Here we have yet another integrated bracelet sports watch. The style has been so coveted in recent years it’s become de rigueur for nearly every watchmaker to have one in the collection. To compete and keep pace with the boom, even the most buttoned-up brands, like A. Lange & Söhne, have come out with versions in the last year or two. And now, in an era when working from home is the new normal, a watch that can be worn with everything from a suit to a pair of sweatpants is more relevant than ever.
Parmigiani, known for its well-made and well-finished dress watches, is the latest to re-enter the fray (previous Parmigiani sports watches included the Pershing and Tonda Metrograph) with three sharp new bracelet Tonda GT models, which are also available on a rubber strap. “I was not looking to make a sports watch,” says David Traxler, CEO of Parmigiani. “I was looking to get together a watch for daily use—the kind of watch you can enjoy all the time.”
And he’s banking on the attractive prices to be a big selling point. The new lineup includes a 42 by 11.2 mm automatic Tonda GT with a big date, small seconds and 45 hours of power reserve in 18-karat rose gold with a blue dial ($49,500 on a bracelet, $24,900 on a rubber strap, limited to 150) and steel with a black dial ($14,500 on a bracelet, $13,500 on a rubber strap, limited to 250), both powered by the caliber PF044, and 42 by 13.7 mm rare annual calendar chronograph complication in the Tondagraph GT in steel ($19,500 on a bracelet, $18,500 on a rubber strap, limited to 200), also with 45 hours of power reserve and powered by the caliber PF043. All of the models are priced just below similar-sized models in steel and rose gold variants of recent versions of the Patek Philippe Nautilus, Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and Vacheron Constantin Overseas.
Considerable attention was also given to the design. Parmigiani tapped external designer Dino Modolo—a co-designer of Vacheron’s Overseas, alongside Vincent Kauffman—to create the look of the new collection in collaboration with the brand’s internal team. The result is a more casual interpretation of the company’s codes without foregoing its inherent attention to detail.
The case shape, lugs and dial take inspiration from Parmigiani’s Tonda Chronor, which was awarded the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève in 2017. It features high-end details such as clou triangulaire guilloché on the dial and Côtes de Genève decoration on the movement—the kind of finishing you would expect for your crocodile strap, gold-cased perpetual calendar.
Collectors who have been following Parmigiani’s over the years may also notice something distinctly different about the dial. The ellipse around the brand name has been removed and its an aesthetic change that will be seen on all of the watchmaker’s timepieces going forward. “It’s a little bit more masculine and a little bit more visible and contemporary, while maintaining the same lettering,” says Traxler.
The bracelet, however, was the ultimate aesthetic and technical test. It was redesigned multiple times from scratch before the desired weight and fit were achieved. “Here we feel the bracelet is as good as the watch,” says Traxler. “A lot of classic brands, like ourselves, tend to design the watch and then add the bracelet, but you have to design the watch and the bracelet together. I was so satisfied that the integration was seamless—it just looks right and feels right.”
He also added that should the new watches do as well as he expects that there will be room for more iterations in complications and sizes down the road, and maybe even a ladies’ version.
The only client to have seen the new Tonda GT collection on the wrist, at the time we spoke to Traxler in June, was so enamored that he ordered one for himself. “When a retailer has access to 25 brands or more and they want one for themselves, that’s a good sign,” says Traxler. “We’ve got something right here.”
The new watches are available for pre-order now with delivery in August, with the exception of the Tonda GT in rose gold on a bracelet, which will be available in September.