"Knowledge of watchmaking history and the ability to restore antique pieces are a major asset for a Haute Horlogerie workshop. At Parmigiani Fleurier, restoration has never ceased to be the soul of the brand."Michel Parmigiani
Michel Parmigiani was born on 2 December 1950 in Couvet, in the Canton of Neuchâtel. When it came to choosing his future career, he was torn between watchmaking and architecture, two disciplines that hold technical and creative aspects in common. But there was a sense of mystery about watchmaking that convinced him to make it his career. Michel Parmigiani completed his basic studies by specialising in restoration – a field reserved for the best and most skilled watchmakers.
He set up his own company in 1976 when he opened a workshop primarily dedicated to restoration. Going against the tide and in spite of the quartz crisis wreaking havoc on the watchmaking scene, Michel Parmigiani began his entrepreneurial journey. "When one has worked on as many wonders of the past as I was lucky enough to do, it was simply impossible to believe that traditional watchmaking would die out" he said, many years later. It was restoration that gave him the confidence to pursue his watchmaking dreams, despite others saying they were doomed.
Michel Parmigiani developed a method of restoration that became his work ethic. His outstanding watchmaking skills were constantly improved by the lessons learnt from every piece he restored, and he began to make a name for himself amongst watch museums and collectors who sought out his talents. In the 1980s, he was assigned the task of maintaining the inestimably valuable Maurice-Yves Sandoz collection. It was in this capacity that he met Pierre Landolt, president of the Sandoz Family Foundation, whose admiration and trust would sow the seeds for the incredible watchmaking adventure that continues to unfold to this day. In 1996, Michel Parmigiani acquired the production means and resources to create a brand that would bear his own name.
On 29 May 1996, Parmigiani Fleurier was officially launched under its first name, "Parmigiani Mesure et Art du Temps". The brand laid claim to a rich range of watchmaking skills and artisanal processes; true to the talent of its founder and the quest for excellence that he learnt from restoration.