Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda Automatic: Scintillating Diamond-Dotted Delights
by Martin Green
Those of you that follow Quill & Pad regularly may know that I have a passion for diamond-set watches. For me, these watches add an extra layer of craftsmanship while giving designers new ways of expressing themselves. Some brands do gem-setting extremely well, and Parmigiani with its new Tonda variation is a perfect example.
Parmigiani’s Tonda triumph: diamonds done differently
The Tonda is one of the pillars of Parmigiani’s current collection. It combines a classic, round case with luscious lugs that give it a touch of Italian flair. At the moment, the Tonda GT and Tonda PF are justifiably in the spotlight. However, that doesn’t mean that they are also the center of attention for Parmigiani.
As a genuine haute horlogerie brand Parmigiani curates its collection with care, knowing that perpetual success must be built on balance. Therefore, the diamond-set Tonda Automatic is a welcome addition.
While Parmigiani decorated the case of the Tonda Automatic with a stunning setting using 70 diamonds, it is the dial that is the star of the show on this watch. The brand cleverly recreated its hallmark guilloche grain d’orge (barleycorn) motif in precious stones. It took 979 brilliant-cut diamonds to get the job done, and the result is exquisite.
It is as if the diamonds are working in unison to create a pattern that goes beyond the individual stones, almost like having a dial made of very exclusive wallpaper, where the Parmigiani logo seems to be hung over it like a portrait.
Such creativity is what such bejeweled pieces should all be about. Parmigiani even opted for skeletonized hands to obstruct as little of the view as possible.
Difference in character between pink and white
The Tonda Automatic comes in either a pink or a white gold case, both powered by Caliber PF310. This automatic manufacture movement features a full-size rotor in 22-karat gold adorned with the same barleycorn motif as the dial, yet now in guilloche rather than diamonds.
As is often the case with diamond-set watches, there is quite a visual difference between the pink and white gold versions. The pink gold gives the Tonda Autmotic a very warm and rich look and extends some of that warmth through reflection to the F-G color-graded diamonds set in the case. This offers more contrast, especially because Parmigiani opted to use white metal on the dial.
The pink gold variation is clearly the more classical proposition of the two as the approach of the white gold version is more integrated. Here the only dash of color is provided by the blued hands and Parmigiani logo. These subtle differences are enough to allow an enthusiast to own both and not think that they look too much alike. They also to appeal to different demographics.
Is bigger better?
Parmigiani put the Tonda Automatic in a 36 mm case. While this results in a gorgeous and elegant watch, I might wish that it was two millimeters larger. The reason for this is entirely selfish as in a 38 mm case, the Tonda Automatic would become more of a modern unisex creation.
While this may not make much difference for the western European and North American markets – apart from yours truly – it might give the watch even more of an edge in other regions. It would also give the stunning diamond setting on the dial slightly more room to shine, something it really deserves.
The Tonda Automatic underscores that Parmigiani is a brand of many talents, with creating diamond-set watches being one of them.
For more information, please visit www.parmigiani.com/en/watches/tonda-automatic-rose-gold.
Quick Facts Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda Automatic
Case: 36 x 9.95 mm, white or pink gold, set with 70 brilliant-cut diamonds (1.69 ct); 30 m water resistance
Dial and hands: white gold with barleycorn guilloche motif made of 979 brilliant-cut diamonds (1.21 ct) or pink gold with blue PVD-plated logo and hands
Movement: automatic Caliber PF310; 28,800 vph/4 Hz frequency; power reserve 50 hours, pink gold full-size rotor with grain d’orge guilloché
Functions: hours, minutes
Price: CHF 59,000
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