2022 will not go down as a vintage year for innovation and eye-popping design.
But it is likely to be a record year of sales for Swiss watchmakers thanks to the engineering of higher average price points by discontinuing entry level models and adding more luxurious pieces higher up the range.
Parmigiani Fleurier bucked both these trends, and introduced what was my favorite timepiece at Watches & Wonders, the Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante.
This is a watch that advances watchmaking by taking a clunky complication, a second timezone hour hand, and making it simple.
It is a bit like the in-line perpetual calendar display that Patek Philippe introduced last year.
It doesn’t do anything different to a date display on a subdial or central hand, it just makes it much easier to read and all the complexity of achieving that aim is hidden behind the dial.
A GMT function is useful, but I have never liked it on a watch. The 24 hour hand needs a second track, and the hand moving at half the speed of an hour hand always confused me.
Parmigiani, or PF as it likes to be known, solved this issue by making the hour hand of the second timezone move at the same speed as the hometown hour hand.
Even more cleverly, the second timezone hand hides behind the hometown hour hand when you are at home.
The beautifully finished PF051 automatic manufacture movement with rose gold micro-rotor is so precise, the hometown hour hand completely obscures the second hour hand when they are supposed to be together so you do not know it is there.
When you go to another country, there is a pusher at 8 o’clock on the case that you press to advance the second hour hand by one hour. When you get home, you press the golden pusher on the crown and it returns to its hiding place.
It is that simple.
The watch is also a stunner from the front and back. The movement is classically Swiss with Côtes de Genève strips and Perlage both used.
The Milano Blue dial is also exquisite with a grain d’Orge guilloché texture.
It comes in a clean and elegant 40mm polished and satin-finished stainless steel case with platinum 950 knurled bezel.
Some might suggest it lacks a date indication, but I appreciate the simplicity of the design.
At $28,700, the watch is not cheap, but worth every cent and an instant addition to my lust list. It goes on sale in August.