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Perfect timing

By Sylvain Fanet, photos : Charles Roussel

In Miami, Parmigiani Fleurier is dressing for success, having opened offices and a store in two chic, high-profile neighbourhoods, the Design District and Wynwood. A superb way for the brand to put down roots in American soil.

“We walk fast around here!” laughs Maria Ruiz, though the 30°C (86°F) temperature and high humidity that prevails in this Floridian city seem not to dissuade the dynamic Design District representative to take us on a tour of this new Miami quarter. This is where, in early 2015, Parmigiani Fleurier opened its store.

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Everything in this district seems to evolve at top seed, a place that, just a few years ago, was a no man’s land far from the glitz and rabblerousing of Miami Beach. The challenge, taken up by Craig Robins and his company, Dacra, was mighty indeed: to transform this former warehouse district into a luxury showcase that would be home to a host of the world’s most prestigious brands.

This new luxury centre, where no building stands taller than the old warehouses, is already a Miami must

And though the Design District is still expanding, building (in record time) museums, luxury hotels and other public places that will give it another dimension and even more personality, the challenge seems to already have been met. This new luxury centre, where no building stands taller than the old warehouses, is already a Miami must, drawing locals, regulars and increasing numbers of tourists like a magnet with its atypical atmosphere.

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A place made all the more unique by the fact that the big-name retailers, as Maria Ruiz reminds us, have “carte blanche to colour outside the lines in designing their stores”. With palms as landmarks, we walk these streets and get the sense of being in a never-before-seen setting. It was utterly natural for Parmigiani Fleurier to set up shop in this trendy new hub, considering the watchmaker’s instinct for finding the up-and-coming corners of Miami, judging by its presence in Wynwood.

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A few blocks south of the Design District, Wynwood was also a dismal, disused area that taxis took care to avoid. Its metamorphosis, though, was jaw-dropping. Today, it is without question the American utopia of street art and contemporary creation, a neighbourhood rejuvenated by promoter Tony Goldman, famous for developing Soho in New York and whose company, Goldman Properties, owns thirty buildings and continues to reinvent Wynwood. The district’s effervescent energy peaks each December during Art Basel, the celebrated contemporary art fair that attracts visitors by the thousands. It is in this quirkily inspiring setting that Parmigiani Fleurier has opened its offices, next door to an art gallery. “With Miami as a base, we coordinate a lot of work in the United States and even in Central and South America,” says Communications and Marketing Manager Anne Jacot. The Parmigiani Wynwood offices also manage relationships with 34 retailers and organise savvily targeted events catering to a diverse Miamian clientele. And making a home in Wynwood is more than symbolic: Parmigiani has forged a very solid partnership with the Rubell Family Collection, a well-known contemporary art gallery in Miami and one of the Wynwood pioneers. An elegant way to add even greater intentionality and interest to the brand’s presence in the Florida megalopolis.