Michel Parmigiani TALKS ‘Parmigiani Fleurier’
Restoring and Sculpting Time To Precision
From the Couvet region of Switzerland where the renowned pioneers of watchmaking began, it was from those traditional craftsmen that inspired the career of Michel Parmigiani. — By Bernice Chez Noel
Switzerland greeted us with a reflective shimmering portrait on the face of lake Geneva. As the driver pried us away from our lakeside hotel and we embarked on our journey to Fleurier, the surrounding beauty nestled in the majestic backdrop of the Alps draped in thick green forest that faded into endless carpets of lush pasture punctuated by grazing bovines and traditional timeless buildings. A picture forever framed in our memory. The road to Fleurier was a confirmation of Lake Geneva’s beauty. As we passed silently over small brooks, creeks and rivers getting closer and closer to Fleurier, the winding road revealed a timeless bounty of lush emerald green pastures with grazing cows, sturdy ageing cubed stone buildings, and churches etched with clear medieval traditions.
We arrived early, as planned by our gracious hosts Caroline Pita and Ann, and were rewarded with a visit to a local eatery. We enjoyed a local traditional meal, which takes the beef, from those contented grazing cows, and cures the meat with seasoning and wine for several weeks. The result is highly tender, nutritious, uncooked meat — that alone would bring me back to Switzerland time and time again. After Lunch, our tour of the Parmigiani Fleurier factory and meeting with legendary watchmaker and restorer of traditional timepieces, Michel Parmigiani, President and Founder, began.
From the Couvet region of Switzerland where the renowned pioneers of watchmaking began, it was those traditional craftsmen that inspired the career of Michel Parmigiani.
“From extensive history in restoration work”, explains Michel, “Parmigiani Fleurier was born”. The partnership between Bugatti and Parmigiani Fleurier exhibits the classic confidence of a pedigreed racehorse unrivalled in speed, time, and design. The partnership has produced a handful of marvellous engineering, and precision watches. The collaboration between cars and watches, the merging of mechanics and design, the epitome of enduring quality, and luxury from the 6 Parmigiani collections — The Bugatti amalgamation produced some unique, innovative, inspirational timepieces. The latest model Bugatti Aerolithe, a traditional chronograph, places you in the classic Bugatti of the 30s, the black face etched with the classic Bugatti colours of red and blue, along with the double ringed tachometer depicting both mph as well as kmh, and of course the signature lugs which imitate the classic lines of this iconic car.
Taking into account the concept Mr. Parmigiani uses to hold his craftsmanship accountable, is only one principle he follows when designing luxury watches — The Golden Ratio. The creations that follow are artistic expressions of technology based on the simple yet detailed observations of nature’s proportions, harmony, as well as mathematical and historical aspects all channeled through this vision.
Parmigiani Fleurier is about creating lavish timepieces that push the envelope of sports luxury accessories for the discerning customer. Parmigiani expresses, “beauty in mathematics is as beautiful as harmony and nature, translating to perfection. Producing watches in small runs ensures quality throughout the company, creating new technologies distinct from other collections”.
Manufacturing 5 major components of watch-making production — thus the inspiration, the creation, the technology, the production, the modification — all components under one brand, from dial to case and everything in between.
The production of these timepieces are truly remarkable. The machinery and their operators are synchronised, each machine forging out every watch component with absolute precision. A tour of the factory was as synchronised as the timepieces they produce. The atmosphere was one of professional dedication mixed with focus and positivity.
And, as if in synchrony with this luxury timepiece, the lush environment that surrounds the manufacturing complex seemed in harmony with the facility.
The sunrise framed Lake Geneva in a pool of shimmering crimson. The crisp mountain air, the damp deep emerald fields that had the rapt attention of the many grazing cows, the endless winding roads shadowed by the Alps, the imposing silent grey sentinels with evergreen trim, and lush grassy fields paved the way to our destination — Fleurier.
The buildings, the church, the factory – there was a quiet dignity, a sense of enduring tradition with authentic preservation, calling to mind the Swiss traditional craftsmanship of Parmigiani Fleurier.