Luxury watchmaking might still be dominated by the likes of major players such as Rolex, Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet, but it’s no secret that fashion houses have made great inroads into the scene as well. Chanel for instance has won over a ton of fashion savvy wrists with its inimitable J12, as has Dior with its high jewellery creations, while Hermès is quietly but steadily impressing connoisseurs with unique creations such as the award-winning Arceau Heure de la Lune.
Of course we mustn’t forget Louis Vuitton’s intoxicating line up of Tambours, its Escale Worldtime being one of the most memorable timepieces of the late 2010s. Then there’s Bulgari with its incredible array of recording-breaking Octo Finissimos, whose slim proportions and modern persona make it perfectly gender neutral—although the Italian luxury giant is arguably more of a jeweller than a fashion house.
Even brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, Stefano Ricci, and Tom Ford have taken a stab at horology. Gucci too has taken more serious approach towards designing its timepieces, rather than leaving it to a third party.
So it isn’t at all surprising that Giorgio Armani has decided to get into the game—and perhaps more brands will follow. But what was more likely to pique the interest of people in the luxury watch circle is the Armani Group’s decision to partner up with Swiss watchmaker Parmigiani Fleurier.
An ultra-niche ultra-luxury brand, Parmigiani Fleurier is the brainchild of watchmaking wunderkind Michel Parmigiani, who founded his own atelier in 1996 and cut his teeth restoring all sorts of historical timepieces and mechanical curiosities. In short, he is a master watchmaker who’s done just about any kind of technical complication that exists today.
Based in Fleurier, Switzerland, Parmigiani’s timepieces are often paired with Hermès leather straps, and are as far off the beaten path as you could imagine. Its classic models embody the design and watchmaking philosophy of Michel Parmigiani himself.
The Kalpa line for instance has a unique backstory. Parmigiani started creating this watch by sketching its profile, rather than the dial or the front of the case. Such a unique design focus makes Parmigiani a fine partner for Giorgio Armani’s relaxed yet luxurious style.
With Giorgio Armani designing the pieces, and Michel Parmigiani in charge of production, these will be sold exclusively in select Giorgio Armani boutiques. The first collection is slated to launch in November 2021, with a strong emphasis on hand craftsmanship and presumably designed to pair seamlessly with the label’s ready-to-wear collections.
The pieces will be offered in numbered editions—a hint as to the exclusive status that will be conferred unto the watches.