Master watchmaker and restorer Michel Parmigiani unveiled his first watch in 1996, the Toric. Distinguished by its knurled bezel and harmonious proportions, the Toric was reinterpreted in a more contemporary key in 2017 with the Toric Chronomètre, and again in November 2018 with a tasteful hand-guilloché dial. The impeccable elegance of this dress watch is given yet another wardrobe update with this Pre-SIHH 2019 Toric Chronomètre model with a slate-grey guilloché dial. Apart from the different colour on the dial, the 2019 model is not covered by the Qualité Fleurier seal but another certification.
Toric or Doric? An Academic Watch
The Toric Chronomètre is much more than a simple three-hand and date watch. The amount of historical and academic references that inspired the Toric are typical of a watchmaker whose quest for aesthetic harmony and mechanical perfection have led to some of the finest watches on the market today. Ancient Greece and nature are his key sources of inspiration and Parmigiani always starts the design of his watches with the case.
The three-part 18k polished red gold case of the Toric measures 40.8mm and has a slim profile of just 9.5mm. Applying the Golden Ratio/Divine Proportion (said to have been used by Phidias to create the Parthenon and the statue of Athena), Parmigiani imbues the case with sensual curves (notice the sloping lugs) and an appealing sense of harmony and balance. By alternating smooth gadroons with the knurling on the bezel, the Toric evokes the fluted Doric columns of Ancient Greece, the distinctive knurling on the bezel of the Toric is handmade by a craftsman in the Jura – the same one who has knurled all the Toric bezels since 1997.
Knurling is rare art and consists in manipulating the material with a toothed wheel that imprints notches into the metal. Even the 6mm crown is the work has been knurled by hand. The result is a unique, stepped case that reveals its beauty in the details.
Guilloche with Infinite spirals
Once again, Parmigiani has applied the Golden Ratio and Fibonacci’s spirals on the dial, “reproducing the harmony that is everywhere in nature”. Executed entirely by hand, the rice grain guillochage mimics concentric patterns that can be found in the natural world. Be it the arrangement of scales on a pine cone, or the spiral construction of a nautilus shell, the guilloché patterns on the slate-grey add an element of refined dynamism.
Like the previous Toric Chronomètre models, the dial features applied rose gold Arabic numerals – similar to the Hindu-Arabic numerals that Fibonacci popularised in Western Europe in the 13th century – a discreet minute track and a signature triple date window at 6 o’clock. The hyper-elegant javelin-shaped hour and minute hands have a touch of luminescence in their tips and the central seconds hand features a crescent moon counterweight.
The main difference between this pre-SIHH 2019 model and the 2018 model is the substitution of the words Qualité Fleurier in the cartouche on the dial above the date window (you can read all about the exacting five stages of certification demanded by the Qualité Fleurier Seal in Xavier’s in-depth article here). The words QUALITE FLEURIER have been replaced by the word CHRONOMETRE.
Powering the Toric Chronomètre is the automatic, in-house calibre PF441, which is COSC-certified as a chronometer – another reference to its chronometry status is engraved on the red gold caseback. The former editions of the Toric Chronomètre were powered by calibre PF331 and PF331-QF respectively.
The movement for the hours, minutes, central seconds and date runs at a standard 28,800vph and, with its coupled barrels, offers a maximum power reserve of 55 hours. As we’ve come to expect from Parmigiani, the movement has been finished to a very high standard with Côtes de Genève decoration and bevelled bridges, with the highlight, of course, being the solid gold rotor. Using hand-guilloché, the rotor is decoration with a barley grain pattern.
The Toric Chronomètre with a slate-grey guilloché dial comes with a tan coloured alligator strap made for the brand by Hermès with a red gold ardillon buckle. The price has not been officially announced, but expect around EUR 20,000. For more information, please consult www.parmigiani.com.