Parmigiani - Up, Up and Away!

by Ian Skellern
(c) February 2006

Parmigiani launch a new collection for women . . . and it's more than just hot air.


Parmigiani Fleurier. . . the quiet achiever.

Michel Parmigiani explaining the fine details of restoration to international press manager Marina Celliti.

As one who finds it difficult to generate much enthusiasm for typing 1000 words on why brand XYZࠡll-new alligator strap is so much better than the old crocodile one, I try to avoid press launches whenever possible.

However, when an invitation arrives from one particular brand, I am always happy to attend: that brand is Parmigiani Fleurier. Not only do they always hold interesting events, they only hold press conferences when they have something serious to announce. . . making sitting here tapping away at the keyboard a whole lot easier!

Parmigiani's headquarters in the beautiful village of Fleurier.

Limited edition from the Kalpa Qualtit順leurier collection.

Parmigiani is the quiet horse of Swiss watchmaking . . . or perhaps should I say quiet thoroughbred. They appear to have everything that a serious collector or fastidious client could possibly ask for: a genuine brand founded by a superb master-watchmaker; independence; distinctive models superbly executed and finished; watches produced in small numbers; PLUS, a vertical manufacturing capability encompassing everything from making their own movements, cases, dials and even going so far as to design and manufacture their own escapements and balance springs!

All that, yet we rarely hear about - or even discuss- Parmigiani Fleurier.

Part fabrication workshops (left) and the pristine environment where movements are assembled

But don৯ blaming yourself because Parmigiani Fleurier have been deliberately keeping their collective heads down. From the day Michel Parmigiani and The Sandoz Foundation (who provided financial backing) sat down together over ten years ago to plan a new watch brand, they had only one principle aim: to create a benchmark of Swiss watchmaking excellence.

Fancy building a Bugatti?

Toric Quanti譥 Perp鴵al R鴲ograde.

Michel Parmigiani had the skills and knowledge, the Sandoz Foundation had the money and could afford a long term view. They decided to develop a fully integrated vertical manufacturing capability, thus enabling them to manufacture every part to their own extremely high standards and not have to rely on a third parties standards of ﯤ enough͊

It took nearly ten years; however, with the announcement in 2005 that Parmigiani୯vement manufacturer Vaucher was able to commercially manufacture their own complete regulatory organ ⡬ance spring, balance wheel and anchor ࡲmigiani Fleurier felt that the moment had arrived. They were now a truly complete Swiss manufacture. Although with five in-house calibers, including the amazing Bugatti, most of us would have had no problem bestowing the title of 'manufacture' long ago.

Parmigiani joined a very exclusive club when they started manufacturing their own balance springs.

The Kalpa Grande Palladium. The precious
palladium cases are a watchmaking first.

With the groundwork now done and solid foundations in place, 2006 will be a year for Parmigiani Fleurier to celebrate and tell the world they are here and ready to take their well earned place at the very top level of haute horology.

They did sort out a couple more details to start 2006 with a bang. To increase the attraction of their watches to the better 50% of the population, Parmigiani developed a collection specifically for the ladies . . .and I mean a complete new collection, not simply a new model. They also searched, found and commissioned an innovative promotional 'tool' to both advertise and re-enforce their brand values . . . and which manages to provide a great deal of fun as well!

Click here for Part Two : Up, Up and Away!


Click here for Part Three : Five Women, Five Moments, Five Styles.

Ian Skellern - February 2006

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