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Jason Pitsch

REVIEW: Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda 1950

Jason Pitsch

June 5, 2013

Looking for a thin dress watch with an in-house automatic movement, decorated to haute horology standards, without an oscillating weight obstructing the view? Then I suggest you take a look at the Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda 1950. We recently had a chance to review the white gold Tonda 1950 with a cream dial, see our impressions and pictures below.

The first thing we noticed about the Tonda 1950 is that the case, which measures 39 mm by 7.80 mm, is very thin. It is slender and wears very comfortably on the wrist. It looks good under a dress shirt, you can slide a sports coat on without it snagging and it even looks good with a short sleeve shirt. The weight of the white gold is noticeable, but it is not cumbersome like a gold sports watch, for example.

“The bridges are sand-blasted, rubbed-down or “Côte de Genève” decorated, then bevelled by hand and, finally, rhodium-plated.”

Parmigiani Fleurier’s Tonda 1950 is one of the thinnest automatic watches on the market. It utilizes an off-center platinum 950 micro-rotor that takes up very little space and allows for an impressively thin automatic movement — at just 2.6 mm. Furthermore, as opposed to being covered by a full-size oscillating weight, the use of a micro-rotor allows for the movement to be fully displayed through the sapphire crystal caseback.

“The movement and the entire exterior of the new Tonda 1950 are created entirely in-house, right up to the indexes on the dial.”

A beautiful off-white or cream colored dial which Parmigiani officially calls “white grained,” catches your eye at first glance, and upon further inspection, preferably with a loupe, you realize this is no ordinary dial. The texture is just amazing. When you can manufacture your own dials, something not many manufactures can claim, it allows you to produce dials like this.

Although there are plans to add a date function in the future, the lack of a date makes for an especially uncluttered and elegant dial, as you would expect for a dress watch. The hour indexes are diamond-polished and applied. The hour and minute hands are Delta-shaped with a luminescent coating. A sub-dial at 6 o’clock displays the continuously running second hand.


Manufacture caliber PF 701 is a work of art. Starting with the nickel silver main plate which is sand-blasted, circular-grained and then rhodium-plated. The bridges are sand-blasted, rubbed-down or “Côte de Genève” decorated, then bevelled by hand and, finally, rhodium-plated. Also note the attractive finish of each wheel, bevelled, sunk, circular-grained on both faces, then gilded before cutting. Even the micro rotor features a unique wave pattern. No detail is left untouched.

Currently, the Tonda 1950 is available in 4 variations: 18K white gold with cream or dark grey dial and 18K rose gold with cream or white dial. There is also a limited edition titanium version released last year and a new woman’s collection which was just launched. And as Michel Parmigiani mentioned when we interviewed him earlier this year at SIHH, the Tonda 1950 is going to be very important going forward at Parmigiani, so expect more variations to come.


The Tonda 1950 has a power reserve of 42-hours, a water-resistance of 30 meters and it is presented on a black or brown Hermès alligator strap (depending on the model) with a matching polished signed buckle.


While there are a plethora of dress watches to choose from on the market, not all are created equally. If you are the type consumer that wants the best quality, but at a reasonable price; with a retail of $16,900 — you cannot overlook the Tonda 1950. It is one of Parmigiani Fleurier’s best-selling collections for a reason. Few other companies can offer an in-house made timepiece with this level of detail, especially one this thin, and with the convenience of the automatic without the downside of a full-size rotor.

Parmigiani Fleurier, REVIEWS

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