The Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Chronographe Rattrapante is a gilded return to brand origins The Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Chronographe Rattrapante is a gilded return to brand origins

The Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Chronographe Rattrapante is a gilded return to brand origins

Borna Bošnjak

We haven’t really been too secretive about our feelings regarding Parmigiani Fleurier at Time+Tide, with numerous of their watches making all sorts of “best of” lists alongside the usual waxing lyrical in our coverage. And it’s for good reason. The Tonda PF collection brought a breath of fresh air to a struggling brand in a majorly successful way, with a respectful take on the brand’s recognisable features while also acknowledging a need for change. For 2024, Parmigiani Fleurier is taking the next big step in its evolution, branching out with a revived Toric collection, the first departure from the Tonda PF since Guido Terreni stepped up as CEO. The watch in question is the Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Chronographe Rattrapante, because if there was ever an excuse to release an all-gold (and I mean that), split-seconds chronograph, it would be to mark the return of the collection that started it all.

The dial

parmigiani fleurier toric chronographe rattrapante dial close up

A notable stylistic choice of Parmigiani Fleurier’s rebrand is the general minimalism that permeates their designs. That’s not to say that Michel Parmigiani’s pieces were ever gaudy or overbearing, but they certainly weren’t austere. The clearest example of this new direction is the Toric’s dial, with a uniform umber surface only interrupted by razor-thin bevelled edges separating the sub-dials and chapter ring. As this is a Parmigiani Fleurier we’re talking about, the process of achieving the finish is no simple feat. Using a mixture of potassium bitartrate, sea salt, and silver, the solid gold dial blank is grained by hand using a soft brush.

The alpha hands are a new addition to the Toric, and are here made of gold-plated steel, while the secondary chronograph hand is rhodium-plated for better legibility. As has been the direction with the Tonda, the new Toric Chronographe Rattrapante sports teeny tiny indices, bevelled to continue the flow between the main dial portion and angles chapter ring. Dial text is thankfully and expectedly non-existent, with the only indication of branding in the form of Parmigiani Fleurier’s new cartouche logo at 12 o’clock.

The case

parmigiani fleurier toric chronographe rattrapante case profile

As the Toric isn’t an all-new collection, and, more importantly, was the watch that launched Michel Parmigiani’s eponymous brand, it had to carry over some signature features from its original shape. The most obvious one is the knurled bezel and oval pushers, the latter being one of my personal favourite touches on a dressy chronograph especially since they match PF’s logo shape. And that’s exactly the positioning Terreni is intending with the new Toric, offering it only in precious metal cases and without trace of any jagged, angular surfaces of any kind.

As far as the Toric Chronographe Rattrapante goes, it’s cased in 42.5mm of 18k rose gold, with a thickness of 14.4mm. Those dimensions may sound far from elegant on paper, and you’d be right to be cautious. Experiencing the watch in person, however, and it’s clear that the Parmigiani design team paid plenty of attention to hiding that thickness away, achieving surprisingly impressive results.

The movement

parmigiani fleurier toric chronographe rattrapante movement caseback

Many of Parmigiani Fleurier’s new models seem to have adopted the “business in the front, party in the back” adage, and the Toric Rattrapante is no different. The sapphire caseback reveals the in-house, manually wound calibre PF361, released in 2016 to celebrate the brand’s 20th anniversary. The stand-out feature here (apart from the tech which I’ll get into shortly) is the symmetrical, lattice-like array of bridges covering most of the movement. Remember how I said it’s an all-gold watch? That’s because the movement is also crafted in 18k rose gold, with the skeletonised bridges leaving ample room for hand-bevelling and polishing, with some decadent internal angling on display. Contrasting the polished chamfers is a richly brushed surface to the bridges, executed at 45 degrees to the PF cartouche logo. At first glance, however, the movement doesn’t seem to have as much depth thanks to the bridges as say, a Lange chronograph, but that left Parmigiani Fleurier with many more surfaces which to bevel and decorate. Works for me.

As far as the specs go, they’re just as impressive. The rattrapante operation is taken care of by dual column wheels and a vertical clutch meaning it’ll engage smoothly, while the split hand is stopped by a flexible monolithic clamp. The balance wheel is secured by a bridge, rather than a cock, meaning shock resistance is improved, beating at a high 5 Hertz while still delivering 65 hours of power reserve. For its innovation, the PF361 was awarded the top prize in the chronograph category at the GPHG awards in 2017.

The strap

parmigiani fleurier toric chronographe rattrapante strap

To go with the brown tonal look, Parmigiani outfits the Toric Rattrapante with a taupe alligator leather strap finished in an 18k pink gold pin buckle. Rather than go for the standard shiny finish, the strap gets a nubuck finish, with pick stitching running the length of it. The standout here is the oversized PF logo serving as decoration to the buckle, though I do wonder whether a more subtle approach was in order.

The verdict

parmigiani fleurier toric chronographe rattrapante dial side

While the new Chronographe Rattrapante serves as a herald to the reinvigorated Toric collection, it certainly won’t be a volume seller, if for naught but its 30-piece limited run. At the same time, had Parmigiani just presented the time-only Toric, as beautiful as it is, I don’t think it would’ve had as much impact as this minimalist wonder. The small-wristed vintage lover in me wishes the case was a tad smaller and thinner, but I can’t deny that this was the Parmigiani I spent most of my time with at Watches and Wonders, looking at all the intricate details of the movement through a loupe. The PF361 is without doubt impressive, both from a visual and technological standpoint. But it is getting on a little. I’d love to think of the Toric Chronographe Rattrapante as a swan song of the PF361, ushering in a new era for the Parmigiani Fleurier Toric, and paying tribute to the decorated calibre.

Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Chronographe Rattrapante pricing and availability

The Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Chronographe Rattrapante will be available in September 2024 as a limited edition of 30 watches. Price: CHF 135,000

Brand Parmigiani Fleurier
Model Toric Chronographe Rattrapante
Reference PFH951-2010001-300181-EN
Case Dimensions 42.5mm (D) x 14.4mm (T)
Case Material 18k rose gold
Water Resistance 30 metres
Crystal(s) Sapphire front and back
Dial Umber, hand-grained
Bracelet Alligator leather strap, 18k rose gold pin buckle
Movement PF361, in-house, manual winding, 5Hz
Power Reserve 65 hours
Functions Hours, minutes, small seconds, rattrapante chronograph
Availability September 2024, limited to 30 pieces
Price CHF 135,000