The PF517 movement is very modern in its design and construction. While it does have a lot of traditional decoration, the overall visual experience is much more “contemporary” than it is “traditional.” You can see this a lot when viewing the tourbillon from either side of the case, actually. From the dial you have a tourbillon cage which has an integrated blued arrow which serves as the seconds hand. It serves amply as an indicator as much as it does a view of this pricey complication.
When we first debuted this watch, the official marketing images from Parmigiani made it appear as though the “Tourbillon 60 Secondes” text on the dial along with accompanying markers (especially the red marker) was extremely conspicuous. In real life, however, this text is not very noticeable and the red is more or less lost in the metallic blue of the dial. For the most part what you see on the dial is all that you should see (save for the tourbillon) which is the hands and hour markers.
I’ve worn the Tonda 1950 Tourbillon with long sleeves and also while wearing shorts. It just works in so many contexts and that is not something I can testify to with many similarly themed watches. Perhaps the playfulness of the dial along wit the more classic design elements make for a watch that is inherently dressy but that lends itself well to casual situations. The sheer comfort of the Tonda 1950 case makes you want to wear the watch, and the legibility of the dial as well as the automatic movement makes it easy to rely upon. Again, with various dial versions the experience might vary with other versions, but this blue-and-gold number has proved itself to be surprisingly versatile.
Attached to the case is a deep blue alligator leather strap from Hermes. It looks like even Apple is taking a cue from Parmigiani by selecting Hermes straps for some new versions of the Apple Watch. Hermes does make very good use out of fine pieces of animal skin, I have to give them at least that. Together, the blue and rose gold meld nicely and with the high contrast of the whitish lume on the dial you have everything you need in a classy timepiece.
I don’t know if the Parmigiani Tonda 1950 Tourbillon is the tourbillon to convert non-tourbillon lovers, but it most certainly is among the most easy to live with tourbillons I’ve had the pleasure to wear. Again, remember that the appeal of a tourbillon to watch lovers is the technique and to status lovers it is the immediate signal of wealth. Tourbillons don’t really add anything from a functionality perspective. If the watch was half the price I’d say that Parmigiani was on its way to getting a whole lot more people wearing tourbillons – but that really isn’t the point of the feature, now is it? Then you turn over the watches and see the finely finished movement and remember “no this isn’t just an easy to wear daily watch but also a finely made luxury Swiss watch!” Price for this reference PFH279-1000600-HA3141 Parmigiani Tonda 1950 Tourbillon “Rose Gold Abyss” watch is $130,000. parmigiani.ch
>Model: Tonda 1950 Tourbillon “Rose Gold Abyss” PFH279-1000600-HA3141
>Size: 40.2mm wide
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Status seekers wanting an easy to live with daily wear luxury watch.
>Best characteristic of watch: Goes from luxury to leisure very easily. Very legible and comfortable to use dial.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Automatic micro-rotor is noisy. Expensive.