Parmigiani Fleurier is a relatively young brand as Swiss fine watchmaking houses go; the firm was founded in 1996, but quickly established a reputation for making very high quality watches with a distinctive design vocabulary that’s rooted in elements of Classical architecture. The first watch produced by Parmigiani Fleurier was the Toric Memory Time (which we saw in June of last year on the wrist of founder Michel Parmigiani) and in recent years, the Toric case shape has been a vehicle for both highly complicated watches, and simpler time-and-date timepieces – the latter are offered with chronometer certification from the COSC (the Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres, which is responsible for the certification of watches as chronometers in Switzerland).
The COSC is probably the best know of the Swiss certification and control programs for wristwatches, either independent or brand-administered; however there are other, one of which was established in 2004 by watchmaking firms in Fleurier, Switzerland: Chopard, Bovet, Parmigiani Fleurier, and Manufacture Vaucher. This is the Foundation Qualité Fleurier (FQF), whose certification has been used on specific models by the founding brands, and which is also open to any Swiss watchmaker (not just those headquartered in Fleurier). The FQF’s control and certification tests include certification by the COSC, but also include a battery of other tests, and Parmigiani Fleurier is now offering its Toric wristwatch with FQF certification.
The Toric family of watches are, of all Parmigiani’s collections, perhaps most strongly identified with the brand and the combination of the FQF certification with this design is a logical and attractive integration of the design with a Fleurier-centered external control – given the overall level of watchmaking at Parmigiani Fleurier, the certification is perhaps slightly a formality in certain respects but it’s still an affirmation of the horological terroir of the region, as well as symbolically important.
FQF certification consists of five requirements: two are stipulations regarding place of manufacture and quality of materials, and the remaining three are actual tests.
First, the watch must be “entirely designed, produced, assembled and tested in Switzerland, with each component accompanied by a certificate of origin. This criterion substantially exceeds the requirements of the widely used ‘Swiss Made’ label, which can be met without meaningful testing provided 60% of the watch head has been produced in Switzerland.” Second, only traditional materials may be used (plastics are forbidden). Third, the movement is certified by the COSC as a chronometer.
The fourth and fifth tests are the Chronofiable text, and the Fleuritest. The first simulates six month’s wear and tear, including manipulation of the crown and pushers (if any) as well as reliability under exposure to magnetism, moisture, and shocks. The Fleuritest is a 24 hour simulated wear test, using a unique machine that simulates the movement of a watch through the day in daily use; to pass, accuracy must be within a tolerance of 0/+5 seconds per day.
All this aside, the Toric Qualité Fleurier looks to be a very handsome watch, with a hand-engraved (not stamped) bezel and engine turned dial. It’s a watch that, at $23,500, will appeal to anyone looking for a high-grade, chronometer certified Swiss watch that’s a bit off the beaten track from the usual suspects, and which is perhaps more obviously a high-craft object than similarly priced watches from some of Parmigiani Fleurier’s competitors. If you happen to have an opportunity to see one in person, it’s worth making the time to do so – it’s been my experience that the Toric watches are much better evaluated in person than in photographs.
Brand: Parmigiani Fleurier
Model: Toric Qualité Fleurier
Reference Number: PFC422-1200100-HA1441, PFC422-1600100-HA1441
Case Material: 18k red or white gold
Dial Color: Silver; “rice grain” guilloché
Indexes: 18k rose gold
Water Resistance: 30 meters
Strap/Bracelet: Alligator strap made by Hermès
Functions: Time and date
Diameter: 11.5 ‴ (approximately 25.6mm)
Power Reserve: 55 hours
Frequency: 4 Hz (28,800 vph)
COSC Chronometer Certified and Qualité Fleurier Certified
Pricing & Availability
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