Parmigiani Tonda 1950 Lune Watch Hands-On

Parmigiani Tonda 1950 Lune Watch Hands-On

Parmigiani Tonda 1950 Lune Watch Hands-On Hands-On

At SIHH 2017, Swiss Parmigiani debuted a new version of their best-selling Tonda 1950 collection with a moonphase-equipped variant known as the Parmigiani Tonda 1950 Lune. Offered in a a steel case, the watch seeks to blend value and complexity, for an attractive dress watch with some horological nerd appeal.

The watch industry today is facing a series of value crises. One of them is finding the right type of watch for the right type of price that today's consumers are keen to purchase. Ending are the days of exotic high-complication mechanical watches that don't seem to solve a need or fit any particular audience. Parmigiani and other brands have had to re-think their approach to blending simplicity with the mechanically fascinating, in luxury items best-suited for today's buying environment when it is very much a buyer's market.

Parmigiani Tonda 1950 Lune Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Parmigiani Tonda 1950 Lune Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The Tonda 1950 Lune is a safe bet playing on the cyclically popular theme of producing elegant time + moonphase watches. Of course here, the Tonda 1950 also has the date. Such watches are appealing because they are practical with just enough emotional appeal (the moonphase complication) to satisfy those who want to wear something that reminds them of why they love high-end watches, but isn't overly decadent or excessive.

For whatever reason, I neglected to take pictures of the rear of the watch while meeting with Parmigiani back at SIHH 2017. This tends to happen in the overly-rushed atmosphere of trade show meetings. The movement inside of the Tonda 1950 Lune is the in-house made Parmigiani caliber PF708 automatic, which is of course lovely and visible through the sapphire crystal window on the back of the watch. The PF708 is a variant of the PF702 automatic which sits in the more simple time-only versions of the Tonda 1950 - though it adds a few complications and some thickness to the case.

Parmigiani Tonda 1950 Lune Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Parmigiani Tonda 1950 Lune Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The PF708 automatic movement is finely decorated and operates at 3Hz (21,600 bph) with 48 hours of power reserve. I'm not entirely sure why it isn't a 4Hz movement, but these days that doesn't seem to matter too much. The movement builds upon the time with subsidiary seconds layout of the PF702 by adding a date complication, along with a prominent moonphase indicator window under 12 o'clock. Parmigiani once again offers an "open" date window with a few visible numerals that looks like a small grin at the bottom of the dial. Detailing is excellent, but one must ask themselves whether the date window needed to be so large, as well as if it would not have looked more attractive with the date disc being darker in color to match the opaline black dial.

Parmigiani Tonda 1950 Lune Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The moonphase indicator has a "double window" which means both halves of the moonphase indicator disk are visible. This looks cool but offers limited utility. The idea is that you can see the phase of the moon as it looks in both the northern and southern hemisphere of Earth. This is neat, but of course they are simple mirror images of one another. Thus, this is mostly an aesthetic choice as opposed to something which is really practical. With that said, few people argue that a moonphase indicator window is practical - as this complication is mostly emotional (and pretty).

One design wrinkle that I actually like is the added text around the moonphase indicator window (the moon representations are in rose gold) which allows you to better read the information. You not only get a lower scale of the number of days left for that moon cycle, but also "New, First Quarter, Full, and Last Quarter" markers for the phase of the moon. Assuming the watch keeps running, the moonphase indicator only needs to be adjusted once every three years. Not the most accurate on the market, but it isn't as though collectors are clamoring for ultra-precise moonphase indicators - for them it is all about the sex appeal of the look. Some people will surely complain that this is simply unnecessary text on the dial - they have a point. With that said, there are so many moonphase complication watches on the market that offering something just a bit different and interesting to the eye is a virtue for Parmigiani.

Parmigiani Tonda 1950 Lune Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Parmigiani Tonda 1950 Lune Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Like the standard three hand Tonda 1950, the Tonda 1950 Lune has a 39.1mm wide round case - which looks great, isn't too small, and has lots of distinctive Parmigiani brand DNA in the design. Given the added module for the complications, the case is about 2mm thicker at 9.6mm in total thickness with 30 meters of water resistance. This actually helps the watch feel a bit more substantial for those who feel that 39mm wide is on the smaller side of what they typically prefer. Like I said, as a dress watch with some masculine appeal, the Tonda 1950 Lune is a logical choice.

Another design difference to help compensate for the thicker case is a larger crown, which assists with the feeling of harmonious proportions overall. Over the dial is a domed sapphire crystal - which like many domed sapphire crystals does suffer from some glare due to a lack of top-applied AR-coating. Parmigiani is by no means alone in not putting AR-coating on the top side of a crystal (even though the bottom side has it). They fear that the coating will scratch off and that the watch will then look bad. This is actually less of a problem these days, and I'm increasingly putting pressure on brands to address the issue of glare by getting vigilant with their suppliers. This needs to end in the area of high-end timepieces. An end to glare (for all who care)!

Parmigiani Tonda 1950 Lune Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Parmigiani Tonda 1950 Lune Watch Hands-On Hands-On

On the wrist, the Tonda 1950 Lune is comfortable and attractive with its black alligator Hermès strap. As a dress watch, it is soothing on the eyes but also a bit different, which is good. It also has some masculinity to it which I feel is important to note since the Tonda 1950 is both a men's and women's model - and the Lune is more for men only in my opinion.

The debut model of the Tonda 1950 Lune is the reference PFC284-0001400-XA1442. In steel, this is the only model available now, and you can tell that Parmigiani is curious and unsure of how it will do in the market (which is totally understandable in this market environment). Assuming it does well, I expect to see more dial color versions - but I think the decision to keep it in steel is a good one. However, I think a polished titanium dress watch would be even more interesting. Price for the Parmigiani Tonda 1950 Lune is $12,900. parmigiani.com

What do you think?
  • I want it! (19)
  • Interesting (10)
  • Thumbs up (6)
  • Classy (6)
  • I love it! (6)
  • ProJ

    Neither a fan of the double moon nor the triple date, nonetheless, for some reason, the watch overall still looks really nice. Also, appreciate the lume on the hands of a supposedly dress watch.

  • MEddie90

    Parmagani are growing on me a fair bit. I’m loving the smooth and distinctive tonda case shape and the hands and hour markers are simple, minimal and attractive. Still a little torn on the triple date window, it differentiates that watch but when combined with a sub seconds it looks clumsy. Considering it’s an emotional complication the moon-phase would have benefited more from a simple execution that matched the rest of the watch, I think the double moon-phase looks a little too cluttered and the use of text and thick markings clashes with the minimalist, elegant approach taken by the rest of the watch.

    Overall I think the price is more reasonable than the Toric featured previously. Sure it’s not in a precious metal but the micro rotor movement is a great, high end choice and it’s a more complicated piece overall. Plus it comes in at half the price of the Rolex Cellini moonphase, not bad work at all.

  • As usual for me, I love their movements (even though the power reserve is short given the 3Hz balance). But the aesthetics always are close to being good but end up messed up. I’m OK with the markings for the moon phase but the 2nd visible moon is worthless as virtually all moon phase displays are not realistic anyway (De Bethune and Greubel Forsay and a few others excepted). I hate the triple date display and even if I didn’t, the radius of it clashes with the radius of the sub-seconds. Never been a fan of the lugs that are so wide where they meet the case but I know that’s part of the PF “design language” along with the shape of their hands (which are nice – they have grown on me over the years). And lastly, the date display’s white background sticks out like a sore thumb on the otherwise black dial.

    I’d rather see something more like this: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/323d221f240a236bdfc5be9832d829d63e9c19e9168c41cc8a15b37b1644f0ab.jpg

    • ??????

      You deserve a position in Parmigiani 🙂

      • I’d take it so long as it was summers in Switzerland and winters back home in Hawaii. I don’t ski, even with these new knees and I fled Iowa winters long, long ago.

        • ??????

          Don’t forget about Swiss cheese!

          • I love cheese – gruyere, yummmmm. And Biver cheese is very good too. Is it really Parmigiano Fleuier rather than Parmigiani Fleurier?

          • ??????

            I prefer to spell it as Parmesani 🙂

    • Yan Fin

      I think you should correct the date. Today is 19 th. ? Your rendition is much better then original.

      • But if I change it, it will just be wrong tomorrow.

        • Gokart Mozart

          Edit it everyday 😉

          • If that would get me a free watch, I’d do it for another 30 days.

        • Yan Fin

          Just keep doing this. ” You become responsible for what you tamed.” A.de Saint-Exupery. BTW, also a great watch

      • Raymond Wilkie

        Try using a little imagination : )

    • The Deplorable Boogur T. Wang

      How did I know that the ‘extended’ date window would get 86’d?

      • Raymond Wilkie

        86’d ?

        • 86 = canned, trashed, sent to the bottom of the deep, etc.

          • Raymond Wilkie

            You learn something new every day.

          • The Deplorable Boogur T. Wang

            It is an old American expression usually used in context with “being banned” from a bar (pub, for those not American). Actually I used the word out of context, but Mr. Carson understood it well.
            Beg pardon for the confusion.

      • IanE

        Your exquisite good taste?

    • Word Merchant

      Your version is so much better and nails all the things I found disquieting about the actual watch. If I worked for Parmigiani, I’d be on he phone right about now.

    • Berndt Norten

      what a little moonlight will do !

    • Saul Sloota

      Hey, I like the double hemisphere moonphase! Just get rid of all that text around it. But I love what you did on the bottom half. Now we’ll just need to add some lume to the hour markers and we’re golden.

    • Phil leavell

      Nice redesign simple and tasty maybe they could hire you to run these designs passed before they bring them out

    • Ariel Adams

      +1 for Mark Carson being the “watch fixer.”

  • ??????

    This must be the most striking Parmigiani timepiece so far. It’s not ideal, actually far from it, but somehow it really shines on the wrist. While I do agree with Mark – there is still plenty of things to harmonize, but the overall appeal of this model puts it on top of Parmigiani list for me. I even think it’ll be worth 7-8k when heavily discounted at chrono24 and other platforms. At 13k I’d better get a Moritz Grossman with much better finished hands and movement.

    • Ian john horwood

      The most striking parmigiani is the the tonda split second chronograph with two column wheels.

  • BrJean

    I think that the dial is attractive and well-balanced. Double moonphase at the top is a pretty ‘heavy’ element and it needs a counterweight at the bottom of the dial and the seconds subdial combined with triple-date do this job right. Mark C.’s simplification proposal looks great too but it’s not as distinctive as original.

  • IanE

    Very nicely finished, but, as so often for me, the dial aesthetics just don’t work well. Yes, it’s different to most moonphase/date watches, but (again for me) it is hard to beat the rather cheaper (and, OK, not so well finished and lacking the rather nice micro-rotor of the PF) JLC MUT Moon with black dial; and why change a basic type of layout that’s not broken unless you can improve it?!

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Pretty much everything that Mark said. I much prefer his rendering on this piece. The lugs i feel are a little too chunky and too far appart. And the fact they are not flush with the case annoys me to. How much ! ?

  • I like the Mark Carson Special Edition. Any chance on that being released in rose gold, and what’s the wait list look like?

  • BNABOD

    Like the moonphase very IWC of them but then the ginormous date abyss is not for me. I mean it is huge yet you can’t fit “2” in it. so 1 then . then 3 really? so MarkCarson it and make it a regular date with black background and move on.
    the movement side is perty but for some reason on the dude’s arm it looks rather uncomfortable like it is not sitting nice and flush.

    • The “dude” (whose wrist the PF is on) is Ariel Adams BTW.

  • Word Merchant

    Every watch from Parmigiani I see makes me like the brand a little less. They’ve taken a great basic design and over-fussed it.

  • Hal Stokes

    I like the watch, but I have a technical question. The article states that the watch operates at 3 Hertz (21,600bph). I thought 3 Hertz meant 3 cycles (beats) per second. A watch operating at 21,600bph would mean 6 beats per second or 6 Hertz right? I don’t think it’s an error by the author because I saw, and was
    confused by, a similar statement in another article earlier this week. What am I missing?

    • A 21,600 bph movement will have a frequency of 3 hz. Its balance will make 3 complete cycles in each second. This makes the escapement wheel index 6 times, since the balance trips the pallet twice per oscillation (once clockwise, once counter clockwise).

      • Hal Stokes

        This is what I needed. Thanks!

      • What he said – but here is the real clue, the balance wheel lets the escape wheel move twice per oscillation. Once when swinging in each direction. That’s why it seems like the seconds hand is sweeping twice as smoothly as the frequency alone would lead you to think. Cheers.

    • Ian john horwood

      4 hertz is 28,800 bph and 5 hertz is 36,000 bph so the 21,600 bph moments are 3 hertz movements. You must have no knowledge of watch calibre movements if you do not know this. 5 hertz operate at 10 beats per second. All the rest down from that operate at less beats per second.

  • Sevenmack

    The dial finishing is lovely. The movement finishing is on point. Even the moon phase is lovely and fitting of a high-end watch. The date indicator doesn’t bother me and fits in with the overall aesthetic. All in all, a fine effort.

    Of course, many here take issue with the watch. But as with TAG Heuer, Parmigiani is one of those brands that never gets a break anyway. So the naysayers don’t matter.

  • I generally consider a moon phase complication to be one of those things that should not be a major part of the dial. Using it as a large component of the dial seems a bit over the top to me. It’s a large amount of real estate to use up for data that most people don’t reference very often.

  • Stick a third moon in there and call it a Tatooine special edition.

    • Spangles

      “That’s no moon” Deathstar edition

  • Richard Baptist

    I think this is a great package for the price. I like everything except the date window. Then I saw Mark Carson’s update, that would be perfect. Parmigiani make that version for the same price and I’m sold! Parmigiani is one of those brands that makes watches I want to like but one or two design elements just kill it for me.

  • Marius

    I would like to make four observations regarding Parmigiani and this watch.

    1. From a manufacturing perspective, Parmigiani has massive capabilities. Parmigiani has numerous manufacturing facilities spread across Switzerland. What’s more, Parmigiani is owned by the Sandoz Foundation that pumps impressive amounts of money into this brand. As a result, Parmigiani isn’t exactly a small independent brand à la FP Journe, Voutilainen, or Laurent Ferrier. In fact, Parmigiani has a bigger manufacturing “muscle” than most higher-end brands such as JLC, Blancpain, AP, or Vacheron.

    2. While I like the overall design, I find the moonphase indicator a bit too “technical.” Personally, I like a moon phase indicator with a big & colourful indicator rather than one with many superfluous inscriptions. A moon phase indicator is, by itself, quite superfluous, so at least make it attractive and don’t use ridiculous moon-cycle indicators.

    3. The movement is undoubtedly a nice caliber, but for $13,000, I can’t say that I’m terribly impressed. One of my all-time favourite calibers is the 1.96 produced by Michel Parmigiani for Chopard. Even Walt Odets described this caliber as: “From the standpoint of design and execution, the 1.96 is probably the finest automatic caliber produced in Switzerland today.” While the PF 708 is based on the 1.96, it’s the “watered down” slightly less-well-decorated version.

    4. While the $13,000 price is not entirely crazy, it’s not very compelling either. After all, this is a steel watch with a good, but relatively simple movement — a moonphase indicator is not particularly complicated. For $12,000, IWC offers the Portuguese Chrono with an in-house flyback chronograph caliber, whilst the JLC Master Moonphase costs around $9,000, so it’s almost $4,000 cheaper than the Parmigiani.

    • Sheez Gagoo

      The Sandoz Foundation already lost the incredible amount of 500 000 000 CHF with this brand. Impressive patience. Hard to believe that they ever make any profit.

    • Richard Baptist

      Good point on the Chopard movement, the 1.96 is one I’m on the look out for. And you’re correct, the 1.96 is one of the all time great movements out there.

    • I believe this MUST be a special watch as it made you break the famous Marius rules. What, 4 point observations for a $13k watch? Special indeed.
      Joke aside, I think it is an interesting, well finished watch and rather classy overall looking. We’ll see what the real value will end up being once it hits the “gently used” market.

  • WINKS

    A titre the very least, the date wheel should be black with white fonts.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Isn’t it fun that we can all sit and nit pick at watches that very few of us will even get to see never mind wear.

    • Saul Sloota

      yes

    • DanW94

      We don’t do it for fun Ray. It’s serious business and we do it for the betterment of all mankind. Dare I say we’re changing lives here and exponentially improving the horological footprint of the entire planet. So think long and hard before you deliver your next *CLUNK* my friend…..

      • Raymond Wilkie

        I would love to think that was true Dan . My clunking is not done without some thought.

        • mtnsicl

          You know, you’ve been making a lot of sense lately. I’m kinda starting to like you, Wilkie.

      • mtnsicl

        Calm down bro! It’s just a watch. It’s kinda hard to take something serious that you don’t even need anymore.

        • DanW94

          Post was strictly tongue in cheek : )

          • mtnsicl

            As was mine!

      • Clunk away my fellow watch aficionados, clunk away!

  • DanW94

    Not to fond of the moonphase complication. The execution looks cheap and it appears unnecessarily busy and the triple date window looks incredibly awkward sitting in the sub-dial. I really like the elegant look of the time only Tonda 1950, but the dial on this one feels out of sync.

  • SuperStrapper

    There something about this that is dragging it into chinese-at-a-glance territory. I thinkbiys the handset. Which is not new, but just this watch displays them poorly. A closer look shows how special this dial is, but its just not something I’m interested in owning.

  • Ian john horwood

    My parmigiani pick is the fleurier tonda anniversaire split second rattrapante chronograph in rose gold

  • Phil leavell

    Why make moon phase indicator simple. Because then you can’t be flashing and say look at my watch. You could make it more cheesy please by adding a little red light that went;-) blink blink blink and say it’s a laser beam. It’s just a watch made by name brand owned by a conglomerate and if they make the watches just a little bit different but still the same they get big money unless you don’t buy it so if you like it buy it if you don’t like it don’t buy it some of us will wait for the people who buy and then don’t like it they sell it and we buy from them at a reasonable price and sell it to somebody else and make some money.

  • mtnsicl

    This is a very sexy watch! The only thing I can fault is the very plain crown. And Ariel, these artsy fartsy pictures are jamming my camel toe up. I’d really like to see a picture of the whole caseback.

  • Mr. Snrub

    I can see why people like Mark’s Hodinkeefied version but that conservative redesign robs this piece of its personality imo.

    I dig it; fat lugs, texted moon-phase, and all.

  • Ulysses31

    Very beautiful, except for the hands. The hands ruin pretty much every Parmigiani watch for me. They’re fat and short, too inelegant.