Parmigiani Fleurier’s MÃ©trographe Chronograph was first introduced at the 2014 Salon International Haute Horlogerie, and it was at that point, envisioned by the company as a versatile and relatively affordable chronograph, with Parmigiani’s signature flowing case lines, that might serve as a point of entry into the company’s offerings and which might broaden its appeal to a younger crowd. The movement at launch was caliber PF315, which is an in-house base movement (caliber PF331) with Dubois Depraz chronograph module, and the 40mm case was designed to suit classic-leaning contemporary tastes. For this year, the MÃ©trographe has gotten a face-lift, although the basic value proposition is the same: versatility, relative affordability, and that hard-to-nail combination of elegance and technical flavor that can, when you get it right, make for a real hit.
The two most noticeable changes are probably the shift of the date window to the 12:00 position, and the addition of a tachymeter scale. Parmigiani has also opted to make the running seconds subdial a double-track, hemispherical one, with a two-headed seconds hand. Ordinarily this seems a little bit of an affectation but here it seems to work, giving a little more space and clarity to a dial that in the earlier version came across a little cramped. Further breathing room’s been given to the dial by shortening the triangular hour markers (by quite a bit) and reducing the width of the textured track they sit in. The heavy lume that used to sit around the chronograph minute and hour subdials (in some, but not all, earlier models) is also gone.
These seem like pretty smart edits to the design; the result is much cleaner and it actually lets you see the watch as a harmonious whole, much more easily â in particular, the case and pusher shapes are both clearer to the eye and better partnered with the other details of the watch. The tachymeter scale may or may not add a great deal of utility per se (depending on your relationship as a driver to measured miles or kilometers) but it does give the watch a more technical flavor which helps anchor what can, from Parmigiani, sometimes seem a little too much bubbly biomorphism.
The white-dialed version seems a little dressier, as white-dialed chronographs will, but the improvements (and I do think they’re improvements) to the design read loud and clear here as well. Pricing remains very accessible too, at $11,500 on a strap, and $12,000 on a bracelet, both in steel (which is a pretty low-impact premium for a bracelet). This price is, I think, a fair one for the fit and finish, and while the movement isn’t entirely in-house, you’re not paying what you would for a fully in-house self-winding chronograph movement either, which would obviously be quite a bit more in general, with the obvious exception being those manufacturers who have significant economies of scale working for their in-house automatic chronograph movements (Rolex, Seiko, and Omega spring immediately to mind). An interesting alternative in a design-forward, elegantly styled automatic chronograph that you won’t see nearly as often as you see â well, Rolex, Seiko, or Omega.
The Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda MÃ©trographe: Case, 40mm x 11.7mm; steel, sapphire crystals front and back; 30m water resistance. Movement, caliber PF315, Parmigiani Fleurier caliber PF331 with module; 28mm x 6.07mm; 42 hour power reserve running in 46 jewels, at 28,800 vph. Pricing: strap model, $11,500; $12,000 on bracelet. Visit Parmigiani Fleurier online at Parmigiani.ch.