Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda GTIt would be all too easy to look no further than the GT suffix that Parmigiani Fleurier has attached to its latest derivation of the dressy Tonda design and assume that the brand has thrown its hat in the ring as a steel sports watch contender, ready to suck up sales from customers no longer prepared to sit in an endless queue with Rolex, Patek or AP.

But that would be missing the point a little. Why shouldn’t every watch brand seeking a well-rounded collection be in position to offer its customers a steel sports watch? Besides, this isn’t some Genta-lite; it has a very distinct visual identity and it is this partly new look that should warrant your attention.

Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda GT

It’s probably fair to say that, since being established by Michel Parmigiani in 1996 with the financial backing of the Sandoz Family Foundation, Parmigiani Fleurier has yet to develop the kind of wider brand recognition that its watchmaking perhaps deserves.

Parmigiani’s horological credentials are beyond reproach (take a look at the spectacular solid gold movement of the brand’s Tonda Chronor Anniversaire split second chronograph if you don’t believe us) but its design work has always looked a little out of step with modern tastes, like one of those styles that’s biding its time to come into fashion again.

Parmigiani Fleurier Tondagraph GT

So, these two new GT badged Tonda’s and their undeniably sleeker, more contemporary aesthetic should justifiably raise an eyebrow or two. Both watches (a time and date model and a chronograph annual calendar) bear all the hallmarks of the brand but the fact they look just a touch more composed, more fluid betrays the involvement of an outsider approaching the drawing board with a fresh pair of eyes.

Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda GT

The man responsible is watch designer Dino Modolo, who previously designed the original incarnation of the Overseas for Vacheron Constantin. Here he started with the aforementioned Tonda Chronor as a template, sharpening the lugs and introducing a bracelet that integrates without feeling forced. He has even imported the coin edge bezel from Parmigiani’s Toric model, a ballsy move that injects some much-needed personality. Attention has also been lavished on the multi-level dial with matt and guilloche finishes as well as applique hour markers set into circular steps.

The Tonda has always felt like a watch with all the necessary elements present and correct but, until now, something has always seemed to go missing when bringing them together to form a whole. Modolo’s work has changed that. There is now a logical flow to the design that is bound to catch the eye of a wider audience.

Parmigiani Fleurier Tondagraph GT

The pricing too will attract a wider audience. We’ve yet to get the prices in GBP but there is just $5,000 US between the time and date Tonda GT ($14,500) and the 200-piece limited edition Tondagraph GT ($19,500) which boasts chronograph and annual calendar complications when both are priced with steel bracelets. At this level of watchmaking, that’s something of a bargain.

Parmigiani Fleurier Tondagraph GT

These new GT watches might not be perfect; the Tondagraph dial in particular is awash with unnecessary text, the kind of dull, functional statements a watch of this calibre should have the confidence to leave unsaid, but they do represent a huge leap forward for Parmigiani as a brand.

Price & Specs:

Model Name: Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda GT
Ref: PFC910-0000210-X01482 (steel and rubber)
PFC910-0000210-B00182 (steel and bracelet)
PFC910-1500340-X03182 (gold and rubber)
PFC910-1500340-B00782 (gold and bracelet)
Case/Dial: 42mm diameter x 11.2mm thickness, stainless steel, black or blue guilloché dial
Water Resistance: 100m
Movement: Calibre PF044, in-house, automatic, 33 jewels
Power Reserve: 45h
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, big date
Strap: Black rubber or steel bracelet
Price: €13,500 (steel and black rubber), €14,500 (steel and steel bracelet), €24,900 (rose gold and rubber strap), TBC (rose gold and gold bracelet), limited to 250 pieces (steel models) and 150 pieces (gold models)

Model Name: Parmigiani Fleurier Tondagraph GT
Ref: PFC906-0000210-B00182 (steel bracelet)
PFC906-0000210-X01482 (black rubber)
Case/Dial: 42mm diameter x 13.7mm thickness, stainless steel, black guilloché dial
Water Resistance: 100m
Movement: Calibre PF043, in-house, automatic, 56 jewels
Power Reserve: 48h
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, annual calendar, chronograph
Strap: Black rubber or steel bracelet
Price: €18,500 EUR (black rubber) or €19,500 (steel bracelet), limited edition of 200 pieces

More details at Parmigiani.