Over the course of its 25 years, Parmigiani Fleurier has achieved several world firsts. Prestigious and requiring technical excellence, these feats say a great deal about the potential of Parmigiani Fleurier’s manufacture.
Bugatti Type 370
An absolute world first with its transverse movement, the Bugatti Type 370 watch launched in 2004 completely revolutionized the way of understanding a mechanical watch.
Its design is a tribute to the inventiveness of Ettore Bugatti and the unique aesthetic of his cars.
The creation of this timepiece arose from a revolutionary idea: inventing a wrist-born motor unit that indicates the time as an auxiliary function. Inspired by motor vehicle technology and housed in an 18 ct white gold case completed with six sapphire glasses, the mechanism made of 337 components has its five main plates, bridges and constituent parts set on a horizontal axis parallel to the wrist rather than vertically.
It has been built to reveal the movement’s life like a car’s engine, while the dial has been positioned on the side, allowing its wearer to read the time while driving. An ingenious movement winding system had to be specially designed for the watch, which could not take a conventional crown.
Using a “starter” tool, the user can set the watch’s time or recharge the movement, with an extraordinary life of 10 days, by means of the two winding stems built into the case-back.
The Bugatti 370 required 5 years to be completed.
Tonda Chronor Anniversaire
To mark its 20th anniversary in 2016, Parmigiani Fleurier unveiled a world premiere: the Tonda Chronor Anniversaire with a high frequency integrated split-second chronograph movement, a feat of watchmaking that very few of today’s manufactures are capable of achieving, made entirely of gold.
An integrated chronograph is the Holy Grail for a watch manufacture, as it is one of the complications requiring the most skill to create on an industrial scale.
The chronograph relies on kinematics with a chain of actions, each one determining and triggering the next, and each sequence precisely synchronised and adjusted.
Even the tiniest imperfection has a domino effect, travelling down the line disrupting the entire movement.
The challenge for this chronograph was the following: no additional module. Each element had to be integrated to the movement and restricted to a single main plate.
The creators started with a blank sheet and after a careful research and development stage, they drew up and optimized the first integrated chronograph of the Parmigiani Fleurier manufacture.
This manually-wound movement includes a chronograph, a split-second function and a large date, all on the same main plate. The PF361 movement encloses many cutting edge developments designed to increase its reliability which are the demonstration of a watchmaking industry at the height of its talents.
Prestigious and requiring technical excellence, the integrated chronograph says a great deal about the potential of Parmigiani Fleurier’s manufacture. It harks back to the watchmaking expertise that enabled its creation; it reminds us that a manufacturing process is truly exceptional when it employs years of accumulated knowledge. It paves the way towards an era when the watchmaker, the technician and the craftsman all walk side by side.
The world premiere Tonda Chronor Anniversaire was awarded the Chronograph Watch Prize at the GPHG in 2017.
Toric Hémisphères Rétrograde
The Toric Hémisphères Rétrograde is the ultimate traveller’s timepiece. With its two time zones, it allows any two locations to be paired, and correct to the nearest minute. It even allows those locations with a half-hour or quarter-hour difference to be paired with full hour times set from the Greenwich meridian.
Featuring a knurled bezel, the signature feature of the Toric family, the case of this timepiece was the first creation designed by Michel Parmigiani in 1996.
It was a restored piece that inspired Parmigiani Fleurier to add the GMT complication to its collection.
Parmigiani Fleurier’s restoration workshops had been entrusted with a pocket watch containing two movements inside one case, each responsible for its own time zone.
This sparked a desire to create a timepiece that incorporated the same accuracy of display in the reduced space of a watch case too small to house two separate movements.
Michel Parmigiani found an elegant solution to this limitation by constructing a single calibre that controls two time zones, each accurate to the nearest minute.
The Tonda Hémisphères released by Parmigiani Fleurier in 2010 was a world first. In 2017, the brand extended this exceptional movement to the Toric collection, its founding model, to add a dimension of travel to its elegant and timeless aesthetics.
The Toric Hémisphères Rétrograde is available with a rose gold case paired with a grained white dial. On the back of the piece, the movement is entirely decorated with Côtes de Genève and circular-grained to the highest Haute Horlogerie standards. It incorporates an 18 ct rose gold guilloché oscillating weight to add a prestigious touch befitting of a timepiece dedicated to travel.
The world premiere Toric Hémisphères Rétrograde was awarded the Travel Time Watch Prize at the GPHG in 2017.
Tonda Hijri Perpetual Calendar
In 2020, Parmigiani Fleurier presented a world premiere, its very first Tonda Hijri Perpetual Calendar wristwatch.
The new calendar is based on technology Parmigiani Fleurier developed for an exclusive table clock launched in 2011 and inspired by the restoration of a pocket watch featuring an Arabic calendar.
For the first time in Parmigiani Fleurier’s history, the Tonda Hijri Perpetual Calendar complication is made available in a wristwatch.
In the Muslim world, the calendar is based on the cycles of the moon. The Hijri or Islamic lunar calendar consists of twelve months of 29 or 30 days – depending on the moon phase- and is used to pinpoint the days for Islamic holidays.
In contrast to the solar calendar, which is used in the West, the months of the lunar calendar change annually by a difference of -10 to -12 days. As a result, each month always falls on a different season and therefore varies from the Gregorian Calendar.
The Tonda Hijri Perpetual Calendar features a 44.5 mm timepiece with a platinum case, a slate dial and rotor in platinum. It shows the hours and minutes, and date in Arabic numerals, the name and length of the months in Arabic calligraphy, as well as the abundant and the common years. It also features a moon phase in an aventurine sky and a power reserve of up to 48 hours.
As seen in all Parmigiani timepieces, every single component of the movement, even the hidden parts, are decorated by in-house specialists. No components were made of gold.
This world premiere was awarded the Innovation Prize at the GPHG in 2020.
2022 Watches & Wonders World Premiere
Parmigiani Fleurier will present its new World Premiere during W&W.