Giorgio Armani has added a new range of accessories to his design empire: the Giorgio Armani 11 collection, made in collaboration with the Swiss watchmaker Parmigiani Fleurier.
“I felt it was time for me to create a beautiful mechanical watch that could express my aesthetic at the same level as my clothing,” Mr. Armani wrote in an email.
The collection totals 200 39.5-millimeter cushion-shape watches in steel, rose gold or yellow gold, with prices from $21,000 to $43,000. They have been introduced sporadically since November in selected Armani stores around the world.
The model’s sartorial origins are reflected in the guilloché surface of the dial, which resembles gathered fabric and is bordered in what looks like metallic stitches, has the Giorgio Armani logo in the center and comes in a typical restrained Armani palette of gray, navy blue, ivory and black. The hour and minute hands are the shape of scissor blades while the second hand resembles a needle. Threadlike metal indexes mark every hour except six o’clock, where a moon-phase complication appears, and 11 o’clock, which is shown as a number in a nod to the street number at Armani’s Via Borgonuovo headquarters in Milan since the brand’s founding in 1975.
“I suppose it is a sort of lucky number,” Mr. Armani wrote. “It is the day of the month on which I was born, after all” — July 11, 1934.
The engraved signature “By Parmigiani Fleurier” appears on the case back and the models are powered by its PF047 automatic movement.
For Mr. Armani, an enthusiastic watch collector (“I have amassed many favorites,” he wrote), designing a timepiece did not feel much different from designing clothing. “Design is design,” he wrote, adding, “I was working with watchmakers who know the intricacies of their craft, and I had to be mindful of what was and was not possible.”
Michel Parmigiani, founder of the brand that bears his name, wrote in an email: “The desire was to bring out the best of our two houses to create an exceptional object. It is a work of patience, perseverance, and empathy. It is the exploration of infinitely small details.”
The collection is not the Armani brand’s first foray into watchmaking. For many years it has been producing quartz and automatic watches for less than $1,000 through its license with the Fossil Group. But the new collaboration, and the introduction of a high jewelry collection in 2019, indicate the brand’s move further upmarket in accessories.
“One could question the price point, which is quite high and daring,” said Oliver Müller, founder of LuxeConsult, a watch consultancy based near Lausanne, Switzerland. However, he added, “the watch shows that someone with a deep understanding of timepieces designed it.”
Luca Solca, a luxury analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, wrote: “Parmigiani Fleurier allows Armani to enter the high-end watches market with a credible pedigree; Armani brings high visibility to a high-end Swiss watch brand. I see this as a win-win cooperation.”
Does Mr. Armani have a favorite model in the collection?
“For a black-tie event, I might very well go for the rose gold version with the gray dial,” he wrote. But, he added, “I am very fond of the simple steel model with the blue dial. Navy blue is, without doubt, my go-to color, as it is neutral, like black, but has more emotion.”