Style / World of Watches (WOW)

Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF Micro-Rotor: Powerful Presence

The Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF Micro-Rotor has a powerful presence, and might just be a historic moment in time for the manufacture.

Feb 07, 2022 | By Ashok Soman
Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF Micro Rotor
Image: Parmigiani Fleurier

For a time-and-date watch, the Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF Micro-Rotor inspires a disproportionate amount of discussion. We ourselves have devoted space to it online and we are far from the only ones paying attention. This is precisely why we wanted this watch on the cover of WOW Singapore’s Festive issue, even though we had the option of featuring the Split Seconds Chronograph instead. In our view, if the Tonda PF collection is successful, it is because the base watch, this Micro-Rotor, has all the right ingredients. Parmigiani Fleurier CEO Guido Terreni wanted this collection to speak to his vision of minimalistic luxury, or maybe that should be luxurious subtlety, and the Micro-Rotor delivers.

Consider the fact that this model dispenses with tracking the seconds and, of course, plays it coy with the branding. These are big risks, and quite contrary to the average collector’s expectations. We are quite certain that these moves are even more surprising to established collectors of Parmigiani Fleurier. The logo is the biggest deal, and we spend many paragraphs ruminating on this in the cover story. In the more complicated models, you just about do not notice it, but in the 40mm Micro-Rotor there is no escaping it. Like all Tonda models, the watch sports applied hour markers, scaled down even further in the Tonda PF collection, so everything on the dial in the time-and-date model takes on exaggerated significance.

The classically styled watch even has gold open-worked geometric Delta hands, simply inviting even further scrutiny. And the bezel, well, we will get to that soon enough. For now, this information would have been enough to say the Micro-Rotor should not work as a fine timepiece at this level — and yet it does. In fact, it does such a magnificent job that we now dare to ask if Parmigiani Fleurier should just badge all its watches like the Tonda PF. Parmigiani Fleurier has been around for 25 years now, but one could argue that it remains an insider’s watch. Terreni and his team just doubled down on this subtle presence, creating a resounding whisper of a watch. Just how does a whisper resound? The answer is the Tonda PF Micro-Rotor.

About that knurled bezel with its raised polished lip, in the steel version of the Micro-Rotor, it is in platinum. It plays as a wonderful visual counterpoint to the oval ring of the gold logo. Similarly, the fact that the bezel is hand-worked matches the engine-turned Grain d’Orge of the dial. As for the date at 6 o’clock, it is a tone-on-tone triumph that even makes do without a frame, remaining perfectly legible all the same. Parmigiani Fleurier has long talked up the design chops of Michel Parmigiani’s fascination with the Golden Ratio. The Tonda PF Micro-Rotor offers a lesson to watchmakers at this level on how superlative wristwatch design ought to be.

Now, we have come all this way without talking about the movements or the finishing, which we will leave to our cover story, and which we have already covered for the Micro-Rotor. Instead of retreading, we will instead note that you are looking at the dawn of a new reality at Parmigiani Fleurier. Years from now, enthusiasts will say that this is the watch that changed things for the brand, while also arguing about whether the Tonda GT should receive the credit instead. We look forward to that debate.

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