The favourite watch of King Charles III: Parmigiani Fleurier

September 15, 2023By Bonetto Cinturini

In 2023, and more precisely on 6 May, the son of Queen Elizabeth II was crowned King of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, becoming King Charles III. In the days prior to this historical event, many of the mass media were asking themselves what watch the new king would wear.
The choice fell on his favourite, the Toric Chronograph by Parmigiani Fleurier, which was launched by the producer of the same name in the early 2000s.
Let’s take a look at why this Parmigiani Fleurier model is called the King’s watch, the history of the manufacturer, and the main characteristics of this chronograph.

 

The Parmigiani Fleurier watch worn by Charles III

King Charles III and his clothes have always been under the spotlight, so on the day of his coronation his choice of watch aroused great interest. He wore the Toric Chronograph by Parmigiani Fleurier, becoming a spontaneous ambassador of the brand. The brand has its own story, which merits being told in detail to understand why it has achieved its current success. To begin with, it should be said that Parmigiani was hardly recognised when it was launched in 1996, but its founder of the same name (a gifted watch restorer supported by the very rich Sandoz Foundation) later emerged as one of the top watchmakers of the period whose discreet, impeccably refined creations reached their peak of popularity.
The Toric line in particular has always been the foundation of the brand, and the fact that the rare chronograph model of the same name (no longer produced for some time) was worn by King Charles III at his coronation is further proof of this. The elegance that distinguishes it is not the only reason why Charles III prefers it, however, indeed there are many other reasons that deserve to be mentioned. When Michel Parmigiani came of age in the 1970s, he started nurturing his two great passions: watchmaking and architecture. It was the union of both that pushed him to start creating watches for his first collection, which he called Toric. The reason behind this choice of name was that the word torus is present in architecture and is, more specifically, a semi-circular moulding, similar to what can be seen at the base of a classic column. Today, even though no longer being produced, the Toric chronograph is a Parmigiani Fleurier cornerstone.

 

The secret of the success of Parmigiani Fleurier watches

The Parmigiani Fleurier brand was established in 1996 in Val-de-Travers, Switzerland, more precisely in Fleurier. The founder, Michel Parmigiani, already had the idea of creating this new brand in 1976, in other words in the period when he restored mechanical watches, delving into the various techniques. The Sandoz family collaborated in fitting out his laboratory, allowing him to restore a wide range of manufactured objects kept in the Maurice Yves Sandoz room, an integral part of the Musée d’Horlogerie of Le Locle. His next step was to establish the current Parmigiani Fleurier, which produces various types of watch, including a line of models for men and another specific line for women.
All the Parmigiani Fleurier models are handmade, and this why more than four hundred working hours are required to assemble one. Consider also that precious metals and gems are used to make the watches more precious, and that each collection is limited edition, so adding a unique touch to each piece. Among the most popular Parmigiani Fleurier models is the Bugatti 370. The brand still boasts a restoration and a production laboratory, which tend to further enrich the Parmigiani Fleurier collections, and which reflect the strength of its indisputable, extremely prestigious manufacture, the talent of its founder, and the creation of more than 30 movements, all categorically original.

 

The characteristics of the watch worn by King Charles III

The chronograph worn by Charles III on the day of his coronation reached the peak of its popularity thanks above all to some unique characteristics that make it fascinating. The first is its Zenith El Primeromovement, always loved by Parmigiani. The Toric chronograph, in fact, has a calibre Zenith 400Z mechanism, even if the founder added different finishes to make it unique. The most evident is the rotor, in other words the oscillator. It boasts a classic vintage design, ideal for those who love old-style chronographs. This is a rather evident characteristic, above all if you take a look at the typical Swiss punching on the lower part of the lug ends, and the case itself, which is categorically finished and polished by hand.
Among the other components that make this model great and valued are the dial, with its elegant finishes (ideal for a royal family representative). The Toric Chronograph has a guilloche silver-plated dial, while the case is 18 carat pink gold with a diameter of 40 mm. Furthermore, the Toric has a chronograph function, a date window, and a buckle signed Parmigiani Fleurier, also made of 18 carat pink gold.