Thursday, January 17, 2019

ExclusiveFinally In India—Parmigiani Fleurier, An Ethos-Exclusive In Haute Horlogerie

Within a short span of time, Swiss watchmaker Parmigiani Fleurier has built a strong narrative dedicated to the art of restoration to perpetuate the savoir faire through ingenious creations. Explore its fascinating journey with The Watch Guide

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There is something magical about the manufacture of time. 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.

Michel Parmigiani, Founder, Parmigiani Fleurier

At a time when people were being dissuaded from joining the mechanical watch industry—as it was entering some of its darkest hours—Michel Parmigiani, well-renowned horologist and founder of Parmigiani Fleurier, decided to nurture his curiosity towards discovering the art of restoring luxury watches. Holding the initial desire to be an architect, Michel leaned towards horology by enrolling into a watchmaking school 15 minutes away from his home in Fleurier in western Switzerland.

Parmigiani
Winner of the Travel Time Watch Prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève 2017, the 42.8mm Toric Hemisphères Rétrograde went the whole nine yards with a bezel featuring alternating gadroons and knurling, a delicately designed grained dial and two independent time indications
₹ 2,390,000
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In 1976, Michel opened his traditional watch workshop in Couvet in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. In 1980, he had a tryst with the Sandoz Family Foundation. Established by sculptor and painter Edouard-Marcel Sandoz, the foundation’s goal was to encourage entrepreneurial commitment through long-term holdings in companies in various sectors. In recognition of Michel’s prodigious talents, the foundation appointed him as the official restorer for the collection of watchmaking artefacts owned by them. With immense support and encouragement from the Foundation, he went on to launch his own brand in May 1996, while investing in a strong staff that has truly mastered the tourbillon and chronograph.

Parmigiani
A variation of the silver Tonda Metrographe, the face of this automatic chronograph sports an oxidised black hue. Lending dynamism to this timepiece are the discreetly raised chronograph counters, which form an oblique figure ‘8’—an archetypal element of the Parmigiani Fleurier chronographs.
₹ 932,000
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From Watchmaking Artefacts To Court Jesters

Throughout his quest towards the discovery of the heritage of traditional watchmaking, Michel produced unique, beautiful mechanical objects and very small series for some brands and collectors. Three years later, the Toric QP Retrograde—the brand’s first wristwatch—was unveiled. This historic timepiece adorned a bezel with knurling, thereby introducing Parmigiani Fleurier’s now idiosyncratic style of watch design to the world. What’s fascinating is that through his creations, Michel has maintained his association with the same artisan who applies the knurling to every single Toric watch by hand.

Parmigiani
As the first tonneau-shaped integrated chronograph to be entirely manufactured by Parmigiani Fleurier, the 40.9mm Kalpagraphe Chronomètre is remarkably in a league of its own
₹ 2,835,000
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The new millennium ushered in the launch of the Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier, which became the Parmigiani Fleurier watchmaking centre’s engineering powerhouse. In a move that led to a new discussion on quality in watchmaking, the watchmaker forged a partnership with Bugatti, and introduced the Bugatti Type 370 timepiece, which Michel termed ‘the court jester that defies limits and explores the field of possibilities without fearing conventions, or the guillotine’.

Parmigiani
Parmigiani Fleurier’s headquarters, on a traditional-looking Swiss estate, in Val-de-Travers

The maison and its fully independent manufacture nurture craftsmanship and creative dexterity in a truly impressive manner. The cases are made in Les Artisans Boîtiers, and the unique dials are produced in the Quadrance et Habillage. The Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier is the watch movement division, while Elwin and Atokalpa—joint subsidiaries of the watchmaking centre—are specialists in precision bar turning and the production of micro mechanical components. Not to mention an intrinsic component of watchmaking that brings it all together—straps. In 2006, Hermès acquired a stake in the watchmaking centre, which even led to the use of the Hermès leather straps on Parmigiani Fleurier watches.

Parmigiani
Launched in 2016, the Kalpa Donna Anniversaire commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Kalpa Donna—the first women’s watch in the Parmigiani Fleurier collection. In this quartz watch, the engraved mother-of-pearl dial is housed in a 34.8mm stainless steel case, which is bejewelled with 44 diamonds.
₹ 851,000
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Parmigiani
Exuding an urban sophisticated charm, the 40mm Tonda Metrographe chronograph is an illustrious example of technical perfection, owing to the in-house manufactured automatic calibre PF315 beating at its core. The maroon calf leather strap enhances the elegance of the silver dial.
₹ 932,000
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The Cornerstone Of The Brand: The Creations

Restoration gave me the confidence I needed to pursue my watchmaking dreams, despite the naysayers. I have faith in the traditional watchmaker’s art; it is the cornerstone of Parmigiani Fleurier and has been the guiding force throughout my career.

Michel Parmigiani

Parmigiani
The 33.7mm Tonda Métropolitaine Sélène makes for an ethereal spectacle with the 72 diamonds set on the case and a lotus flower, crafted from delicate mother-of-pearl lacework, blooming in the centre of the dial. A closer look will reveal the dreamlike quality of the moon phase complication.
₹ 1,232,000
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Each creation is a reflection of the calibre of the creator, who gets involved in the making of each and every prestige watch. With credit to Michel’s inclinations and vast knowledge about restoration and technical subtleties of the mechanisms created in the past, there are a number of inspired masterpieces in the brand’s repertoire, such as the Tonda Hémisphères, a GMT watch that takes clues from an antique traveller’s pocket watch; the Ovale Pantographe, a prestige watch that brought back the charisma of pantograph hands seen before on an antique pocket watch; the Toric Capitole, an ethereal timepiece that takes its complication from a pocket watch with sector time display; and lastly, the Toric Kaleidoscope—an horological complication of hypnotising beauty. High-end collections such as the Kalpa, Tonda, Toric and Bugatti demonstrate the creativity of this vertically-integrated organisation and underlies the brand’s aesthetic values.

Parmigiani
It is astounding how Parmigiani Fleurier has made conscientious efforts to employ young watchmakers and train them with a focused outlook on restoration

Coming to the operational aspect, it is astounding how Parmigiani Fleurier has made conscientious efforts to employ young watchmakers and train them with a focused outlook on restoration. This ‘pedagogy’ enables them to understand what transpired in the watchmaking industry over the last three centuries and observe how handmade masterpieces are different to watches made by a computer.

Parmigiani
This Tonda Métropolitaine sports a signature steel case, measuring 33.7mm, which houses a supremely elegant dial made with a pattern of concentric waves. Made for the modern women, this aesthetic timepiece is fitted with the automatic-winding mechanical calibre PF310 movement.
₹ 689,000
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Regarded as one of the more recent success stories of the Swiss watchmaking industry, the watchmaker enjoys exciting alliances with the world of music (for instance, as the global partner for the 2007 Montreux Jazz Festival) and photography (Musée de l’Elysée—a museum in Lausanne, Switzerland, entirely devoted to photography), as well as partnerships with Bugatti, Pershing and Pomellato.

Parmigiani
With a 29.5mm stone-set rose gold case and a white mother-of-pearl guilloché dial, the quartz Kalpa Piccola makes a strongly feminine statement
₹ 1,985,000
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