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The story of Parmigiani Fleurier cannot be told without the fascinating story of its founder’s life, the inimitable Michel Parmigiani. This is the man whose heart was torn between two fields that are both creative as well as technical—mechanical watchmaking and architecture. His innate love for and curiosity about the intricacies of watchmaking and Haute Horlogerie eventually won, and he joined the Val-de-Travers school of watchmaking. He ended up specialising in restoration—something he excelled at.
Michel Parmigiani, against every advice, began his entrepreneurial adventure during the traditional watchmaking industry’s darkest era—the ‘Quartz Crisis’—way back in 1976, when the quartz movement almost spelt the end of the mechanical watchmaking industry. He started off by restoring antique watches in his workshop in Couvet, Switzerland, while he worked on his own unique creations in his spare time, slowly making a name for himself and gaining widespread acclaim among horologists and collectors alike.
In the 1980s, Michel Parmigiani was given the task of maintaining the Maurice-Yves Sandoz collection. His passion and his creative genius were immediately recognised and he became the Sandoz Family Foundation’s official restorer of automata and clocks. It was at this time that the president of the foundation, Pierre Landolt, noticed his immense talents. Through the foundation’s support and encouragement, by 1996, Michel Parmigiani had acquired the means to produce his own magnificent timepieces. Thus, Parmigiani Fleurier was born under its first name, ‘Parmigiani Mesure et Art du Temps’. The brand’s extraordinary story and creations would soon take the world by storm.
The first Parmigiani watch designed was the Toric Quantième Perpétuel Rétrograde. This stunning timepiece had a bezel with alternating gadroons and knurling—a characteristic style that would eventually become one of the hallmarks of the brand’s design language. Next came the Kalpa Hebdomadaire (previously known as Ionica). Its case had a rectangular shape, which is quite similar to Parmigiani’s iconic ‘tonneau’ or barrel-shaped case. Its design was also based on the ‘golden ratio’—a pleasing geometric pattern such as what naturally occurs in the spiral arrangement of leaves. This ratio can be found in every Parmigiani creation thenceforth.
The year 2003 spelt the launch of the Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier, which became the Parmigiani Fleurier watchmaking centre’s engineering powerhouse. With the help of their research and development department, the brand was able to produce more and more intricate calibres, which heralded the introduction of a variety of different watches that are now a part of Parmigiani Fleurier’s extensive repertoire.
Parmigiani and Bugatti
By 2004, Parmigiani Fleurier had launched the Bugatti Type 370 whose design defied all norms and traditions of watchmaking. This interesting and attention-grabbing watch is powered by a horizontal movement, which is reminiscent of an engine block and has a dial that is inspired by the front grill of a Bugatti automobile. This timepiece’s design was definitely off the beaten track, and the horological world sat up and took notice. Michel Parmigiani described this masterstroke of a watch as ‘the court jester that defies limits and explores the field of possibilities without fearing conventions, or the guillotine.
In 2006, Parmigiani Fleurier partnered with the French high-fashion and watchmaking brand, Hermès, and it became an important stakeholder in Parmigiani’s watchmaking centre. From then on, Hermès—known for their high-quality leather accessories—began producing leather straps for Parmigiani Fleurier’s horological creations, giving the timepieces an elegant touch and luxe appeal.
The Tonda 42 Tourbillon
By 2008, the brand had launched its first tourbillon—the Tonda 42 Tourbillon—a feather in the cap of the already prestigious and highly accurate Tonda family, solidifying its reputation for craftsmanship and precision in the watchmaking industry. The same year, Parmigiani Fleurier also launched its women’s collection with the Kaprisma Nova. This timepiece, which was the talk of the town, has a black dial exhibiting an ethereal starry, starry night sky. The iconic star at six o’clock whose rotation denotes the passage of seconds is a highlight of this lovely timepiece.
Since then, Parmigiani Fleurier has launched a number of watches catering to a variety of tastes. Divided into three collections, Toric, Tonda, and Kalpa, Parmigiani excels at keeping the variation alive.
Independent manufacture, Parmigiani Fleurier’s focus has always been on melding the two, often separate, worlds of technology and creativity into a beautiful symphony of horology. The manufacturer aims to achieve complete mastery over each and every component of the watch—from its surface to the intricate ticking heart inside. Behind every single watch designed and sold by Parmigiani Fleurier is a team of around 50 talented watchmakers, who embody the values that Michel Parmigiani holds dear. The brand also trains gifted young watchmakers so that they can better hone their unique skill set in an increasingly computerised and digitised world.
Nothing can describe Parmigiani Fleurier’s take on watchmaking better than the founder’s own words. “There is something magical about the manufacture of time,” he said. “Producing inanimate components and assembling them to create perpetual movement is like breathing life into inert material; it is the creation of a pulse that will never stop beating.” And it is this spirit of creativity and passion that the brand has taken forward time and time again with its numerous award-winning designs. It’s Michel Parmigiani’s genuine affection towards watchmaking and his meticulous attention to details—which spills into each and every timepiece crafted by Parmigiani Fleurier—that draws in horological purists and passionate watch collectors. The moment you strap on a Parmigiani timepiece, you’re not just wearing a simple timekeeping device, you’re wearing a beautiful story—a legacy, and a bewitching artefact whose seamless and magical design is bound to inspire you to enthral you for years to come.
Important Parmigiani Collections
Frequently asked Questions (FAQs)
What is special about Parmigiani?
Parmigiani is a luxury watchmaking brand that is known for opulent timepieces with convoluted designs. The timepieces under the Parmigiani Fleurier are precise and reflects the brilliant craftsmanship of the brand. Every strap on the Parmigiani watches is provided by a luxury bag maker, Hermès.
Which are the most popular Parmigiani collections in India?
The most popular Parmigiani collections in India are:
Which are the most popular Parmigiani watches for men in India?
The most popular Parmigiani watches for men in India are:
Which are the most popular Parmigiani watches for women in India?
The most popular Parmigiani watches for women in India are:
Where can I get my Parmigiani watch serviced?
One of the best luxury watch service centres in India is operated by Ethos Watches. Ethos Watch Care | Shop No 118-120, First Floor, Square One Mall, District Center Saket New Delhi - 110017 | Phone: +91 11 4142 1691, +91 93190 95793 | E-Mail: email@example.com | URL: https://www.ethoswatches.com/repair-and-service/