How many years of watchmaking history does Parmigiani Fleurier have behind it? A newcomer to horology might look at the year that Parmigiani Fleurier was founded (1996) and conclude that the answer to this question is 25 years. Those more familiar with the landscape of modern fine watchmaking know otherwise. Brand founder Michel Parmigiani is a master watchmaker whose extensive background in restoration brings centuries of horological expertise to the company. His experience and encyclopaedic knowledge of historical watchmaking, combined with innate talent and creativity, drive every single timepiece of Parmigiani Fleurier.
Over the last two and a half decades, Parmigiani Fleurier has built up a reputation for discreet, elegant watches inhabited by exclusive movements that are impeccably finished. Even their most exuberantly designed timepieces, verging on the avant-garde side of watchmaking, are characterised by refinement of proportion and harmonious lines that meld curves and angles with an adroit eye.
While collections such as the oblong Kalpa and the ultra-classic Toric each have their staunch supporters, it is the Tonda — Parmigiani Fleurier’s contemporary design — that has seen the most widespread recognition and success (albeit in the same understated context that relates to everything about the brand). Sub-collections of Tonda include the sports-inflected Tonda GT and the recently launched Tonda PF, which leans towards an approach associated with fine bespoke tailoring, all muted hues and subtle textures.
Parmigiani Fleurier is one of the rare watchmaking houses with the ability to produce its own regulating organs (including balance springs) internally, along with dials and cases. From the movement to the case, everything that is the essence of a Tonda, a Kalpa or a Toric is made in-house. The entire process of movement conception, design and manufacture is integrated, as is machining. Elwin SA and Vaucher Manufacture are cousin companies of Parmigiani Fleurier. There’s also a partnership with Hermès, which supplies the leather straps — a luxury accent that perfectly complements the design of every Tonda, Toric or Kalpa watch.
Within the industry, Parmigiani Fleurier has received its share of accolades from watchmaking's insiders. Most recently, the Tonda Hijri Perpetual Calendar was awarded the prize in the Innovation category at the 2020 edition of the Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève. Today, the maison has found its place and its audience: discerning collectors who know their watches and enjoy being part of an understated, exclusive community; restless seekers of a timepiece that offers something a little different from what the big institutional players can provide. Parmigiani Fleurier has created its own aesthetic, and its own niche. The arrival of Guido Terrini as CEO in 2021 augurs great things for the future of the Fleurier manufacture.