THE PARMIGIANI FLEURIER COLLECTION
Parmigiani Fleurier timepieces are divided into 5 families but share common traits which run through the entire collection. The quest for harmonious proportions based on the golden ratio so close to Michel Parmigiani's heart is reflected in the lugs on all of the watches. They also share the attention to detail and artisanal craftsmanship in every component, even the ones hidden from view. Each watch with a proprietary calibre holds Michel Parmigiani's personality and his vision of Swiss watchmaking.
Michael Parmigiani set up his own company in 1976 when he opened a workshop primarily dedicated to restoration. Michel Parmigiani developed a method of restoration that became his work ethic. His outstanding watchmaking skills were constantly improved by the lessons learnt from each piece he restored, and he began to make a name for himself amongst watch museums and collectors who sought out his talents. In the 1980s, he was entrusted the task of maintaining the inestimably valuable Maurice-Yves Sandoz collection. It was in this capacity that he met Pierre Landolt, president of the Sandoz Family Foundation, whose admiration and mconfidence in him would sow the seeds for the incredible watchmaking adventure that continues to unfold to this day. In 1996, Michel Parmigiani acquired the production means and resources to create a brand that would bear his own name.
The worst ravages of time are nothing compared to the damage inflicted by unskilled hands."Michel Parmigiani,Founder
THE RESTAURATION THE SOUL OF PARMIGIANI FLEURIERRestoring an object means returning it to its former glory. It is not about fixing it at all costs but rather restoring its original character – nothing more, nothing less. The restoration approach developed by Michel Parmigiani comprises three working steps.
Rushing to start work on an object without first assessing it is the most detrimental and unfortunately most frequent mistake made in restoration. Each restoration project undertaken by Michel Parmigiani begins with an observation stage. Evaluating the functions and the decorations, ascribing the piece to an era, comparing it with other similar works, consulting the literature – all these methods can be used by the restorer to establish a framework for analysis and prevent mistakes. A good restorer understands and situates a piece before starting work.
The second step can be likened to an immersion stage as the restorer immerses himself in a foreign era and thought process: that of the object's designers. In this delicate exercise, the restorer applies all his watchmaking knowledge to the object while casting his own judgement aside. He must understand what has been broken, modified or removed, without letting his creative side interfere. He must perform and recreate the artisanal techniques of the past, no matter what modern methods he has at his disposal.
The restorer now becomes a watchmaker and craftsman in the purest sense, reproducing the object's mechanics and aesthetics. As far as possible, the original components are kept and are rid of the ravages of time. When a component must be re-manufactured, the restorer draws up a manufacturing procedure and decides which material to use while weighing up the constraints of similarity and solidity. Finally, in keeping with the skills of the past, he reapplies the enamelling, highlights the engravings and restores the piece's original shine. After completing this long labour of love, the restorer is filled with wonder upon seeing an object, which has now recovered its original character, the one it had when its creator presented it to a king, sultan or lover of mechanical intricacy all those generations ago. To restore is to reconnect with our cultural heritage – a common thread which underlies the history of humanity.
The industrial independence of Parmigiani Fleurier has been emerging ever since the brand was founded in 1996. Michel Parmigiani learnt two key lessons in his work restoring historical objets d’art. Firstly, only true technical and aesthetic excellence stands the test of time; secondly, there is a harmony of design behind each prestigious creation that few, if any, external suppliers understand. Michel Parmigiani's pursuit of excellence was driven by these findings and opened the way for an independent manufacture with a versatile and high-quality approach to watchmaking.