Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Chronometre

Angus Davies gets hands-on with the gorgeous Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Chronometre, a glorious timepiece featuring a COSC certified movement.

This detailed review of the Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Chronometre

Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Chronomètre

By taking a reflective look at the past, you sometimes discover forgotten gems. The first watch designed by Michel Parmigiani, the Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Chronometre, was unveiled in 1996. Its purpose was clear, to impart the hours, minutes and date. There were no superfluous details, just an obvious clarity of purpose. This seemingly simple timepiece continues to shine brilliantly like a precious stone.

In 2017, at SIHH, Parmigiani Fleurier unveiled a new interpretation of the original 1996 watch, reminding us all of the former inaugural timepiece from the maison and its relevance some 20+ years since launch. However, while the young Toric Chronomètre shares some of the design language of its older sibling, there are distinct differences with this new model.

The dial

The dial is available in black opaline or with a white grained finish. My press sample was delivered with a deep, brooding black dial.

Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Chronomètre

Below noon, the Parmigiani Fleurier nomen is presented in an oval frame, demonstrating this manufacture is clearly proud of its revered name.

The spear-like hour and minute hands, termed Javelin hands, eloquently articulate the time. Their angular tips are lined with luminescent coating and their plump profiles unequivocally express meaning.

The Arabic numerals provide clarity and ease of read-off, while the font selected brims with style. The central sweep seconds hand features a crescent-shaped counterweight and interfaces with a notably clean chapter ring. There is no hint of ambiguity with this dial, everything is clear.

Concluding the masterful dialscape is a date display. However, unlike the 1996 model which presented the date at noon via a standard-sized aperture, this latest Toric Chronomètre presents the date via an open-date window, employing black numerals on a cream disc.

The case

The three-part round case is delivered in 18-carat red gold, albeit a white gold variant is also offered. I make no secret that I find the red gold option delightful with its warm, autumnal hues.

Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Chronomètre

Adorning the 40.8mm diameter case is a knurled bezel. The knurling is performed by the only craftsman in Val-de-Travers to possess the skill necessary to execute the attractive motif. Indeed, this talented artisan has been working with Michel Parmigiani since 1996.

The case-band and lugs are beautifully proportioned, while the arrangement of the stepped bezel is said to have been inspired by Doric columns.

Gracing the right hand flank of the case, the fluted crown is, once again, said to be influenced by Doric columns. However, beyond the obvious style of the crown, practicality is assured with ease of manipulation conferred and no annoying abrasions imparted to the skin.

Much of the value of a Parmigiani Fleurier timepiece can be attributed to the movement and the Toric Chronomètre proves to be no exception. It is, therefore, pleasing that the case features an exhibition case-back revealing the self-winding manufacture movement beating within.

The movement

A total of 220 components collaborate to deliver precision timekeeping. Indeed, the watch is a certified chronometer (COSC).

Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Chronomètre

The variable inertia balance oscillates to a frequency of 28,800 VpH (4Hz) and features masselottes in-board, mitigating turbulence and aiding precision. The benefits of an inertia balance include stability, greater shock resistance and less sensitivity to wrist position.

Peerless finishing is a key attribute of any Parmigiani timepiece. The bridges are exquisitely polished and feature the purest Côtes de Genève motif. Beneath the balance wheel the sweetest petit perlage can be seen, a mouthwatering treat for any purist’s eyes.

The jewel and screw sinks are polished to a brilliant gleam and the 22-carat gold oscillating mass is adorned with Grain d’orge motif.

Twin, series-coupled barrels collaborate to deliver 55 hours autonomy.

Closing remarks

The Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Chronometre is blessed with a sublime dial which presents the essentials of time in an uncluttered and simple to digest form. Moreover, with this model, Parmigiani Fleurier delivers an abundance of style in a tastefully understated way.

A beautiful silhouette identifies the Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Chronometre as special. Its profile is heavily inspired by Doric columns and the proportional prowess of the Vitruvian man. Each detail is distilled to perfection. The crown implores the wearer to fondle its fluted form and note the 20 grooves which encircle its surface.

Wearer comfort is excellent, courtesy of the modest case dimensions. Nothing feels cumbersome or unwieldy.

The movement, the PF331, is delightfully executed and technically excellent. Gorgeous finishing, much imparted by deft hand, sits alongside technical virtue. The variable inertia balance grants an array of benefits, helping Parmigiani Fleurier achieve the impressive chronometer certification.

In summary, this is a spectacular watch worthy of the Toric Chronomètre name, a name which began life in 1996 and has since spawned an array of dazzling timepieces bearing the Parmigiani Fleurier moniker.  

Technical specifications

• Model: Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Chronometre

Case: 18-carat red gold; diameter 40.8mm; height 9.5mm; sapphire crystal to front and caseback; water resistant to 3 ATM (30 metres).

• Functions: Hours; minutes; central sweep seconds; date

• Movement: PF331; Self-winding movement; frequency 28,800 VpH (4Hz); 32 jewels; power reserve 55 hours; 220 components.

• Strap: Black Hermès alligator strap with pin-buckle

• Price: £14,800 (RRP as at 15.8.2017)

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