What It Takes To Create A Parmigiani Fleurier Timepiece
For a relatively young watch brand—22 years old to be exact—Parmigiani Fleurier has built a reputation for high‑quality watches that many would expect of a long-established name. But age is nothing but a number as the brand proves that a long history, while venerated by the watch industry, isn’t necessarily a must in the equation of success.
Given the leadership of Michel Parmigiani, a master watchmaker who began his career as a restorer of antique clocks and watches in the 1970s, one can see why Parmigiani Fleurier has speedily attained what it has now. Under his direction, the brand has honed a resolute dedication to quality in every aspect of fine watchmaking, which not only resulted in many brilliant and beautiful timepieces, but also contributed to a watchmaking certification that has raised quality standards in the industry by quite a few notches.
Certification, as any card-carrying watch collector would know, is everything in haute horlogerie. While the COSC-certification and Geneva Seal are currently the most common in watchmaking—the former for accuracy and the latter for aesthetic quality—there actually exists many other standards that various watch brands have created to address additional aspects of the quality of a timepiece.
Most certifications assess the movement of a watch. Few look at its aesthetic aspects, and even fewer take into consideration the piece as a whole. That is why the Qualité Fleurier, which examines the decorative craftsmanship as well as tests the movement and operating reliability of a watch, stands apart from the rest and has quickly gained traction as one of the most stringent certifications in the watch industry.
There is also concern about the fact that many certifications have been developed by brands exclusively for their own watches, which undeniably places doubt on the objectivity of their standards. The Qualité Fleurier, co-created by Parmigiani Fleurier in 2004 with Chopard, Bovet and high-end movement manufacture, Vaucher, is available to all market players. It is therefore not just a comprehensive watch certification, but an impartial one at that.
A watch must pass five complementary criteria in order to attain the Qualité Fleurier. First of all, it must be entirely produced in Switzerland. Then, its movement needs to pass chronometer testing at COSC and also the Chronofiable test at an independent lab, which evaluates shocks, wear, water and magnetism resistance.
The craftsmanship of every component is examined in detail to ensure a high level of decorative value and quality, and that it doesn’t compromise the watch’s technical reliability.
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Finally, the watch spends 24 hours in the Fleuritest, the only machine of its kind in the watchmaking world. This computer-controlled simulator makes movements that precisely mimic ordinary day-to-day activities and measures the watch’s accuracy with tolerances of between 0 and +5sec per day, making it one of the most demanding testing devices in existence.
If you are looking for a Qualité Fleurier piece at Parmigiani Fleurier, you will find them in the three emblematic collections of the brand: Tonda, Toric and Kalpa. And while the certification is limited to these exclusive lines of watches, it represents the gold standard of quality for all Parmigiani Fleurier creations. Clearly, this is a brand that is brave enough to accept its own challenges.