Parmigiani Fleurier is an independent brand that has, in recent years, gained its status as an underdog in the world of watchmaking. They occupy a very interesting space within the world of Swiss watch brands. In my mind, Parmigiani Fleurier is a “more than meets the eye” kind of manufacturer. They are a brand that draws most of its watchmaking expertise from the art of restoration. For that reason, Parmigiani Fleurier is not a brand you typically hear watch collectors often rave about, but what makes the manufacture so special is the fact they have produced some absolutely stunning watches over the past two decades.
Pure lines, a refined case profile, ergonomic proportions, a classic-looking appearance with an understated aesthetic - these are the physical attributes that ultimately make up the Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda collection. What we have on offer here today is the Tonda 1950 Tiger Eye - a rare Parmigiani Fleurier you would not typically see in the wild, and for good reason. It was only made as a limited edition of 50 pieces for its Italian retailer, Pisa Orologeria, to celebrate their partnership. When Parmigiani Fleurier introduced this specific model, it was introduced as part of a unique Tonda 1950 collection consisting of two other variants apart from this one – one with a Lapis Lazuli and the other with a Malachite dial.
Obviously, the star of the show here is its eye-catching Tiger Eye stone dial. For those who are not too familiar with this dial material, the name “Tiger Eye” was derived from the aesthetical similarity shared with the iris color of the said feline, which ranges from a golden yellow hue to a dark rich brown tone, accompanied with a streaked pattern which greets you in more shades than one under different lighting exposures.
Parmigiani Fleurier’s cases are all designed in accordance with the Golden Ratio. As you may have noticed, their watches across the board have sharp but balanced case designs with very few straight lines. Housed within its slender 39mm x 8.4mm, 18-carat rose gold case is an in-house caliber PF 701 which features an off-centered, oscillating, and beautifully-decorated micro-rotor in 950 platinum, a respectable 42-hour power reserve, as well as a fairly slim movement profile of only 2.6mm in thickness. If you flip the watch over to take a closer look at the gorgeous movement through its exhibition caseback, you will come to find that the PF701 is a very refined and intricate caliber. Its Maillechort plate is sandblasted, pearled, and then rhodium-plated, whereas the bridges are sandblasted and decorated with Côte de Genève, hand-beveled, and finally rhodium-plated. An absolute treat to look at through the sapphire case back, for sure.
In my opinion, the Tonda 1950 collection is a very interesting collection because it represents the essence of Parmigiani Fleurier’s styling and design ethos. Watches from this collection are generally quite refined, slender, ergonomic, and balanced in design. There is a very subtle touch of softness on the watch that is very pleasing to see and feel, which I think contributes to how well it wears on the wrist and slides under the cuff. It goes on to show the level of attention to detail by Parmigiani Fleurier although this is in essence, a mere time-only watch. For all of the reasons I have elaborated above, this particular Tonda 1950 Tiger Eye right here is, in my mind, a compelling masterpiece of a modern dress watch that can effortlessly complement any collector’s watch box and daily rotation.