Parmigiani Introduces the Tondagraph GT “Panda”

In two flavours – and two movements.

Parmigiani got on integrated-bracelet sports watch bandwagon last year with the launch of the Tonda GT, in both chronograph and three-hand formats. Like many of its luxury-sports watch peers, the Tonda GT was penned with the help of a (somewhat) famous designer, Dino Modolo, an industry veteran whose best known work comes from his time at Vacheron Constantin, where he designed the original Overseas.

While the Tonda GT is arguably Parmigiani’s first bona fide sports watch, it is surprisingly good – stay tuned for a review soon – and now Parmigiani has unveiled a pair of Tondagraph GT chronographs with “panda” dials. Decorated with clou triangulaire guilloche, the silvered dials are matched with glossy black ceramic registers, elevating the retro “panda” to a new level.

Somewhat confusingly, the Tondagraph GT will be available in steel with a modular movement featuring an annual calendar, or in 18k gold equipped with a pure-play, integrated chronograph movement that’s both high-frequency and finely constructed.

Initial thoughts

The Tonda GT has an appealing, original look that most crucially avoids looking derivative, an easy pitfall in the integrated-bracelet sports watch segment. And despite being one of the many such sports watches, the Tonda GT stands out with its own style that is inspired by Parmigiani’s dress watches, resulting in a look that’s best described as curious but attractive.

The Tondagraph’s case and bracelet are neither angular nor complicated as some of its rivals are, but are still executed with flair, exemplified by the tear-drop style lugs and fluted bezel. Notably, the end links of the bracelet echo the shape of the lugs, giving the watch a distinctive look, but admittedly leave the bracelet looking less integrated.

And the detailed dial finish also helps set it apart from competitors. All in all, the case and dial are high quality, as is typical of Parmigiani, which has sister companies that specialise in those components.

At 42 mm wide, the Tondagraph is well sized for a modern sports chronograph, but also fairly thin. Though it’s around 14 mm high, depending on the version, the case diameter and design gives it a sleek profile on the wrist such that it sits well.

The size also means the sub-dials are properly spaced out and legible. And telling the date has been made even easier with a double-digit display at 12.

Among high-end sports watches, the Tondagraph GT is modestly priced, especially the steel variant with an annual calendar. In fact, it’s arguably a value proposition considering Parmigani well-deserved reputation for quality. While the Tonda GT does not have a strong historical lineage like it rivals, the refined execution makes it a compelling offering.

Steel “Panda”

The Tondagraph GT with an annual calendar was originally launched as a 200-piece limited edition last year. It had a black dial with orange accents, giving it a fairly subtle look.

The new version, however, dials up the contrast with a “panda” dial – black registers against white – an instantly attractive formula for a sports chronograph that brightens up the watch.

Despite having an annual calendar, the dial is relatively clean. The big date sits under 12 o’clock, while the month indicator is smartly tucked in the the sub-dial at three o’clock.

Last year’s Tondagraph GT

Inside is the cal. PF043, an extremely complicated movement with over 400 parts – it is, after all, an annual calendar chronograph with big date – but not integrated. Instead, the movement is modular, with the base calibre having the chronograph mechanism and calendar plate on top, sitting just behind the dial.

While functionally identical to an integrated movement, the modular construction is more cost effective, partly explaining the steel Tondagraph’s affordable pricing.

The PF043

Gold “Panda”

At first glance, the gold version looks identical to the steel model, but it is intrinsically different. Beyond the material, the gold “Panda” is powered by the cal. PF071, a sophisticated calibre that lacks the annual calendar but is an integrated construction with high-end features like a free-sprung balance secured by a full bridge.

Derived from brand’s in-house split-seconds chronograph movement, the cal. PF361, the cal. PF071 is simpler but no less fine. It beats at 36,000 vibrations per hour, or 5 Hz, making it a high-frequency movement.

Despite consuming more energy due to the more rapid oscillation of the balance wheel, the cal. PF071 still has a generous running time of 65 hours.

And the cal. PF071 is better finished than the cal. PF043 found in the steel version, featuring more pronounced bevelling on the bridges, as well as Cotes de Geneva on the base plate under the dial. And the rotor is solid 22k gold.

The PF071

Key facts and price

Parmigiani Fleurier Tondagraph GT Steel (Annual Calendar)
Ref: PFC906-0000140-B00182 (bracelet)
Ref. PFC906-0000140-X01482 (strap)

Case diameter: 42 mm
Height: 13.7 mm
Material: Steel
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 100 m

Movement: PF043
Features: Hours, minutes, seconds, chronograph, and annual calendar
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Winding: Automatic
Power reserve: 45 hours

Strap: Steel bracelet or rubber strap

Limited edition: No
Availability: Now at Parmigiani boutiques and authorised retailers
US$20,400 – rubber strap
US$21,500 – steel bracelet

Parmigiani Fleurier Tondagraph GT Rose Gold
Ref. PFC903-1500140-X01482 (rubber strap)
Ref. PFC903-1500140-B10082 (gold bracelet)

Case diameter: 42 mm
Height: 14.3 mm
Material: 18k pink gold
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 100 m

Movement: PF071
Features: Hours, minutes, seconds, chronograph, and big date
Frequency: 36,000 vph (5 Hz)
Winding: Automatic
Power reserve: 65 hours

Strap: 18k rose gold bracelet or rubber strap

Limited edition: No
Availability: Now at Parmigiani boutiques and authorised retailers
US$45,300 – rubber strap
US$72,500 – 18k rose gold bracelet

For more, visit


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Girard-Perregaux Inaugurates Aston Martin Partnership with Skeleton Tourbillon

A new take on the iconic.

Earlier this year, Girard-Perregaux announced a new partnership with Aston Martin, most famous for being the carmaker of choice for James Bond. The watchmaker also signed on as a sponsor of the Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One racing team, but a collaborative watch was absent, until now.

Girard-Perregaux has just taken the covers off the inaugural watch of the partnership, the Tourbillon with Three Flying Bridges – Aston Martin Edition, a sleek, modern interpretation of the watchmaker’s signature complication.

Initial thoughts

When the partnership was first revealed, the first watch that came to mind was an auto-racing chronograph on an integrated bracelet, making the all-black tourbillon a bit of a surprise. But the integrated-bracelet sports watch is now commonplace, so I am glad Girard-Perregaux went with the Flying Bridges tourbillon, a complication unique to the brand.

The tourbillon movement is, of course, an evolution of the brand’s iconic Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges that was invented in the mid-19th century and found in Girard-Perregaux’s finest pocket watches, including one that was sold to the then President of Mexico, the famous “La Esmeralda”.

A decidedly more classical version of Girard-Perregaux’s tourbillon

That said, the Aston Martin edition isn’t entirely new – the watch is actually based on the Neo Tourbillon with Three Bridges launched in 2018, but the new movement has been skeletonised even further, hence the “Floating” bridges. The movement retains the trademark symmetrical layout of the traditional Three Gold Bridges, but has now been reimagined to be aerodynamic and modern in more ways than one.

First, the case as well as the movement bridges are titanium coated with diamond-like carbon (DLC). And the style of the movement has been revamped, with streamlined, flowing bridges and maximum skeletonisation to create floating, organic forms.

While the watch and movement are impressively executed, something a bit more novel would have made a bigger impact as the partnership’s first model. Perhaps it’s just because the British carmaker has other issues to deal with as its tie up with Girard Perregaux comes as it embarks on a fresh start, having been rescued by fashion tycoon Lawrence Stroll last year. Partnerships between automakers and high horology watchmakers do typically result in all-new models and movements, so the two brands likely have something else in the pipeline.

Classic with a twist

A large but lightweight watch, the Tourbillon with Three Flying Bridges is 44 mm wide and 15.52 mm high. But its effective height is significantly less, because much of its thickness is due to the highly domed sapphire crystals on the front and back.

A crucial part of the movement’s visual presentation, the “box type” sapphire crystal rises upwards from the case, allowing for a panoramic view of the calibre, even from the side.

At the same time, the height of the crystal allows for vertical hour markers that stand parallel to the plane of the dial. Each hour marker contains a block of Super-Luminova resin for excellent nighttime legibility, but because the markers are vertical, they do not obscure any part of the movement.

While seemingly simple in form – being maximally skeletonised – the Flying Bridges tourbillon is actually automatic. The uppermost bridge holds the barrel, which smartly hides a compact micro-rotor of 18k white gold.

Though camouflaged by the barrel, the micro-rotor is clearly visible at an angle – and in the dark. Its outer edge is engraved “Aston Martin”, which is then filled with luminescent material that’ll glow in the dark.

The second bridge in the middle supports the hands as well as the gear train, while the third bridge at six o’clock carries the tourbillon. Notably, the base plate that supports the bridges in the Neo Tourbillon has been removed, enhancing the levitating effect and leaving the bridges only anchored on each end.

Last but not least, the watch is delivered with an extra strap of calfskin strap with a silver stripe down its centre. Named Rubber Alloy, the stripe is an insert of “injected white gold on rubber”, essentially rubber coated in white gold, an industry first that injects a bit of flair into the monochromatic look.

Key facts and price

Girard-Perregaux Tourbillon with Three Flying Bridges – Aston Martin Edition
Ref. 99296-21-001-BA6A

Diameter: 44 mm
Height: 15.52 mm
Material: Titanium
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: GP09400-1683
Features: Hours, minutes, and tourbillon regulator
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3.5 Hz)
Power reserve: 60 hours

Strap: Alligator strap with folding clasp, and additional black calf leather strap with rubberised white gold insert

Limited edition: 18 pieces
 Now at Girard-Perregaux authorised retailers
Price: US$146,000; or CHF129,100

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Mario Scarpatetti Wins the F.P. Journe Young Talent Competition 2021

With an inventive secular-perpetual calendar clock.

Held annually since 2015, the Young Talent Competition (YTC) was established by F.P. Journe to identify and reward promising young watch- and clockmakers. Open to candidates between 18 and 30 years old from anywhere in the world, the competition is overseen by a jury made up of industry figures – including Philippe Dufour, Giulio Papi, and Francois-Paul Journe himself – with the winner receiving a certificate as well as a CHF20,000 grant to buy watchmaking tools.

This year’s winner was Mario Scarpatetti, a 29-year old clockmaker from the town of Parsonz in the east of Switzerland. Mr Scarpatetti’s winning submission was the Kalendar Perpeten, a long-case pendulum clock wound by a block of marble from Mr Scarpatetti’s region. It’s equipped with a moon phase, running equation of time, and most importantly – a patented, secular perpetual calendar.

Francois-Paul Journe (left) with Mario Scarpatetti

The Kalendar Perpeten

Mario envisioned a new type of perpetual calendar clock in 2016, as an extension of a concept he had realised in 2013 as a conventional perpetual calendar clock.

A conventional perpetual calendar keeps track of the date, accounting 30- and 31-day months as well as leap years. However, such calendars still require adjustment every 100 years, as years that are divisible by 100 but not by 400 are not leap years, one of the quirks of the Gregorian calendar that is the norm today. As such, a conventional perpetual calendar will interpret the years 2100, 2200, and 2300 as leap years when in fact they are not.

Standing a bit over 2 m tall, the clock is wound by a 21 kg piece of Sassalbo marbled mined at Poschiavo, not far from Mr Scarpatetti’s hometown

Consequently, a special breed of perpetual calendar arose to address this problem – the secular perpetual calendar. Also known as a third-order perpetual calendar, this mechanism can accurately account for the non-leap years that occur every century.

Mr Scarpatetti’s secular perpetual calendar builds upon the mechanism of a conventional perpetual calendar. A conventional perpetual calendar mechanism incorporates a wheel with 48 steps of varying depth, a mechanical representation of the length of each month in a four-year cycle.

A mechanical finger known as the “grand lever” samples the depth of the 48-step wheel every 24 hours, automatically skipping the appropriate number of days at the end of the month if it has less than 31 days. Typically, the four deepest slots on the wheel represent February – the month with the least number of days – but with one of the four slightly more shallow than its three counterparts, in order for it to indicate 29 days, while the three deeper slots are for 28 days.

Mr Scarpatetti solution is to superimpose a massive wheel with 100 tiny steps on the 48-step calendar wheel. This massive wheel, aptly named the 400-year wheel, accounts for the leap year that occurs every four years, rotating to the next step at the end of a four-year cycle.

The perpetual calendar mechanism, with the 48-step wheel visible at centre-left

Ninety-seven of the steps have raised teeth to represent the 29-day month of February that occurs four years. However, three raised teeth are missing – these represent the non-leap years with 28 days in February that occur every one-hundred years – resulting in a comprehensive third-order perpetual calendar.

The 400-year wheel disassembled

The 400-year wheel visible on the back of the clock, with the 48-step wheel to its lower right

Justifiably proud of his take on the secular perpetual calendar, Mr Scarpatetti applied to patent the idea in March 2018 – and was granted Swiss patent CH 00400/18 shortly after – premised on the ease and efficiency of driving the 400-year wheel, as well as the elegant simplicity of the mechanism.

The entirety of the Kalendar Perpeten movement, save for four ball bearings, were hand made by Mr Scarpatetti the traditional way – without the aid of automated machines. Besides the secular perpetual calendar, the Kalendar Perpeten clock is also equipped with a large spherical moon phase that is coincidentally reminiscent of the same complication found in the pocket watch made by last year’s YTC winner. And last but not least, the clock has a running equation of time in the form of a secondary minute hand that shows true solar time.


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KEF Elements Debuts with an Affordable Aventurine-Glass Dial

With constellations in Super-Luminova.

A Singaporean retailer that specialises in affordable, unconventional watches such as SevenFriday and Gorilla, Red Army Watches (RAW) now debuts its own label, KEF Elements. The brand’s maiden model is the Time & Space, a time-only wristwatch with an aventurine-glass dial bearing a glow-in-the-dark zodiac constellation.

Initial thoughts

Having known RAW founder Sugi Kusumadi for several years, I’ve come to admire Sugi’s passion for unusual timepieces. That’s been evident in past collaborations RAW has embarked on with a number of brands, most notably with Gorilla and Stowa.

Its own brand feels like a natural next step for RAW. While the brand is brand new, KEF Elements is very much like many of the brands RAW carries, offering an intriguing aesthetic for relatively little money.

Inspired by “the mystique and vastness of space”, the aventurine-glass dial lives up to the Time & Space moniker. Its sparkling surface and luminous constellation successfully evoke the cosmos.

Aside from the aventurine dial, another striking aspect of the watch are the dozen dials on offer, each bearing one of the 12 zodiac constellations. An individual zodiac constellation at this price is an unusual proposition, so kudos to RAW.

Celestial themes on aventurine glass have been done before, but they are usually accompanied by a hefty price tag, thus making the price of KEF Elements watch notable. With a current pre-order price of S$789, or a little bit under US$600, KEF Elements’ debut model represents good value.

While the affordability is made possible by the usage of the prosaic Miyota 9039 movement, the star (pun intended) of the show is the shimmering aventurine dial that truly shines. I’ll definitely be looking to own one.

Cosmos on the wrist

The dial features applied indices that are reminiscent of celestial bodies. They are filled with Super-Luminova that glows green in the dark, while the constellation glows in a blue hue. And it has a “railway” minute track and a set of faceted dauphine hands, which gives it a retro-dress watch feel.

The case has slightly rounded edges that are characteristic of stamping, which is par for the course at this price point. While not as sophisticated as the milled cases found on higher-priced watches, the case is still finished in an attractive manner, featuring alternating polished and brushed finishing.

Visible through the exhibition case back is the Miyota 9039 produced by the subsidiary of Citizen. Though a low-cost calibre, it is Miyota’s top-of-the-line offering, with a balance that runs at 4 Hz, a 42-hour power reserve, and hacking seconds. However, the movement is almost undecorated, save for the brand name on the rotor.

Key facts and price

KEF Elements “Time & Space”

Diameter: 42 mm
Material: Stainless steel
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 50 m

Movement: Miyota 9039
Functions: Hours, minutes and seconds
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Winding: Automatic
Power reserve: 42 hours

Strap: Grey Epsom or brown calf leather

Availability: Now via pre-order, either in-store or online, with delivery in July 2021
Price: 789 Singapore dollars during pre-order; with retail price of 987 Singapore dollars

For more, visit


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