The PF331 movement is produced from 220 parts and operates at 4Hz (28,800bph) with a power reserve of 55 hours. The movement is relatively slim at 3.5mm thick, and the automatic rotor is both engraved and produced from solid gold.
In typical Parmigiani fashion, the case is fitted with a very nice Hermès alligator strap and matching 18k gold buckle. The black strap is, as usual, lovely and also comfortable to wear. Though, by nature, these straps need to be replaced every few years due to wear.
My two complaints about the Parmigiani Toric Chronometre are simple. First is that while the sapphire crystal has AR-coating on the bottom, they need to have it on the top as well. Watch brands have this old notion that top-applied AR coating can easily scratch off and look bad. This is only true if the application is done incorrectly. Sapphire crystals alone are not enough. Brands need to make sure the crystals are the exact right shape, as well as properly AR-coated from both sides. New coatings and other treatments can make it very difficult to damage or scratch the AR coatings. I say all of this because I think the icing on the cake that can make many “good” watches “great” is investing the time and resources in making sure the crystal (which is almost always purchased from an outside supplier) perfect. The crystal is the window to the dial, and the dial holds the entire functional value of a watch.
Bad AR coatings or no AR coatings result in glare. Glare is when light reflects and causes the view to be obstructed or blurred. Glare is ugly, disruptive, and unluxurious. Glare (and badly sized or designed hands) should be considered an enemy and constantly fought by the powers that be in the watch industry. Again, down with glare. When you see it as a consumer, point it out, complain about it, tell brands and retailers that it is an unwanted anathema of your appreciation for timepieces. OK, rant over.
My second issue with the Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Chronometre is the price – which is a bit higher than I guessed when checking out the watch initially. It isn’t too much higher than I expected, but it seems like a bit could be knocked off to make this a much more appealing value proposition. Yes, the case is gold, and yes the movement and design are very good. With that said, I feel like the brand could shave 10%-20% off the pricing to make the Parmigiani Toric Chronometre a bit more competitive against other products that consumers might consider.
Parmigiani seems to have brands like Vacheron Constantin and Patek Philippe as benchmarks, but Parmigiani doesn’t currently enjoy their branding. I’m not saying those brands have better relationships with consumers, but rather that they have longer, and more widespread relationships with consumers. The guy who gets a Patek Philippe Calatrava dress watch is often less interested in watches and more interested in the brand. Parmigiani is, rather, competing (in my opinion) with other “watch lover” brands that are bit more niche such as Jaeger-LeCoultre, Chopard, and even Rolex’s dress watches, which are a bit more niche in their collection. When taking that into consideration, the Parmigiani option is often the most expensive (for this level of complication).
At the exact same time, it might be the case that Parmigiani’s pricing makes sense. Three-hand dress watches in 18k gold cases range in price from a few thousand dollars to probably $100,000 (for very exotic or hand-crafted models). As a watch nerd, the pricing for the Parmigiani Toric Chronometre might feel a bit off, but for other consumers surveying a larger range of the market, the just under $20,000 price of these pieces might be exactly what they intend to pay for a watch like this.
For those who like simple dials in watches with character, the Parmigiani Toric Chronometre is a fine choice. It wears well and is easy to enjoy on a regular basis. The brand comes with a lot of proud talking points, and offers a good overall ownership experience. It isn’t the Parmigiani we always think of today, but for big fans of Michel Parmigiani himself, this might be the ideal piece to get. The Parmigiani Toric Chronometre comes as the reference PFC423-1202400-HA1441 (18k white gold with white dial), PFC423-1201400-HA1441 (18k white gold with black dial), PFC423-1602400-HA1441 (18k red gold with white dial), and PFC423-1601400-HA1441 (18k red gold with black dial). Price for each is $18,500 USD. parmigiani.com