Review: The New Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Petite Seconde

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The history of Parmigiani Fleurier stretches almost 30 years, to when the maison began operating in 1996. Under the leadership of Michel Parmigiani – master watchmaker, restorer, and founder of the brand – Parmigiani Fleurier strives to achieve excellence in the traditional art of mechanical watchmaking while also adding a touch of contemporaneity to its offerings. The brand’s first wristwatch is the Toric QP Retrograde, which debuted in 1996, establishing the alternating gadroons and detailed knurling that would become one of the maison’s aesthetic signatures. Though the Toric has lost some momentum in the past decade and a half or so, earlier pieces from the Toric collection are still highly coveted by connoisseurs and remain elusive, as they rarely appear in auctions. With the recent resurgence of the Tonda collection, the Toric is on the back burner and has been so for years with no new models announced – well, that is until this year.

Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Petite Seconde

The Toric is finally making a comeback in 2024, but not as a repeat of the past. This new generation of Toric watches, whilst rooted in classical horology, is relatively free-spirited in design. It aims to reflect the modern man’s wardrobe with no compromise in luxury. The new Toric collection consists of two models at the moment, one of which is a stunning high complication piece. However, it is the other model, with absolutely no complications, that’s going to be the anchor of the collection and – under the stewardship of CEO Guido Terreni – a household name. Here, we bring you the details and our honest thoughts on the Toric Petite Seconde, Parmigiani Fleurier’s new flagship men’s dress watch.

The Case, Dial, and Hands

The Toric case is inspired by Doric columns and the geometry of the torus. Its signature knurled bezel is a design element that has prevailed through the years and remains a part of the new generation. But knurled bezel aside, the newly modernised Toric case does not share too much in common with the Toric case of old. While the cases of the founding Toric watches were baroque in design, the new Toric case is minimalist in comparison. There are no protrusions or aggressive angles, but a fluid softness. Measuring a diplomatic 40.6 mm x 8.8 mm, the Toric Petite Seconde is a modern dress watch that retains an air of elegance. It is currently available in rose gold or platinum, paired with pastel-coloured, nubuck-treated alligator strap. Given the sartorial theme of timepiece, it’s no surprise to see a special sartorial stitch used for the strap. Called “punto a mano”, this stitching style is not just an aesthetic signature of the best Neapolitan tailors, but also plays a role in suit comfort.

Parmigiani Fleurier opts for the more subtle ‘punto a mano’ stitch which is rarely seen on watch straps.

The dial of the new Toric pieces, especially the Petite Seconde, has undergone a simplification process not unlike that seen in recent Tonda novelties. For one, it now features the new, simpler oval-shaped logo. For another, the decoration of choice is no longer dial-wide guilloche. Instead, the gold dial of the new Toric Petite Seconde is finished with meticulous traditional graining techniques, resulting in a fine-textured matte surface. The finish is achieved by careful application of a unique paste composed of cream of tartar, crushed sea salt, silver, and demineralised water. Post-application, the dial is hand-brushed to achieve its soft look. The dial is topped with minimalist hands and appliques rendered in gold. But that’s not all. Much like wristwatches from the 60s, the Toric dial is not flat but bevelled. Its edges drop to match the inner contour of the case, ultimately creating a desirable neo-vintage aesthetic that has become somewhat of a trend in recent times.

The polished edges, hands and appliques contrast beautifully with the soft and warm surface of the dial.

The Movement

Driving the new Toric Petite Seconde is the 27-jewel, 157-part Calibre PF780. Visible through the sapphire crystal case back are three large expanses in rose gold that serve as bridges. Much of the movement is obscured by them except for the two barrels and the regulating organ. The hand-wound movement has a power reserve of 60 hours and operates at a modern 4 Hz frequency.

The Calibre PF780 as seen through the sapphire crystal case back.

The finissage on the Calibre PF780 is superb. Rose gold bridges are as captivating as they are rare. Here, they are decorated with Côtes de Fleurier, with edges bevelled and polished to perfection. The cocks supporting the barrels and the balance bridge are openworked and mirror polished to a sheen. All types of angles including outward and inward angles can be found. The heads of the screws securing the aforementioned cocks and bridges are also mirror polished. Everything is set in front of a backdrop that is the sandblasted gold base plate.

The snailed mainspring barrels stand out amidst the rose gold bridges and base plate.

The Competitive Landscape

The men’s dress watch category in fine watchmaking is highly competitive. Patek Philippe has the Calatrava, A. Lange & Söhne has the Saxonia, Vacheron Constantin has the Patrimony – so where does the Toric Petite Seconde sit? It certainly isn’t trying to be another classic dress watch. But, in line with the new direction taken by Parmgiani Fleurier, it is staking its claim as the contemporary dress watch to aspire to. The Toric Petite Seconde does not lack identity despite its new minimalist inclination. It will only be a matter of time before it is recognised as a household name – so long as the brand maintains its current upward trajectory. Available in September 2024 and onwards, the Toric Petite Seconde comes in rose gold/green celadon and platinum/sand gold variations at CHF45,000 and CHF52,000, respectively.

At 40.6 mm x 8.8 mm, the Toric Petite Seconde was always going to be a great fit for most wrists. The short lugs mean the watch also wears smaller than the numbers suggest.

As far as contemporary dress watches go, your best bet is to look to independents if you want the cream of the crop. And it doesn’t get much creamier than the Voutilainen Vingt-8. First appearing in 2011, the Vingt-8 has always been known for two things: its absurd finishing, and the many unique dials it’s been fitted with. The example in the photograph below is a variation with a more conservative black grand feu enamel dial. Flip the watch over to its back and you’ll find a hand-wound movement with gold-plated German silver plates. Voutilainen takes movement finissage to a whole other level. A look through the sapphire crystal case back is all it takes to understand – there are fewer than a dozen brands out there capable of the level of craftmanship deliberated into a Voutilainen timepiece. And of course, such excellence comes at a price; this particular Vingt-8 was priced at CHF86,500 during SIHH 2019 when it made its debut.

Voutilainen Vingt-8 with black enamel dial

While the Vingt-8 will always have a special place in the hearts of connoisseurs, it is the Rexhep Rexhepi Chronomètre Contemporain that’s been hogging the limelight in recent times. It is not just one of the most coveted independent timepieces, it is one of the most coveted timepieces, period. As far as contemporary dress watches go, it is the Chronomètre Contemporain that currently reigns supreme. With a retail price not far off from the Toric Petite Seconde (sub CHF60,000) and craftsmanship on par with that of a – virtually unobtainable – Philippe Dufour, it is not hard to see why it was so sought after by the watch cognoscenti when it made its debut. Of course, getting your hands on one now is a different story and will require deeper pockets and/or connections.

Rexhep Rexhepi Chronomètre Contemporain

Concluding Thoughts

The first Toric watches may be icons but it is the new generation that will bring the collection back on its feet. The new Toric retains the essentials – the knurled bezel, the exceptional craftsmanship – and does without the clutter. Credit goes to the brand as well for setting strict aesthetic rules (manually wound movement, precious metal case, dial and movement only) to ensure an undiluted identity going forward. Expect new variants in other precious metals like white or yellow gold in the future.


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