brilliant-cut diamonds or the refined cord colour of the Hermès alligator strap.

I am really looking forward to discovering these exceptional timepieces in person next month and bring you some live pictures and videos. Hopefully, they won’t be the only surprises that Parmigiani Fleurier has planned for us this year…

For more information please visit the Parmigiani Fleurier web site.