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Parmigiani Fleurier

One of the more recent success stories of the Swiss watchmaking industry, Parmigiani Fleurier emerged from the close relationship between watchmaker Michel Parmigiani and the Sandoz Family Foundation.

About

Michel Parmigiani could not have graduated as a watchmaker at a worse time, in the middle of what the Swiss watch industry now refers to as the “quartz crisis”. At a time when the industry was shedding jobs in the thousands, setting up a workshop seemed like folly. But Michel Parmigiani stuck resolutely to the path of traditional watchmaking, dedicating himself to the art of watch restoration.
 
His breakthrough came in the early 1980s, when Effrène Jobin, the curator of the watchmaking museum in Le Locle, was looking for someone to take over the responsibility of maintaining and restoring one of Switzerland’s finest collections of pocket watches and automata – the Edouard Marcel Sandoz collection belonging to the Sandoz family.
 
After years of collaboration during which the family discovered Michel Parmigiani’s exceptional talent as a watchmaker, Pierre Landolt, today President of the Sandoz Family Foundation, encouraged Michel Parmigiani to enter the limelight and the Parmigiani Fleurier watch brand was established in 1996 – the same year in which the family company Sandoz SA merged with Ciba-Geigy SA to form Novartis.
 
Bringing together five different entities in less than six years, the Sandoz Family Foundation subsequently built up an entire watchmaking competence centre that has created a genuine manufacture with all of its competences embodied in the Parmigiani Fleurier brand.

1996
Parmigiani Fleurier is founded on 29th May 1996.
1999
The Ionica, Parmigiani Fleurier’s first wristwatch, is presented.
2010
The Bugatti Super Sport illustrates the state-of-the-art in watchmaking technology mastered by the brand.
2014
The brand presents the world’s thinnest flying tourbillon, the Tonda 1950 Tourbillon.
2016
Parmigiani Fleurier presents the Tonda Chronor Anniversaire, featuring the brand’s first integrated chronograph movement.
Philosophy

Many watch brands aspire to the French title “manufacture”, but few can legitimately claim it, and even fewer of those are independent. A true manufacture is capable of producing a watch from start to finish, right down to the most minuscule of components and, in particular, the balance spring without which the mechanical watch cannot function.
 
In just over five years following the establishment of Parmigiani Fleurier in 1996, an entire ecosystem was set up to ensure that the brand can proudly boast of its genuine manufacture status independent of any group. Pinions and gear wheels produced by Elwin are combined into escapements and balance springs produced by Atokalpa, which are in turn assembled in the finished movements produced by Vaucher Manufacture and fitted into cases made by Les Artisans Boitiers and completed with dials from Quadrance & Habillage – all companies in the safe hands of the Sandoz Family Foundation. Even the leather straps for Parmigiani Fleurier watches are produced by Hermès exclusively for the brand.

Collections

Bugatti

With its horizontal movement, which was specifically conceived to fit in this unusual case shape, as well as two separate display apertures in the triangular case, the Bugatti is an unmistakable Parmigiani Fleurier icon.

Kalpa

The brand’s first wristwatch was presented under the name Ionica but later renamed Kalpa XL. It remains a cornerstone of the Parmigiani Fleurier collection and is equipped with the company’s first in-house movement, the PF110 – a manually wound calibre with an eight-day power reserve. In its smaller case sizes, the Kalpa is also a mainstay of the Parmigiani Fleurier ladies’ watch collection.

Ovale

The Ovale overcomes the aesthetic constraints of an oval-shaped case with its ingenious extendable hour and minute hands that adjust to the different distances from the centre of the watch to the markers around the circumference of the dial.

Tonda

Parmigiani Fleurier’s quintessential classic watch is available in gents and ladies’ models with a number of different complications, from the simple small seconds to the tourbillon and minute repeater.

Watches

Modern watchmaker

Nestled among the hundreds-of-year old historic Swiss watchmaking maisons is Parmigiani Fleurier, a luxury watchmaker that, in terms of age, is a relative newcomer. Established in 1996, it is the brainchild of Michel Parmigiani, a precocious watchmaker and watch restorer, and the Sandoz Family Foundation, a former client of Michel Parmigiani and who encouraged him to start his own brand. Today the maison operates from its Fleurier headquarters and five production sites in Switzerland, with collectors able to buy its designs around the world, most notably at what it calls its Studios, currently in Paris, London and Miami. The brand has also collaborated with mechanically-minded partners – such as Bugatti, from Molsheim, France, and super yacht maker Pershing - adding an exciting range of top seller designs to its core lineup.

Bugatti Type 390

The Bugatti Type 390 is among the most complicated watches that one can buy from Parmigiani Fleurier. Inspired by the free flowing chassis of the Bugatti Chiron, watch boasts an 80-hour power reserve that’s powered by a seven-layer tubular movement - which includes a tourbillon at the end of the cylinder. In an 18ct white gold case with a black dial and rose gold indexes, the watch also comes with an Hermès strap.

Parmigiani x Pershing

Like Parmigiani’s relationship with Bugatti, the maritime partner is super yacht makers Pershing. Although the watches are no longer available to buy today, they are still very much talking points, with a host of seller outlets out there where one can buy on the secondary market. Among the most interesting designs is the Pershing 002 chronograph, with the rose gold version especially eye catching (and comes paired with the rubber strap for men and white alligator for women).

Kalpa Hebdomadaire

The Parmigiani Fleurier Kalpa Hebdomadaire (formerly the Parmigiani Fleurier Ionica), or the name given to the signature rectangular or tonneau shape, is one of the founding forms of the Parmigiani house. It speaks to the vintage watch restoration roots of Michel Parmigiani, and is one the most popular and best seller watches in the Parmigiani lineup. The shape has spawned a diverse and enticing collection, including the namesake Kalpa Hebdomadaire XL models. Not to be missed is the hand wound PFC 101-1001200-HA1241, with its grille like dial that recalls luxury classic cars and is among the more eyecatching models one can buy. Or if you are looking to buy something more sporty, there is the Kalpa Kalpagraphie range, which includes the stainless steel PFC 128-0001400-B00102 with an automatic and chronograph movement, or the more luxury version PFC 128-1001400-HA1441, with a rose gold case (and which is also an automatic chronograph). Meanwhile the women’s lines are equally top seller pieces, courtesy of the Kalpa Piccola range, which includes the PFC 160-1020700-B10202 in rose gold and trimmed in diamonds from bezel to bracelet; or the Anniversaire PFC 186-0020400-XC2422 with a gold quartz movement, which pairs a lilac mother of pearl dial on a white strap. The Kalpa Piccola models are all quartz, which tends to be more a top seller movement with women.