Creating a contemporary classic is by no means an easy task, as these words combined are, to begin with, a contradiction. That doesn’t mean that it cannot be done, as proven by Parmigiani when they launched the Tonda Chronor Anniversaire. This watch was a landmark creation for the brand, with which it also marked its 20th anniversary. It features an integrated split-seconds chronograph movement with a large date complication added as well. Two column wheels control the chronograph’s actions, and because the movement runs at 36,000 vph, it makes it possible to measure the passing of time with an accuracy of 1/10th of a second.
It can hardly come as a surprise that in 2017, the Tonda Chronor Anniversaire won the “Chronograph” category of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, the Oscars of the watch world. In a record-breaking time has this Parmigiani indeed grown into a desirable contemporary classic, which became once more evident with the latest addition to the collection; the Tonda Chronor Slate.
The changes in relation to the prior editions might be subtle, with a slate-colored dial and knurled bezel, but they do have an impact. Parmigiani was wise to keep the design of the dial the same, which is actually quite understated for such an exquisite watch. The added benefit from this is that Parmigiani can integrate both a tachymeter as well as a pulsometer scale on the dial without making it look overly crowded. That grey goes very well with rose gold is no secret anymore, especially not to Parmigiani, which has several different models in this configuration in its collection. The new bezel design gives the watch slightly more of a classic edge over the other Tonda Chronor models that have to go without it. Yet Parmigiani applied this decoration with retrained, leaving the upper part of the bezel without it. It makes the style of this watch hard to capture in words. It’s sleek design and 42.1 mm diameter make it modern in appearance, yet the shape and way that the chronograph pushers are integrated into the case are reminiscent of that from vintage chronographs. The dial design also combines elements from the past and the present, yet in such a way that you hardly notice that they do so. Integrating two scales in a single watch is mostly done in vintage chronographs, yet the further, almost minimalistic design, makes it at the same time very current.
When you look at the back of the Tonda Chronor Slate, you notice another aspect that makes this watch such a rare creation. The mainplate and the bridges of the movement are crafted from 18 karat gold. This material is far more difficult to craft these parts out of, especially in the contemporary skeleton design of this Parmigiani, because the gold is far more malleable than the materials traditionally used to craft the mainplate and bridges from. While the layout looks modern and highlights both column wheels in a subtle way, is the finishing very traditional with its hand chamfered bridges. It gives that same sense of dynamic, which we also find in the case and dial of this watch. This makes the watch far more than a unique creation, launched to mark an anniversary. The Parmigiani Tonda Chronor Slate is, in fact, a rare treat aimed to please even the most discerning watch connoisseurs, and does so in a timeless fashion.
The Parmigiani Tonda Chronor Slate is next to the rose gold version in this article, also available with an 18-carat white gold case. Both editions are limited to 25-pieces and $135,000-.