Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF Split-Seconds Chronograph Reviewed by Tim Mosso

by Tim Mosso

In music, it’s unusual for an artist to find his voice by covering another performer, but it happens. Aretha Franklin’s version of Otis Redding’s “Respect” is considered the definitive version of the song. Even Bob Dylan got steamrolled by Jimi Hendrix’s storming take on Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower.Parmigiani Fleurier is a child of the 1990s, but its recent take on the 70s-style integrated bracelet sports watch has become the market triumph that eluded Michel Parmigiani during his first two decades of watchmaking.

The Tonda PF Split-Seconds Chronograph is the ultimate expression of Parmigiani’s hit watch. Although the original version of the Split arrived in 2021, the example depicted in this survey is part of a five-piece limited edition run launched for the 2023 model year. It’s magnificent.

Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF Split-Seconds Chronograph

At 42mm in platinum, the full-bracelet Split has a mass of roughly 300 grams and wears like something the human emperor-god might own in Warhammer 40,000. But there’s nothing outlandish about the aesthetic or even many outward signs of its opulence.

After all, platinum and stainless look highly similar on the wrist, and steel is the assumed medium for this type of sports watch. Given the low-profile white metal and nerds-only brand name, the PF Split might be the world’s most subtle quarter-million-dollar sports watch.

Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF Split-Seconds Chronograph

Or it would be if not for the pop of the heart-melting platinum dial. Standard versions of this watch feature grey or silver-white dials, but the featured variant opts for a platinum dial disc coated with a salmon tint for warmth, color, and contrast. Compared to the frigid 2021 version of the platinum split, this one radiates charm and vibrance.

Highly legible big date of the Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF Split-Seconds Chronograph

Chronograph hands add more endearing tones with their fired metallic blue gleam distinguishing them from the white gold time-of-day indicators. Matching white gold hour indices and grande date aperture relieve any semblance of flatness.

Partially sunken subdials of the Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF Split-Seconds Chronograph

Additional refinements include a set of partially sunken sub-registers to add depth and a pulsometric scale printed directly upon the dial in the fashion common on pre-1960 “doctor’s” chronographs.

Pulsometer scale of the Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF Split-Seconds Chronograph

Parmigiani managed to run with the integrated bracelet sports watch pack without following the trend’s worst lemmings to their fate. The PF Split doesn’t look like a Nautilus or Royal Oak, and thank goodness for that.



The Tonda’s teardrop lugs and coined bezel are readily identifiable as decades-old Parmigiani design language. Most elements of this model’s active lifestyle aesthetic can be traced back to the 2020 Tonda GT line that marked Parmigiani’s entry into this class of sports watch.

Such gene splicing of brand and genre pastiches doesn’t always succeed; the Lange Odysseus is a fine example of how awkwardness can result when designers struggle to transmute a dress watch style into a sports watch package. But the Tonda PF flows seamlessly from case to bracelet and back.

The shape of the chronograph pushes matches shape of the lugs of the Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF Split-Seconds Chronograph

This case is beautifully made and amounts to an artistic tour-de-force. Lugs are fabricated separately and welded to the case flanks before filing to remove the gathered metal of the weld. Such a process is laborious but yields ultra-sharp breaks between lug and case. The striking contrast of polished and satin-finished surfaces remains clearly defined even on ultra-narrow surfaces like the inboard (mid-case) faces of the lugs.

In a stroke of parallel design, the chronograph pushers mirror the teardrop sculpting of the lugs. And because this is functional art, a 100-meter water resistance rating conveys authentic sports watch credentials on the comely case.

The bracelet itself is a handsome piece that looks flat, sits flat, and wears comfortably. Its standout refinement is the tapering of the satin shoulder profiles as the diminishing links move away from the lugs of the watch; this detail is redolent of delicate beauty. Removable links are fixed with screws, and the double-deployant clasp unlocks via twin triggers.

double-deployant clasp of the Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF Split-Seconds Chronograph

Clasp internals are white gold; this is a common feature of platinum watches on which engineers leverage 18-karat white gold’s superior mechanical durability relative to jewelry-grade PT950. The primary drawback of the PF bracelet/clasp combination is its lack of micro-adjustments. Vacheron Constantin, Patek Philippe, and even small indies like Czapek include this helpful refinement.

While stately and impressively solid, the Tonda PF Split doesn’t register any seismic shocks to the system until the caseback is revealed… then it hits like the California earthquake of 1906.

Stunning movement of the Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF Split-Seconds Chronograph

Caliber PF361 will be immediately recognizable to the fortunate few who experienced Parmigiani’s GPHG laureate 2016 Tonda Chronor Anniversaire. That face-melting split seconds chrono here donates its solid gold heart to a new generation of Parmigiani rattrapante.

While this movement is a highly modified manual-wind conversion of Parmigiani sister firm Vaucher’s automatic Seed VMF 6710 ebauche, the usual compromises of a decapitated self-winding movement are expunged with sheer decadence.



Like movements from Corum, Genus, and F.P. Journe, the PF361 employs solid gold for the bridges and plates of the mechanism; it’s stunning to see so much of the material inside of a caseback.

Movement of the Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF Split-Seconds Chronograph

The bridge that would have mounted the automatic system has been skeletonized and internally beveled in its entirety; nearly 50(!) interior chamfered angles disguise the automatic origins of the movement with virtuosity.

By Parmigiani’s own reckoning, decoration alone adds over 50 hours to the fabrication of this movement.

Beautifully hand polished anglage with sharp internal bevels of the Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF Split-Seconds Chronograph

“Interior” angles, wherein two bevels meet in a sharp crease, are a rare art, and many so-called “Geneva Hallmark” calibers get the coveted stamp without a single such flourish. Moreover, the PF bevels and angles are bright, rounded, and deeply drawn across the gold tops in a fashion indicating exhaustive manual attention.

Beautifully hand polished anglage with sharp internal bevels of the Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF Split-Seconds Chronograph

By comparison, hasty or mechanized beveling tends to be narrow, dull, and flat. Straight graining across the bridge tops is perfectly aligned, deeply grooved, and a better fit for the aesthetic than traditional côtes de Genève.

From a technical standpoint, the PF361 remains as impressive in 2024 as it was in 2016. The El Primero-like 5 Hz/36,000 VpH oscillation rate gives the watch a distinctive heartbeat while improving chronograph resolution to intervals as small as 1/10 of a second; 65 hours of power reserve is admirable for such a frantic escapement.

Michel Parmigiani’s signature discreetly engraved on the movement of the Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF Split-Seconds Chronograph

The single mainspring barrel features tiny Easter eggs on its cover including small teardrops echoing the case lugs and a miniature reproduction of Michel Parmigiani’s signature.

Chronograph column wheel  clutch of the Beautifully hand polished anglage with sharp internal bevels of the Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF Split-Seconds Chronograph

A vertical clutch places this caliber among its 21st-century peers for which the no-slack/no-play vertical coupling is considered preferable to the ropey lateral clutches of yore.



Skeletonizing the former automatic mounting bridge opens the chronograph mechanism to inspection. At center, the rattrapante mechanism’s pincers flank the split-seconds wheel. Twin steel column wheels of the sequencing system gleam to mirrored perfection, and the tactile qualities of the chronograph operation are outstanding.

Santin finished steel chronograph levers visible on the back of the Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF Split-Seconds Chronograph

Steel levers, horns, and hammers of the chronograph system are exquisitely satin brushed on their tops and micro-beveled on their flanks.

Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF Split-Seconds Chronograph

Parmigiani backs its ultimate chronograph with the authority of an integrated but unconventional manufacture. While other vertical manufactures as large as Rolex and as small as De Bethune house all faculties under one banner, the Parmigiani group of businesses exist as quasi-autonomous operations serving both the house brand and external clients.

Parmigiani is the unifying marque; Vaucher Manufacture is responsible for movements; Les Artisans Boîtiers handles cases and external parts; Quadrance et Habillage provides dial assemblies; Atokalpa is a wheel and train specialist; Elwin is an engine-turning specialist focused on screws, staffs, pivots, and other lathe-derived products.

In 2024, there is no shortage of options for the collector who desires an integrated-band sports watch. But it’s always lonely at the top, and that’s precisely where Parmigiani Fleurier has staked its ground with the Tonda PF Split-Seconds Chronograph. Standard sports watches from the Swiss “Holy Trinity,” A. Lange & Söhne, and upstarts like Czapek don’t play in this league.

The Tonda PF Split comes down from Olympus solely to do battle with the likes of Greubel Forsey, Richard Mille, De Bethune, and the handful of Audemars Piguet galácticos that bear an APRP signature.

Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF Split-Seconds Chronograph

Among this rarefied company, the Tonda PF Split stands out as a unique statement from an auteur independent. Despite its hype-watch genre, this chronograph opts out of the rat race.

It’s a heart-seeking missile aimed solely at the premier-league collector whose social media exposure is inversely proportional to his thirst for quality.

For more information, please visit

Quick Facts: Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF Split-Seconds Chronograph
Edition: 5 pieces
Reference Code: PFS9162010003-200182
Case: platinum; 42mm; 15.2mm thick; 53.3mm from end link-to-end link; 100-meters WR; push down crown
Clasp: Platinum and white gold folding clasp: double deployant with triggers
Dial: Platinum with salmon color; white gold hour and minute “delta” hands; hour indices date frame; pulsometric scale; chronograph hands in blue
Movement: Caliber PF361; manual wind with 65-hour power reserve; single barrel; 5Hz beat rate; hacking seconds; quickset date; split seconds by twin column wheels and vertical clutch; 18k rose gold bridges and plates; full balance bridge; free-sprung balance;
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds, split-seconds chronograph; grande date; 30.6mm diameter; 8.4mm thickness
2023 Retail Price: $180,000
2024 Preowned Price: $120,000

* Tim Mosso is the media director and watch specialist at Watchbox. You can check out his very comprehensive YouTube channel at

You might also enjoy:

Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante: A Design Nerd’s Favorite Travel Watch

Unfulfilled Promise to Proven Performance: Talking with Parmigiani Fleurier CEO Guido Terreni

Parmigiani Tonda PF Micro-Rotor In Steel And Platinum On-The-Wrist Review: A Contemporary Chameleon That Stands Out By Fitting In

2021 Parmigiani Tonda PF Collection: Elegant Simplicity, Even When Complicated

3 replies
  1. LocalheroEd
    LocalheroEd says:

    Written or spoken, Tim’s way with words are instantly recognisable and a pleasure to consume.

    As for the watch, it should appear in dictionaries next to the phrase ‘steal wealth’. At a glance you could miss it. Not mistake it (well maybe the platinum as it does look like steel), just fail to take in all the detail, especially as the party doesn’t really start until you head round the back.


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *