As featured on our Two Decades of Design poster, Parmigiani Fleurier is also celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Numerous new watch houses appeared following the revival in interest in mechanical watches after the mid-1980s, but Parmigiani Fleurier stood out because of its eponymous founder’s reputation. A well-kept secret in collectors’ circles, Michel Parmigiani – still only in his mid-60s – was already known as one of the finest watch- and clock-restorers in the world.
His genius is such that he was able to revive watches and automata belonging to the Sandoz collection, including pieces from the 18th century. So impressed was the organisation that it supported Parmigiani in creating his own brand. In the two decades since, Parmigiani repaid this confidence by producing some exceptional designs. Here’s our pick of five Parmigiani design milestones:Kalpa London Underground
Sold through the London boutique was this handsome version of the Kalpa with special resonance for the city’s denizens. Using the Kalpa Grande and Kalpa XL cases, the dial featured a miniature version of the London Tube map – thus, the watch became a design classic within a classic.
Writer: Ken Kessler
Parmigiani’s relationship with supercar builder Bugatti has been ongoing for over a decade and has resulted in a range of radical watch designs. Coming in 2017 is a piece to accompany the forthcoming Bugatti Chiron (the earlier models corresponding to assorted Veyrons)
In partnership with Parisian boutique Colette, Parmigiani Fleurier offered a collection of Tonda 1950 watches with dials decorated with the work of graffiti artist André Saraiva. Each watch featured either the words 'New York', 'Paris' or 'Love' on the dial
To make an already-special watch that bit more desirable, Parmigiani offered real jade dials, in white (pictured left) or black (right), for the Tonda 1950 Tourbillon. Making the jade thin enough to act as a dial wouldn’t have been a problem; the movement within is the world’s thinnest automatic flying tourbillon calibre
Working with the renowned glassmaker Lalique, Parmigiani Fleurier produced a limited edition series of clocks, using 'Day & Night' as the theme. Paying homage to René Lalique, the clocks featured a motif from the Lalique archives, realised in breathtaking crystal. Pictured: front and back views
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