Michael Parmigiani said, “When I was little, my father would say to me, ‘If you learn to look, art will reveal itself,’ and this has always stayed with me. Art is all around us; it is in nature, in the harmony of its proportions, and in the attention paid to each detail. A world of wonders is unveiled to those who have learned how to look.”
Art and design have always looked to nature for inspiration – and the world of fine watchmaking is no exception. The natural world provides a lavish palette of shapes, colors, and textures, but translating nature’s beauty into harmonious design remains the master watchmaker’s great challenge. Through careful study of the natural world and applying the mathematical constructs that underlie nature’s beauty to high horology, Parmigiani Fleurier has created its exceptional line of Toric watches.
Though art and science may seem like strange companions, it is through the language of mathematics that nature whispers its secrets. First described to enumerate patterns in Sanskrit poetry in India over 2000 years ago, a simple mathematical sequence underlies a surprising array of patterns in nature that our eyes find beautiful to behold. Today, this pattern is known as Fibonacci’s sequence after the Italian mathematician that introduced the concept to the Western world in the early 13th century. The sequence is simple, as each number is the sum of the two previous: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, etc.
Visually, this sequence is represented by the Fibonacci spiral and the manifestations of this simple sequence are omnipresent in the natural world – from the shape of a nautilus shell to the branching of trees and even to the proportions of the human face. But the Fibonacci sequence holds another secret – by dividing a number in the sequence by the preceding value, a universal number gradually emerges – 1.618 – otherwise known as the Golden Ratio.
All Parmigiani Fleurier’s timepieces employ the golden ratio, allowing nature to be the guiding force in its watch design. After all, there must be something to a ratio that can be found in everything from the resonance of subatomic particles to the arrangement of galaxies. From the length of the relationship between the hands on the dial to the curvature of the lugs to the placement of the sapphire crystal, all elements in the design of Parmigiani Fleurier watches embrace this divine proportion.
While the golden ratio provides the blueprint for proportion and the foundation for design, the creation of a Parmigiani Fleurier timepiece requires artistry and know-how acquired by a lifetime of dedication to horology. The Toric line epitomizes Parmigiani Fleurier’s approach to watchmaking, marrying luxurious, timeless design with consummate artisanship. Exemplifying this ethos, the Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Chronometre ($22,300 USD) revisits Michel Parmigiani’s first design but features a dial with a guilloché decoration that mimics the spiraling natural lines of a pine cone (just one of the many uses of the Golden Ratio in its design). Housed in a 40.8mm white or red-gold case, the Chronometre features the Toric line’s iconic knurled bezel.
Inspired by the bases of ancient Greek columns, the concentric relief pattern plays with the light and draws the eye inward toward the dial. The knurling process is so intricate and delicate that it takes a lifetime to master – in fact, a single artisan applies the knurling by hand to each and every Toric timepiece. Though clearly beautiful to behold, beneath the surface beats the in-house calibre PF441. This COSC-certified automatic movement features two series-coupled barrels for exceptional rate regularity and a 55-hour power reserve. Beating at 28.8kbph and featuring hours, minutes, seconds, and date functionality, the 220-component movement is finished with a beveled and circular-grained main plate, Côtes de Genève decoration on the bridges, and a solid gold oscillating weight. The embodiment of Haute Horologerie.
Sharing many of the design features that define the line, the Toric Tourbillon ($130,000 USD) takes Parmigiani Fleurier’s Toric line to new heights. Featuring an 18k red-gold 42.8mm case with a svelte case height of only 9.45mm, the tourbillon showcases the familiar guilloché dial with golden Arabic indices and knurled bezel of the Chronometre, but its crown jewel is the tourbillon on full display at 7 o’clock. The calibre PF517 in-house automatic movement comprises a platinum micro-rotor, Côtes de Genève decoration on the bridges, and a flying tourbillon integrated into the movement’s main plate, making the movement exceptionally thin at only 3.4mm.
The Toric Hémisphères Rétrograde ($29,700 USD) is Parmigiani Fleurier’s take on the ultimate traveler’s watch and judging by the fact that it won first prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève in 2017 in the Travel Time category, it seems Parmigiani Fleurier is not alone in the belief that the Hémisphères Rétrograde is an incredible and elegant travel companion. After Parmigiani Fleurier’s restoration workshop brought back to life a pocket watch containing two movements within one case, each responsible for its own time zone, Michel Parmigiani was inspired to create calibre PF317, a movement that allows a single calibre to control two independent time zones through a module indexed to the main movement. Featuring the familiar guilloché dial, the Hémisphères Rétrograde adds several new complications to the mix, including a retrograde pointer date, main time zone day/night indicator at 6 o’clock, and a second time zone indicator at 12 o’clock that can be adjusted independently from the primary time, allowing the second time zone to be accurate to the nearest minute. These incredible complications are all housed within an elegant 42.8mm 18k rose-gold case.
Clearly, Parmigiani Fleurier is no stranger to complications. In the Toric Quantieme Perpetuel Retrograde ($64,100 USD), Parmigiani Fleurier brilliantly executes one of horology’s finest complications, the perpetual calendar. Beyond the complications typically associated with a perpetual calendar – day, date, and month all regulated to account for the number of days in each month and leap years – the Toric Quantieme Perpetuel also incorporates a moon phase function – for both the North and South hemispheres – and retrograde perpetual date. These complications are all present within a 42.5mm 18k red-gold case only 12.1mm in height. Making this feat of horological ingenuity possible is the calibre PF333 automatic movement. Like all movements in the Toric line, the PF333 is finished to the highest standards of Haute Horlogerie.
In the Toric line, Parmigiani Fleurier has captured nature’s beauty in mechanical form, allowing the divine proportion to be the guiding principle of design. To learn more about Parmigiani Fleurier’s line of Toric watches, be sure to visit the brand’s website.
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