The “pleasure of dressing well,” and the return of the Parmigiani Fleurier Toric.

“True luxury is private, it’s for your own pleasure, and you get to that private luxury with maturity—not in age, but in education.” A conversation with Parmigiani Fleurier CEO Guido Terreni is itself an education: ask him about the new Toric collection and you don’t get some boilerplate CEO spiel. No, you get a thoughtful discourse on the history and evolution of menswear and watches’ place in it.

This is how the Toric and, in fact, Parmigiani under Terreni’s leadership can best be understood. In his eyes, the same principles that drive “the pleasure of dressing well,” as he puts it, apply to the kind of watches Parmigiani makes and the clientele it speaks to. Watches fit into a wardrobe, of course, but it’s also easily understood that there’s a crossover appeal in elements such as craftsmanship, quality materials, and the appreciation of details shared by those who appreciate watches or tailoring.

Terreni, however, goes deeper: he speaks to “the why.” Why do men dress the way we do? Why is now the right moment for a newly minimalist Toric? Why should a dress watch have hand-grained dial in soft, earthy tones? He places the Toric’s modern reintroduction within the historical context of “sartorialism” and, as he explains with the academic precision of a sociologist, it goes back centuries.


Terreni traces the roots of the men’s suit as we know it today to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. It came from the British bourgeoisie (middle-class), he says, in reaction to the aristocracy. “It was a class that was building its own wealth and expressing the fact that it was earning its wealth.”

Colors we take for granted today helped convey this status: “The color black was very prestigious and important because the techniques of fixing black on cloth were not very advanced at that time. After a couple of washings the black became gray so, for that reason, only the rich could wear black.”

“Black,” Terreni continues, “was then coupled with a white shirt.” And you can start to see some familiar forms emerging. “The shirt, the color white, was an expression of intellectual work in contrast to a dusty environment. So, this black-and-white outfit is the foundation of the tuxedo.”

Today, a tux is relegated to the most formal occasions: weddings, gala dinners, the Oscars. But this was the way men dressed elegantly for 150 years. Right up until the second world war, the upper classes wore a tuxedo on a daily basis for the likes of going to dinner, to the theater or visiting friends.

In the meantime, watches lived in pockets during the 19th century, hidden away except in those occasional moments when they emerged for use. Contrary to the severe nature of the monochromatic tuxedo, however, they were stylistically baroque and ornate, distinct in purpose and style from the dress of the time.

Things change, however, when the watch moves from mens’ pockets to their wrists in the early 20th century: it now needs to complement one’s outfit more deliberately. As Terreni explains it, “when the watch becomes visible, it has a white face to match the white shirt; it has gold or platinum metals; it has a glossy, elegant strap to match the glossy shoes. And it becomes the reference of masculine elegance on the wrist for basically the whole century.”

Following the second world war, the tuxedo faded from daily wear and over the decades the culture became increasingly casual with sport watches gaining popularity. “Then,” Terreni says, “there was a moment at the end of the last century, a revolution in the way that men dress. And it was a bit like the ‘Quartz Crisis’ was for the watch industry. You have a sort of Quartz Crisis for menswear.”

As watch enthusiasts know, the Quartz Crisis is the term used by the traditional watch industry for the era which peaked in the 1980s and saw highly affordable, highly accurate, mass-produced quartz watches flood the market and undercut many historic brands. What Terreni means about a “Quartz Crisis for menswear” refers to traditional menswear and tailoring being overtaken. It was replaced by “the new economy, where you start dressing like Silicon Valley entrepreneurs: very casual. You throw away your suit, you wear sneakers…you throw away your watch. Again, it’s sort of in opposition to the establishment.”

In the same way that traditional mechanical watches have rebounded to flourish following the quartz crisis, however, Terreni sees the rise of modern sartorialism in the new millennium. “It’s a younger generation that’s bringing back the pleasure of sartorialism today.”

But what exactly does that entail in a contemporary context? “It’s not formal attire: you are probably wearing a suit with a tee shirt, not with a shirt, the tie is gone, you can wear sneakers, so the colors are not severe anymore.” This happens to describe exactly how I was dressed as I spoke with him at the Watches & Wonders 2024 trade show, not that I lay claim to anything like his depth of sartorial perspective.

“And this is a customer who is refined, who is cultivated and is rediscovering the pleasure of certain things, not only in dressing, but also in watches, in cars, in nice wines. You’re not ostentating your branding, you’re not ostentating your wealth, but you’re ostentating your refinement and your personality. When you start to understand that it’s not what others are telling you to like that is cool but, rather, it’s what you like—then, you start to enter into that world of private luxury and personal choice.”

Terreni has described the modern affluent and cultivated consumer in a way perhaps beyond even how they understand their own tastes. But the question remains: “What do you put on this wrist? The answer is: a Toric.”


In the few short years since Terreni joined Parmigiani’s leadership in 2021, the brand has tightened its offerings and honed its image. Under him, the Tonda PF and Tonda PF Sport shared a minimalist aesthetic that made them instantly and enduringly fresh. They represent a category of watches sometimes known as “sports chic,” among other appellations. But joined by the reimagined Toric to fill the role of a third, dress-watch pillar of the Parmigiani catalog, a clear and focused brand identity now emerges.

Another dip into history is in order. When restorer and industry veteran Michel Parmigiani debuted his eponymous brand in 1996, his first collection was the Toric. It was the end of the Quartz Crisis and, “the public had lost a little bit of the understanding of the mechanical watch’s culture,” Terreni notes. Parmigiani wanted to make a statement on “what the tradition of a mechanical watch is about, and he chose the Toric as an artistic expression of his craft.”

Look back at variants of the Toric over the years as it’s taken different creative forms and been a vehicle for complications. The new Toric watches retain some defining features of those watches but clean up the overall design for a minimalist and distinctly contemporary feel. The differences are understated, but many elements are actually new.

In this generation of the Toric, the knurled bezel from past models remains and is, in fact, a signature across Parmigiani collections. The javelin hands that have been consistent to the collection over the years are now replaced with sleeker alpha hands. Arabic numerals are swapped for minimal indices and a cleaner overall aesthetic with negative space playing a prominent role. While many previous Toric watches had a panorama date window, the new models forgo a date display altogether offering the simplified, “no-date” look many collectors prefer.

The case itself has been subtly reimagined, as well. “On the side,” Terreni points out, “you see that the case is wider than the bezel. On the original case this wide part was in the middle, so it was vertically symmetrical. Here, we brought it upwards so you have a dynamic tension that makes it more fresh and more contemporary.”

Of course, the new time-only models are also distinguished by a small seconds subdial, as the French name Petite Seconde indicates. But the movement itself is a centerpiece of the new Toric, and it was developed especially for this watch. “It’s an adaptation of the skeleton movement which is automatic, so taking away the oscillating mass,” Terreni explains, “we wanted to make the two barrels protagonist. A desire of Michel was to have a double barrel in his base caliber.”

Turn the watch over, and you’ll note that the Toric’s tastefully minimal theme is holistic, even represented in the movement’s design. Spotlighted among the gold Côtes de Fleurier-finished bridges as well as some jewels and screws are two primary elements: the barrels and the balance. As is the case with any Parmigiani Fleurier watch, these elements are incorporated for more than aesthetic reasons, with thoughtful, masterful watchmaking behind every decision.

“Everybody thinks that a double barrel is there to store more energy, to have a bigger power reserve. It’s not the case. You can have a 60-hour power reserve even with only one barrel,” Terreni points to the movement through the caseback window as he explains. “Through his restoration work Michel discovered that a double barrel endures the life of mechanics because it releases the energy in a more constant way so that the friction on the transmission of the wheels is reduced and causes less wear.”

The bridges’ traditional decoration has also been adapted to the new Toric’s concept. “Côtes de Fleurier is a design that Michel came up with when he started the Qualité Fleurier [certification] 20 years ago. In his original design the Côtes de Fleurier were much bigger. By miniaturizing the aesthetic, you have this feeling of texture which is part of the style’s minimalism.” If you’re sartorially inclined, it might even evoke something like an argyle pattern.

The Toric Chronographe Rattrapante shares the refined theme of the Petite Seconde with the same hand-grained dial texture and other touches but is naturally more complex, both technically and visually. With its split seconds (rattrapante) functionality, the 18k rose gold movement is openworked to highlight its complexity and the finishing Parmigiani is known for. The dial’s design remains minimal but with the chronograph’s dials and hands injecting the dynamism that’s part of what makes the chronograph generally such a popular feature.

Parmigiani only released three references to relaunch the Toric. They include the chronograph and two time-only models with platinum or rose gold cases, respectively. Another feature they all share in common is the hand-grained dial, in colors of “sand gold,” “gray celadon” and “natural umber.” “Michel spent a full day explaining to the industrial side how hand-graining is done,” Terreni recalls. “It’s a way of manually brushing the dial to obtain this matte finishing.”

These colors and textures seem to reflect Terreni’s approach to sartorialism in horology. They’re understated, but they make all the difference. “Understated” is a word he returned to frequently. But most importantly, he emphasizes the appreciation of details in fine menswear or watchmaking on an individual level.

With the new Toric collection, he aims to speak to consumers at what he calls a “tipping moment,” a sort of epiphany about their own tastes and confidence. “That is what we’re looking for,” he says. “When you discover that what is cool is what you really live for and what you really like. It’s a moment when you free yourself from the consumerist approach to luxury.”


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