Master watchmaker Michel Parmigiani, founder of Parmigiani Fleurier, turns 70 years old today, and the eponymous maison he founded in 1996 is commemorating this milestone birthday with the Toric Heritage, a limited-edition timepiece that takes its design cues, appropriately, from the first wristwatch that he ever designed.
Born in 1950 in Neuchâtel, Michel Parmigiani grew up with a devotion to both watchmaking and architecture, and the latter discipline would profoundly influence his approach to the former, which Parmigiani chose as his career. Against the advice of many peers, he established a timepiece restoration workshop in 1976, at the height of the Quartz Crisis, and quickly became known as the go-to restorer for clients such as the Patek Philippe Museum and the Sandoz Family Foundation, which encouraged Parmigiani to start his own watch brand with its full support.
The original Toric, which Parmigiani Fleurier redesigned and re-released in 2016, was the first wristwatch designed for that brand and thus the foundation of the modern collection. Like all the timepieces that make up the Parmigiani portfolio, the Toric’s case draws inspiration from the Golden Ratio, used in art and architecture to create tangibly harmonious proportions, and from its links to the Fibonacci sequence, the mathematical principle that maintains elegant balance in nature. The polished steel case, with hand-done knurling and doubly alternating gadroons, is evocative of ancient Greek columns, and the curvature of the lugs is meticulously proportioned according to the Golden Ratio.
The architectural principles are also evident in the blue dial, from the length-to-width ratio to the spatial relationships of the javelin-shaped hands. The dial is adorned with a radiating Grain d’Orge motif, an organically inspired pattern resembling the sprouting of barley — one of many examples of the Fibonacci sequence to be found in the natural world. The applied hour numerals and in 18k white gold and coated in rhodium. The date appears in a curved window at 6 o’clock.
The self-winding movement inside the Toric Heritage, manufacture Caliber PF441, also springs from the creative and technical mind of Michel Parmigiani. It is equipped with two series-connected barrels that store a power reserve of 55 hours and its balance beats at a frequency of 28,800 vph. Its haute horlogerie decorations include côtes de Genève on the plates, hand beveling on the bridges, and an engraved Grain d’Orge guilloché pattern, matching the dial’s, on the solid gold oscillating weight.
The Toric Heritage, like all Parmigiani timepieces, is the product of the five specialized ateliers that make up the Parmigiani Watchmaking Hub — from the screws to the mainspring to the dial and case. It is mounted on an alligator strap in Abyss blue, exclusively sourced from Hermès, a longtime Parmigiani partner. Retailing for $17,700, it is limited to 70 pieces — one for each year of Michel Parmigiani’s remarkable, impactful watchmaking life thus far — and available now for pre-order at the brand’s e-commerce page.