Traditionally speaking, Parmigiani has always reserved the Toric name for its most complex pieces, such as the Toric Quaestor Labyrinthe or the Toric Resonance 3. In 2017 however, we’re getting a different type of Toric timepiece. One that is more subdued, inherently less complex and altogether delightful. Meet the new Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Chronomètre, a contemporary interpretation of the first watch designed by Michel Parmigiani, which displays the time and date only. Of course, there are a few extra embellishments that make this watch more than just your standard three-hander with a date. This is Parmigiani after all. Read on to learn more.
Throwback to the first Parmigiani watch
Michel Parmigiani got his start in watch-making like so many of the other great independent watch-makers; in watch restoration and repair. He set up his own company in 1976 and over the ensuing years earned a reputation amongst watch museums and collectors, who sought out his specific expertise for complex restoration jobs. In the 1980s this enviable reputation led to him being assigned the task of maintaining the Maurice-Yves Sandoz collection.
Eventually he would come to establish a strong working relationship with Pierre Landolt, president of the Sandoz Family Foundation, with the two bonding over their shared love for watchmaking. Fast forward another decade or so and Michel Parmigiani, with the financial backing of the Sandoz family, was finally able to acquire the production means and resources to create a brand that would bear his own name.
Michel Parmigiani’s first “Parmigiani Fleurier”, the Toric Memory Time (Credits: Antiquorum)
This conveniently brings us back to the Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Chronomètre timepiece we are looking at today. As I alluded to briefly in the introduction, this new model, unveiled at SIHH earlier this year, is based on the first watch designed by Michel Parmigiani in 1996; the two time-zone Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Memory Time. It’s worth making the distinction here that this is a reinterpretation of the original model, not a recreation and so while there are several shared design characteristics, the Toric Chronomètre is very much its own watch.
The 2017 Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Chronomètre
For a start, it’s presented in a larger, 40.8mm three-part case, much better suited to today’s modern tastes. It’s available in your choice of 18ct white or red gold and has been designed with comfort in mind. It measures just 9.5mm thick and sits snugly on the wrist thanks to the ergonomic design of the lugs, ideal for an understated dress watch intended to be worn for just about any occasion. Where things really get interesting though is in the construction of the case, particularly the distinctive bezel.
As you may know already, Michel Parmigiani is an architecture savant. In fact, when he was younger he considered pursuing architecture as a career instead of watchmaking. Not surprisingly then, all his designs are heavily influenced by his love of architecture and nowhere is this more apparent than in the Toric collection. What makes this series of watches special – aesthetically speaking – is the bezel, which alternates gadroons and knurling. Mr. Parmigiani apparently based this design on the structure of a Doric column and then incorporated the spiral construction of a pointed shell he found on a beach in Malaysia. As you can see in the picture above, the effect is quite pronounced in the original model he created, although it has been refined somewhat in the new Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Chronomètre.
The bezel’s knurling — the Toric’s signature — is, according to Parmigiani, created by the only craftsman in Val-de-Travers to possess this skill and he is the same man that has been working with Mr. Parmigiani since 1996. This art consists of manipulating the material with a wheel that leaves the imprint of its notches in the metal. As a result, each knurl is unique and any mistake means discarding the bezel and starting all over again. The result is a unique, stepped case that reveals its beauty in the details.
Like the original model, the Toric Chronomètre features gold, javelin-shaped hands and a very clean, attractive dial. The Roman numerals have been replaced by Arabic ones, giving the watch a much more modern feel and really opening-up the dial nicely. Just above six o’clock there is an “open” date window, which displays the current date as well as the preceding and proceeding date. Personally, I am not particularly a fan of this style of date display but on this watch, it actually works, as I think a single date aperture would have been too small given the expanse of blank space on the dial. Plus, the golden frame around the aperture provides a nice bit of contrast and draws the eye.
Powering the Toric Chronomètre is the automatic, in-house caliber PF 331, which is COSC certified as a chronometer, hence the name. It runs at a standard 28,800 vph and offers a max power-reserve of 55-hours. As you probably guessed from the dial, it is capable of displaying the time and date only. As we’ve come to expect from Parmigiani, the movement has been finished to a very high standard, with the highlight of course being the solid gold, engraved rotor. Comprised of 220 parts, it is visible through the sapphire caseback.
The Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Chronomètre is available in either your choice of 18k red or white gold with either a black opaline or white grained dial. All four variations have been paired with a Hermès alligator strap and matching 18k gold buckle. Price: EUR 16,900. www.parmigiani.com.
Technical Specifications – Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Chronomètre
- Case: 40.8mm diameter x 9.50mm thickness – 3-part – polished 18k white or rose gold – Sapphire crystal on both sides – 30m water resistant
- Movement: PF331 – automatic – 4Hz frequency – 55h power reserve – 220 parts (32 jewels) – hours, minutes, small second, date
- Strap: Black Hermès alligator strap with matching 18k gold buckle
- References: PFC423-1201400-HA1441; PFC423-1202400-HA1441; PFC423-1601400-HA1441; PFC423-1602400-HA1441