When it comes to engineering, the Germans and Swiss know a thing or two about precision and performance. That’s why – as the saying goes – watch guys are usually also car guys. Aficionados of fine timepieces often harbor a deep respect for the craftsmanship that goes into making a high performance car so when Parmigiani Fleurier recently invited part of the #FeldmarFam to the L.A. Porsche Experience Center, it was a perfect fit.
Scott, Jamie, and Tom ventured south from Feldmar to Carson, CA where Porsche’s state-of-the-art West Coast driving center is located. The multi-million dollar facility is a veritable playground for gearheads, offering the chance to get behind the wheel of some of the best German cars ever made. Joining for the adventure were a few of Feldmar’s clients and hosting our lucky group was the gracious Parmigiani team including CEO, Guido Terreni.
The experience began in the gleaming lobby, a showcase of famous Porsche cars used in racing from Dakar to Formula E to Le Mans. Production classics are arrayed side-by-side with one-off specialty vehicles making for some serious eye-candy. After a short briefing by one of the team members from Porsche, our group split off into pairs. Each pair linked up with a Porsche coach and we ventured off to the pit lane to meet our vehicles.
With each driver in his or her own car, each group played follow-the-leader, trailing close behind the Porsche coach’s pace car. The experience is laid out in a variety of courses: a straightaway (to demonstrate acceleration and speed), a circuit (to demonstrate handling), and even water obstacles (to demonstrate spins, slides, and recoveries). For 90 minutes, each group followed the precise instructions of its coach, who communicated over a two-way radio. Fans of racing will recognize this practice, similar to when a driver receives guidance from the crew via the cockpit radio.
Behind the wheel of a high-performance vehicle, there’s no room for distracted driving. That means a serious focus on the road ahead and not on picture-taking! As each group cruised through the course, drivers developed a feel for the responsiveness and handling of these powerful machines. In a fun arrangement, drivers actually switched vehicles midway through the course, making it possible to compare and contrast the handling of a 911 Carrera S versus a 718 Boxster.
After our time on the track, the Feldmar crew moved indoors and upstairs for an elegant reception and dinner hosted by Parmigiani. Insights from the brand about Parmigiani’s guiding princliples were intriguing and informative, putting into perspective the way the brand has grown and changed as well as hinting at what lies ahead. Between sips of wine, guests sliced pads from Porsche-shaped butter to eat with warm German pretzel bread.
Before a rich dinner of braised beef short ribs, Guido Terrini rose to share his thoughts on Parmigiani’s philosophy remarking insightfully that when it comes to Parmigiani’s outlook, “True luxury is about the private enjoyment of a timepiece for yourself – not for others”. In reference to the understated style of the brand’s most recent releases, he noted that discerning watch fans know that “It is not about showcasing wealth but showcasing your knowledge”, highlighting the importance of what’s inside a watch as much as what can be seen from the outside. Before a final toast, Terrini promised that as in the past, Parmigiani’s goals for the future are “to create value that lasts forever”.
See all the images from Feldmar x Parmigiani’s day at the track below!
Click here to see the full collection of Parmigiani watches available at Feldmar.