Lifestyle — 05.07.23

For a road trip to Gstaad, watch collector Alexander Friedman relies on two essential companions: his Parmigiani Tonda PF Chronograph and a Lancia Delta Integrale.

With a busy schedule, watch aficionado, luxury consultant and co-founder of Watchonista, Alexander Friedman, knows there are moments when one needs to detach, take a break and seek a quick escape. But what does the Lausanne-based timepiece collector do to disconnect from it all?

Friedman: For me, the best way to decompress from stress is driving. Today just happens to be the perfect sunny day ideal for a mountain drive. So here I am, ready to hit the road, the Parmigiani Tonda PF Chronograph set on my wrist, completing my sport-chic look necessary to climb up to the socialite meeting point that is Bernese Oberland; also better known to most as Gstaad.


Altitudes: The Tonda is quite a distraction?

Friedman: While on the wheel, I can’t stop looking at my wrist, always trying to spot the best angle, the most appropriate light to see the intricate and finite details, and I think to myself: “That would be a great shot”. The ‘Milano Blue’ Grain d’Orge guillauché dial is just fantastically detailed. It is complex but minimalist at the same time: the perfect combination. The new PF logo brings purity to the dial amplifying the readability of the three subdial counters. The overall feeling of ‘less is more’ is captivating, contemporary and effortless, all while maintaining readability.

Watchonista founder: Alexander Friedman inherited his passion for watches from his father. “I remember the excitement every time we received catalogues from auctioneers, always looking to find famous models inside,” he says.


Altitudes: It doesn’t feel physically distracting?

Friedman: I am sure the Parmigiani design team was put to the test to realise a completely flexible bracelet to make the watch ultra-comfortable to wear. This feeling of a watch that feels like a ‘second skin’ is something valued by many clients.

Altitudes: And the Parmigiani mechanics? 

Friedman: Well, the Tonda PF’s in-house manufactured column-wheel chronograph movement is simply beautiful with its new rose-gold, open-worked oscillating weight rotating over a very sleek and modern looking bridge. Simply stunning.


Altitudes: What about the car?

Friedman: The Lancia HF Delta Integrale is an absolutely outstanding machine. One of those few cars that left a permanent mark on the history of automobiles and whomever had the pleasure of driving one in their lifetime.

Born to compete in the WRC, the Delta was one of the most successful rally cars of all time and, for homologation purposes, it made it to the road with a very coveted street legal version that evolved over years. If you were born in the 70s and got your license in the 90s, this was the car you wished for! I most certainly did andsometimes wishes come true.


Guido Terreni, CEO: “We have conceived the Tonda PF for the watchmaking purists of tomorrow. An uncompromising crowd of a select few, seeking personal hedonistic pleasure, who are savvy in watchmaking and appreciate sartorial craft.

Altitudes: How does it drive?

Friedman: Efficiency is privileged over luxury. All your senses are awoken and aroused at the immediate start of the engine. As soon as you release the clutch, you push the gas pedal and the turbo kicks in, you immediately know something unique is about to happen and your heart starts racing in a good way.

You feel everything immediately. There is a connection between the machine, the road and the driver. The grip of the car is just insane with the 4×4 transmission, “integrale” in Italian. Turn after turn, and with every winding curve, the sound of the turbo makes the drive irresistible. It’s fast. So damn fast. Let’s slow down though to appreciate the road and the scenery. Gstaad here I come.


Altitudes: And Gstaad itself?

Friedman: Some are already in St. Moritz, some opt for Zermatt and others prefer Verbier. But for a quick escape with no skiing on my agenda, Gstaad is definitely my number one choice as it’s close to Lausanne, my hometown.

Altitudes: What makes the town unique?

Friedman: Gstaad has always been a magnet for global jet setters and royalty. Nevertheless, discretion is mandatory here and the nonchalance of it makes it inviting and familial too. Don’t get me wrong, the wealth is obvious but also understated making the ease of it quite pleasant. This is what makes Gstaad so unique.


Altitudes: If you’re not skiing, what do you do?

Friedman: There is a proper program to follow when you are not on the slopes: people watching for one, shopping, socialising, eating and of course, the aperitivo! Gstaad does not offer many choices but there are a handful of musts. For lunch you can’t miss the fashion crowd at Olden (recommended by the Milanese), followed by a leisurely stroll on the Gstaad promenade and a cocktail on the sunny terrace of the ‘James Bond-look’ Hotel Alpina are all to be checked off the list before departing.

The Tonda PF’s in-house manufactured column-wheel chronograph movement is simply beautiful with its new rose-gold, open-worked oscillating weight rotating over a very sleek and modern looking bridge.

Altitudes: How about the return leg?

Friedman: What I thought most about on the drive back to Lausanne was the synergy that exits between these three refined choices for my day escape; the nonchalant elegance of Gstaad paralleled with Parmigiani’s understated Haute Horlogerie refinement, and the culmination of emotions and adrenaline felt while driving this mythical car.

Altitudes: Great combinations?

Friedman: The pairing of both Parmigiani and Lancia matched my quest for the beautiful and rare. Hope you enjoyed coming along for the ride, and don’t forget: Time is flying pretty fast, and if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.