Table of Contents
- See Also Parmigiani, Michel
Michel Parmigiani as young watchmaker
Start as watchmaker and restaurator
In 1976 Michel Parmigiani begins his career with the restoration of complex pieces of art of the Haute Horlogerie. In 1978 he is active in the production of “private label” models of renowned watch manufacturers. Among his design credits are the Chopard LUC 1.96 and LUC 3.96 movements. In 1995 he received the Gaia Award for his contributions in the field of mechanical watches.
A new manufacture emerges
The Sandoz Family Foundation offered to back Parmigiani in a new brand, investing in the new company in 1995. Launched in 1996, the watch manufacture Parmigiani Fleurier launched its first collection of fine Parmigiani timepieces, including wristwatches, pocket watches and desk clocks. In the following year 1997 Parmigiani took part in the trade show SIHH for the first time.
The first own manufacture calibre PF 110 is presented in 1998. It is a manual winding movement that has the remarkable power reserve of eight days. By 2000, Parmigiani was producing 350 watches per year, priced in the haute horology range of the market, over US$6000. But he still used elaborated off-the-shelf movements for most models, including the Zenith El Primero 400 and Venus 179.
The Mastering of the production of each watch component is made possible from about 2000 by the inclusion of the following three production units, which specialize in the areas of housing production, micromechanics and precision automat parts Bruno Affolter SA in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Atokalpa SA in Alle and Elwin SA in Moutier. Since January 2003 the artisanal and industrial pool of the manufacture, the Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier, summarizes all facets of the art of watchmaking, which are important for the successful fabrication of a wristwatch with a great tradition.
In 2001 the new in-house self-winding movement PF 331 is presented. It is used with the watch range Forma (now renamed Kalpa). The next year the self-winding movement PF 333 appears, that features a retrograde perpetual calendar.
In 2003 Parmigiani launched a line of watches in cooperation with Bugatti. The unusual calibre PF 370 Bugatti appears, the world's first movement modeled in a transversal arrangement and with a construction, which, in an amazing way, recreates a car gear. The model Bugatti Type 370, in which it is integrated, represents a true horological rarity. The extremely costly timepiece, crafted in limited numbers, can be read from the side of the wrist.
Also in 2004 the calibre PF 500 is launched, the world's first 30-seconds tourbillon with central seconds and a power reserve of seven days - and this is again a completely in-house developed and manufactured movement.
New watch ranges in the luxury segment
In 2004 the number of annually produced watches increases to 3,000, and in 2006 it is already 4,000. In the first ten years of the company already five mechanical in-house calibres with automatic or manual winding are released of the manufacture, which are now sold in the form of coveted models like the Kalpa XL Hebdomadaire, the Kalpa Automatic, the Parmigiani Toric Perpetual Calendar or the Tourbillon 30 Seconds.
Cases made of Palladium 950
Parmigiani Pershing 115 Palladium PF600094
Already in 2005 Parmigiani Fleurier evoked attention with a world first a watch made from palladium 950. This metal is as precious as platinum and even more precious than gold. (With a fineness of 950 palladium has a higher purity than gold with a fineness of 750 = 18 carat). For watchmakers it had been a mystery for a long time, because one did not know how pure palladium could be processed. Parmigiani Fleurier is pleased with the appearance of this metal and, thanks to the expertise of the house Johnson Matthey, has found the perfect alloy. Thus, the first collection in palladium was launched, a metal that is characterized not only by its hardness and its ideal plasticity, but also by the incomparable splendor.
The best-known model ranges
While at Parmigiani the name Toric stands for round models, the word Kalpa, originating from India, references to the models with the distinctive and yet supple horns there is both a tonneau shaped and a round version. About the meaning of the word According to Indian teaching Kalpa means a day of Brahma, which covers a period of 4,320 million years.
The ladies' ranges bear the Indo-Italian name Kalpa Piccola, Kalpa Donna and Kalpa Grande. In 2008 the series Kalpa Hémisphères was added, with their versions of the innovative “travel watch”, and also the range Pershing with distinctively sporty diver chronographs. All these watches are distinguished by their distinctive, elegant style as well as the consistent manufacture philosophy.
Parmigiani Fleurier SA
Rue du Temple 11
Tel. +41 (0)32 862 66 30
Fax +41 (0)32 862 66 31