Three Times A Toric: Is Parmigiani’s First Model Also Its Best?
by Martin Green
Rule number one of writing: never start with the conclusion: always encourage the reader to continue all the way through the text to the grande finale.
Forget about that in this case, though, as I personally still consider the Toric, the watch with which Michel Parmigiani debuted his brand back in 2006, also his best.
The question “why?” is far more difficult, and interesting, to answer than my conclusion anyway.
In all honesty, I think it is because the Toric was, and is, perfectly proportioned with just the right dash of eccentricity incorporated into its design. With that, I am referring to its stepped, coin-edge bezel in combination with the unique hand shape.
These might be details, but they contribute significantly to the Toric’s unique character. For me the Toric has also always been a gentleman’s watch, one that you buy for your own enjoyment rather than to impress others. People will be impressed, but first and foremost by the way that it is made rather than by the appeal of a well-known brand name.
Perhaps not so gentlemanly is my strong preference for the pink gold versions of these watches with slate dial. Combined with the brown strap, they provide such a rich combination of color and texture that they warm and satisfy me like a cup of hot chocolate on a cold winter day at Angelina in Paris: rich but not an overindulgence.
When we look at the Toric Chronomètre – the original model Parmigiani launched a revised version of earlier this year – I find the extended date window contributes a lot to this.
An extended date is usually a feature on sports watches so that the date can still be seen when thick hands block the date window. The Toric doesn’t have this problem, yet the larger date window plays an important role in giving the watch a dynamic dash and preventing it from becoming overly classic.
The slate color of the dial both goes perfectly with the pink gold of the case and makes the guilloche motif extra appealing.
That proportions are essential for Parmigiani is also evident in the Toric Chronomètre’s case diameter, which is 40.8 mm. Not 40, not 41, but 40.8 mm because that is perfect.
While it makes quite an impression on the wrist, it is not a very thick watch, with a modest height of just 9.4 mm. The Toric Chronomètre could have been made even thinner as it is powered by automatic Caliber PF441-cosc, which has a height of 3.7 mm, but some thickness is also needed for the coin edge bezel to fully unfold.
Besides, this also allowed Parmigiani to make sure that the hands are not placed too close to the dial, giving it more sense of space, which in return amplifies the mesmerizing character of the barleycorn guilloche pattern even further.
Maintaining purity of design with complications
When you have such a strong and pure design as the Toric, adding complications is surely one of the most challenging tasks. How do you ensure that those complications add to the appeal of the watch, not take away from it?
Parmigiani did that by not taking the conventional route. For the Toric Quantième Perpetuel Retrograde the brand’s designers opted to forgo the classic configuration of four subdials to display the perpetual calendar functions, instead opting to make the day and month visible through two windows under the horizontal axis of the dial. Quite unusual, but it works very well.
All the more so because the moon phase display is also not the traditional kind, showing the moon phase in both the northern and the southern hemispheres in a design that seems more modern than the overall design of the Toric might usually allow.
However, with this Parmigiani achieves the exact same thing as with the larger date window on the Toric Chronomètre: it makes the overall design more dynamic. The Toric Quantième Perpetuel Retrograde’s retrograde date is displayed on an arc that spans the top of the dial yet keeps a polite distance from the moon phase indicator.
This date arc not only makes visual sense with the design but is also very easy to read in combination with the small leap year indicator at 12 o’clock.
Toric, no matter where you go
The Toric Hemisphères Retrograde also has such a date arc, but here it is positioned mostly along the lower half of the watch. It also curves slightly in at the ends. A smart move, as this makes the subdial for the second time zone more of a focal point and balances out the asymmetrical effect of the day/night indicator.
Of these three Parmigainis, the Toric Hemisphères Retrograde is perhaps the most exotic looking, an impression the two crowns on the side of the case add to. They are not spaced as you would expect, but this adds something that goes beyond their functionality.
While this Parmigiani is a thoroughbred travel watch, it also makes you wish for a slower, more luxurious way of traveling – the Orient Express perhaps?
Yet like its two siblings is it not a classic watch, but rather one for a modern gentleman. This is perhaps also Parmigiani’s secret to making a watch in which time and place seem to melt together into a single creation. With the result being timelessness.
For more information, please visit www.parmigiani.com/en/watch/toric/chronometre/pfc423.
Quick Facts Parmigiani Toric Chronomètre
Case: 40.8 x 9.4 mm, pink gold
Movement: automatic Caliber PF441-cosc, 55-hour power reserve, 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency; officially certified as a C.O.SC. chronometer
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date
Quick Facts Parmigiani Toric Quantième Perpétual Retrograde
Case: 42.5 x 12.1 mm, pink gold
Movement: automatic Caliber PF333, 50-hour power reserve, 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; perpetual calendar, moon phase
Quick Facts Parmigiani Toric Hemisphères Retrograde
Case: 42.8 x 11.9 mm, pink gold
Movement: automatic Caliber PF317, 50-hour power reserve, 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; retrograde date, second time zone, day/night indicator
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It probably is, yes. Particularly the Toric Chronometre.