Below CEO Guido Terreni, Parmigiani Fleurier is on a roll. After a few years of lovers pondering the query, “With all that they’ve going for them, why hasn’t PF achieved breakthrough success?” the model has now launched a string of winners and appears to have constructed a stable basis for continued prosperity.
How did they do it? “Higher product” is the apparent and simplistic reply, however clearly there was an incredible deal that needed to occur behind the scenes to push Parmigiani excessive.
Over the previous weeks, I’ve had the nice alternative to probe PF’s current successes extra deeply throughout two conversations with Mr. Terreni: the primary an open-ended dialogue throughout his current go to to the West Coast, and the second a extra structured interplay whereas serving as a panel participant for Terreni’s keynote session at Watches and Wonders 2023.
I instructed them so
Earlier than entering into these conversations in additional element, let’s take a step again to this time in 2017, after I supplied a very unsolicited prognosis in Collector’s View: Parmigiani Ovale Pantographe On The Wrist And What It Tells Us About Parmigiani in regards to the model’s points, and advised actions to handle them.
The issues as I noticed them:
- Too many notes: a scattered product line with no clear heart of gravity
- Product-based considering: technically primarily based creation unlinked to a transparent view of the supposed buyer’s wishes
- One of many crowd: a failure to transform PF’s many belongings into a particular level of differentiation from opponents’ choices
And my (admittedly considerably high-level) prescriptions:
- Play to win: choose the one or two (not 5 or ten) methods through which you will be completely different, and higher, than opponents to your supposed clients, and go all in on these
- Turn out to be storytellers: first, inform the tales of your clients’ identities and aspirations and make it clear the way you match; second, stress how PF attracts on its traditions in restoration and the historic timepieces in its treasure trove
- Focus and win: slash the product line again to at least one or two core strains that function North Stars to your identification
- Design, design, design: refresh Parmigiani’s appear and feel and current a coherent set of visible cues throughout the road
Seeing and doing are two various things
I realized a very long time in the past that I don’t possess distinctive powers of discernment; I’m fairly certain that many observers, each outdoors and inside Parmigiani, noticed a minimum of a few of these points and regarded potential options. How did Terreni shortly attain his personal prognosis and take decisive motion?
Instantly upon taking cost on January 26, 2001, Terreni stopped all improvement on deliberate future introductions and began asking his new colleagues some easy sounding, however demanding, questions:
- Who’s our consumer?
- What are our values as a model?
- What are our design codes?
Of those, Terreni felt that the query of “whom will we wish to serve” was essentially the most urgent to reply first, and after contemplating the views of his colleagues arrived at a view of what he calls the “non-ostentatious, non-homologated” consumer: somebody who’s subtle and personal, but has confidence in their very own tastes and doesn’t really feel compelled by standard knowledge.
With that basis, Terreni then thought-about Parmigiani Fleurier’s values and belongings and shortly (and accurately, for my part) selected to anchor on the values he noticed within the agency’s historical past in restoration:
- A deep historic understanding of, and appreciation for, conventional watchmaking strategies and problems
- Mastery of a number of strategies and types and the power to decide on amongst them
- A holistic view of the watch and all the pieces in it, from mainplates to palms to customized screws
- Selflessness and understatement: a realization that the watchmakers of the previous devoted themselves to creating lovely actions or elements that might probably not bear their names and that few, if any, individuals would ever see
He then turned his consideration to the agency’s design codes, asking his group to create a listing of the visible themes that make a watch a Parmigiani. After they returned with a presentation on the technical options of PF’s actions, he charged his designers with defining a easy, elegant unifying look primarily based on the Tonda line.
Some Terreni viewpoints from our first dialog:
- “I begin with design”
- “Designers work higher below strain and with tight constraints. When you enable somebody to design something, they’ll, and we don’t have time or assets for that”
- “A model is completely different from an impartial watchmaker. The impartial seeks to precise himself; a model should set up and maintain continuity in design”
- “Be keen to discard a design route that doesn’t instantly have interaction you. It’s higher to be born good than to must work at enhancing a weak begin”
- “Readability is an important factor”
When you perceive the consumer definition, values and belongings, and up to date design tips, it turns into pretty easy to grasp the watches which have come out of Parmigiani’s accelerated improvement program that started after Terreni’s preliminary 90-day evaluation.
The Tonda PF Microrotor, GMT Rattrapante, and newly launched Minute Rattrapante are all clearly members of the identical household. The themes of restraint and subtlety are evident within the openness of the dials, the micro-guilloche that seems virtually flat in some mild circumstances however pops to life in others, the straightforward oval PF medallion on the dial, the brief, skinny baton indices, and on the sophisticated watches, supplemental palms that seem and disappear on the push of a button to impart the specified data and cleverly built-in, formed pushers.
On their supple bracelets, these watches embody what Terreni calls “impeccable informality.” And in relation to understated sophistication, utilizing platinum bezels on the Tonda PF line’s metal circumstances is a kind of little luxuries that solely the wearer is prone to learn about and admire.
Not all my watch friends are fully satisfied by the open look of the Tonda PF dials, and even I desire the GMT and Minute Rattrapantes with their third palms deployed into view so as to add visible curiosity; however Parmigiani’s goal clients will, I feel, discover the up to date classicism of those watches each engaging and enduring of their attraction.
As you would possibly count on, our preliminary dialogue ranged past merchandise and design. Terreni plans to streamline distribution, transferring from 200 to 75 retailers worldwide whereas retaining an emphasis on multi-brand retail ideas comparable to shop-in-shop relatively than going the freestanding mono-brand boutique route. For a model whose supposed buyer is an impartial thinker of assorted pursuits, the multi-brand mannequin makes nice sense to me; and clearly Terreni believes that Parmigiani’s merchandise will greater than stand the problem of being in contrast with different makers’ watches.
Terreni can also be specializing in sustainability, however not as a fad; he instructed me that Parmigiani will, for example, transfer to artificial strap supplies when and in the event that they maintain the identical attract and impart the identical or higher sporting expertise than conventional pure supplies.
Parmigiani and Terreni at Watches and Wonders 2023
I’ve already talked about the Tonda PF Minute Rattrapante, one among my prime two watches at this yr’s Watches and Wonders. Along with the traits it shares with the opposite Tonda PF watches developed below Torrani, it, together with the GMT Rattrapante, has the added advantage of presenting a well known small complication in a recent and stylish method.
With the GMT, it was the power to show native and residential time individually with the push of 1 button, after which snap the 2 hour palms again along with the push of one other. The Minute Rattrapante is a good more energizing tackle countdown watches comparable to pilot’s and diver’s watches, made easy.
If, for example, you’re cooking and wish to set a timer for 22 minutes, 4 pushes on a button listed to five-minute intervals and two pushes on a one-minute advance button will magically make a “goal time” hand seem and advance to precisely 22 minutes from now. Over the subsequent whereas, you possibly can look at your wrist infrequently and see the slice of time remaining slim, and when the operating minute hand “catches up” (as a pal famous, the true translation of “rattrapante”) with the goal hand, your meals ought to be prepared.
When you let the pot boil a bit longer, you’ll have the ability to see by the widening slice of dial between the 2 palms how a lot additional time has elapsed; and if you’re accomplished, a fast push on the crown makes the goal time hand vanish again below the operating minutes.
How pretty! And fully per Terreni’s need to current traditional problems in new methods; or as he says, “modernize the historical past of watchmaking with out merely repeating the previous.”
The Parmigiani Fleurier Keynote at WWG 2023
It was my privilege to hitch Mr. Terreni at Watches and Wonders this yr as a member of Parmigiani Fleurier’s keynote panel, moderated with aplomb by Wei Koh.
The subject of the keynote, and the point of interest of PF’s presence at Watches and Wonders this yr, was fairly outstanding: a strictly restricted group of three units of three calendar watches, displaying Gregorian, Islamic, and Chinese language calendars.
If it appears a daring factor to focus a complete commerce honest’s consideration on a complete of 9 watches, it’s! Considered by way of the lens of Parmigiani’s buyer imaginative and prescient and values and belongings, nevertheless, all of it begins to make sense.
Every particular person watch attracts inspiration from Michel Parmigiani’s experiences restoring traditional calendar watches; and specifically with the Chinese language calendar watch, the motion building gives a extra full depiction of the Chinese language seasons than any prior try. They’re additionally watches made for a discerning wearer; definitely not everybody will discover watches depicting the dates and seasons in cultures past their very own to be compelling, even when they’re technically wonderful.
Parmigiani and Terreni, nevertheless, are making a bigger level. Timekeeping is a human invention, and over historical past, completely different cultures have chosen to arrange their conceptions of the years and seasons otherwise. Every of the three watches gives a window into a singular tradition; and Parmigiani have labored to make sure that every watch reveals respect for its respective tradition, for example rendering the moon on the Islamic watch in white steel relatively than in coloured gold.
As a set, I feel these three watches have one thing even better to convey: that understanding others’ worldviews can result in better empathy, connection, and the discount of the schisms that divide us.
That’s clearly method too large a job for 9 watches to attain, however I’ve to admire Parmigiani’s intent and the best way they’ve translated it into mechanical artwork. I used to be additionally very impressed with the spirit of hope and optimism that Mr. Terreni evidenced all through the dialogue, and his capacity to weave collectively disparate threads into cogent arguments.
I think about that the customer of every of those units of three watches will match the proto-customer persona envisioned by Terreni: discreet, understated, self-confident, and self-aware.
It’s one factor to see issues the place they exist, and to stipulate some attainable treatments; it’s one other altogether to have the power and spine to establish particular actions quickly, make powerful selections, unify a group round a transparent imaginative and prescient and technique, and get to market shortly with successful merchandise in an business well-known for its lengthy lead occasions.
Mr. Terreni has my respect for carrying out all of the above in a remarkably brief time period; it has been my privilege to get to know him, and I look ahead to his – and Parmigiani Fleurier’s – continued success.
For extra data, please go to https://parmigiani.com/en/tonda-pf-minute-rattrapante/
Fast Details: Parmigiani Tonda PF Minute Rattrapante
Case: 40mm x 10.7mm satin completed chrome steel case with platinum knurled bezel; ARunic anti-reflective entrance sapphire crystal and rear sapphire crystal; water resistance 60m; polished and satin-finished chrome steel bracelet
Dial and palms: Hand-guilloché sand gray dial with utilized rhodium plated gold indices and brand; gold skeletonized delta-shaped palms
Motion: Automated winding PF052 micro-rotor; 48-hour energy reserve; 21,600 vph (3 Hz)
Features: Hours, minutes, and proprietary minute rattrapante
Worth: USD $30,600
Manufacturing Years: 2023 onward
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