The Kalpa watch has been a symbol of Parmigiani Fleurier since its creation in 2001. The latest version carefully reinterprets the original design features, and each Kalpa is now fitted exclusively with shaped movements, developed in-house.
Its hallmark features – the tonneau case, the teardrop lugs and the understated dial with Delta-shaped hands – are the result of careful consideration of ergonomics, proportions and optimal readability, and come together to form the perfect showcase for these new manufacture calibres.
It’s a return to the company’s early days and the first tonneau movement created by founder Michel Parmigiani 20 years ago. Ahead of the upcoming SIHH event, the brand has unveiled three initial interpretations of this refresh of both form and content: the Kalpa Chronor, Kalpagraphe Chronomètre and Kalpa Hebdomadaire men’s models.
The Kalpa story continues with distinctively shaped movements for distinctively shaped watches, remaining true to the ideals of consistency and quality craftsmanship that are fundamental to the Fleurier manufacture.
As the first tonneau-shaped watch produced by Michel Parmigiani, the Kalpa has become an icon of the brand in more ways than one. It is partly down to its trademark design, with its tonneau case featuring teardrop-shaped lugs developed with harmony and proportionality in mind, its carefully crafted ergonomic profile, its display which is both understated and refined, and its seamless integration with the bracelet, whether metal or leather.
This stylistic hallmark is based on the golden ratio and the Fibonacci sequence, as with all of Michel Parmigiani’s creations. The Kalpa’s iconic status can also be put down to its technical features: the distinctive tonneau shape of the case is based on the first shaped wristwatch movement developed by Fleurier’s master watchmaker back in 1998.
Since then, the Kalpa collection has expanded with a range of both men’s and ladies’ watches and has become the brand’s flagship unisex model. With the manufacturing expertise of the Parmigiani Fleurier Watchmaking Centre behind it, the new-generation Kalpa now comes exclusively with shaped calibres, specially developed in-house.
It has a ‘consistency between inside and outside’ galvanised by Michel Parmigiani, which builds upon the brand’s expertise in watchmaking and industry, in line with the spirit that underpins the company’s philosophy: ‘To define and produce exceptional things, as a departure from all that is ordinary.’
Parmigiani Fleurier Going Back to its roots
The history of the Kalpa goes right back to the company’s origins, when its founder, the master watchmaker and restorer Michel Parmigiani, created the first in-house wristwatch movement: the calibre PF110.
Aside from the distinctive tonneau shape and innovative power reserve indicator, this premium, hand-wound watch movement has an exceptional quality, boasting an eight-day power reserve and excellent rate regularity thanks to the double barrel. This is rare for a watch of this era.
Departing from the traditionally round watch movement has remained a key design element for the Kalpa, the company’s first shaped watch. In developing it, Michel Parmigiani started with a spherical cap shape and focused firstly on the profile of the watch and the attractive integration of the lugs, to achieve an ergonomically perfect whole.
And thus the famous teardrop-shaped lugs were born, themselves inspired by the golden ratio’s logarithmic spiral.
‘The inspiration comes from nature, from its proportions and from the natural curves that provide the ingredients for creativity.’
In that sense, the name Kalpa is very apt – the word refers to cosmic order, ritual and art, through which man achieves harmony with universal energy.
Harmony in Renewal
Having become an icon of the Parmigiani Fleurier brand by virtue of its unique aesthetics, ergonomic design and comfort, the Kalpa now presses onward along its path adorned with new features.
First of all, it is now fitted with shaped movements that integrate precisely with the carefully crafted outlines of its tonneau case. This was both a technical and aesthetic choice, and highlights the brand’s broad expertise and manufacturing capabilities.
The industrial and craftsmanship facility responsible for the Kalpa – the Parmigiani Fleurier Watchmaking Centre – comprises five units, covering all areas of expertise that are involved in Haute Horlogerie manufacture (from spiral to gears and from case to dial, and everything in between), and brings all of its mastery and creative independence to the collection.
This creative freedom, combined always with a painstaking attention to harmony and consistency, has been a guiding principle for the brand since the very beginning.
The first three men’s Kalpa models unveiled for SIHH perfectly embody this spirit of dedication to excellence and openness. Each of the watches has a previously unseen tonneau movement, manufactured entirely in-house: the calibres PF365 (solid gold), PF362 and PF110.
Two have automatic movements with an integrated chronograph, and the third is a hand-wound calibre with an eight-day power reserve, modelled on its 1998 predecessor; all three are COSC-certified.
The Devil is in the Detail
The inside of the new Kalpa may represent uncharted territory, with the new range of shaped manufacture movements, but the outside, too, is on the same trail – in pursuit of consistency and perfection.
Thus, every aspect of its trademark design has been meticulously revisited, taking great care not to compromise the original harmony of the proportions and design features.
With balance, comfort and readability as their watchwords, the designers at Parmigiani Fleurier worked intently on the Kalpa to introduce a touch of modernity while at the same time respecting its identity and authenticity. The tonneau case, known for its ergonomic design that sits perfectly on the wrist, has had its outline and curves reworked.
The lines are tautened and contemporary, and now include a slight concavity which add character and dynamism to the overall appearance. The familiar short and curved teardrop lugs have also been resized and realigned, to achieve a more perfect fit with the case.
The crown has been enlarged and more of the tonneau opening is visible – particularly at the back, where the movement can be seen, seamlessly integrated with the case, as can the 22 ct gold oscillating weight (in self-winding models), adorned with Parmigiani Fleurier’s signature barley grain motif.
Moving on to the display, balance and readability are the order of the day with a face that is both understated and refined. Every detail of the dial has been conceived with elegance and clarity in mind, with different levels of surfaces and finishes, alternating between guilloché, snailing and opaline work punctuated with hand-applied faceted indices.
The guilloché work blends perfectly with the design of the movement and oscillating weight. One of the key distinguishing features of the watch face is the delta-shaped hands, which have been resized and given a luminescent coating.
To further increase the readability of the functions, the date window has been moved away from the small second display and placed at the top of the dial. It is rounded and the opening reveals three numerals, of which the 1 has either a bright red or a gold powder finish depending on the model, to mark the start of each month.
Lastly, the new Kalpa is exactly as its creator, Michel Parmigiani, had hoped it would be:
It combines his expertise as a master watchmaker and restorer with his creativity as a watchmaking architect, designing the future by observing the proportions and harmony found in nature.
To showcase the new generation of Kalpa watches, Parmigiani Fleurier is making an impression with the Kalpa Chronor, which features the world’s first solid-gold, self-winding, integrated chronograph movement.
This tonneau watch is water-resistant to 30 metres and made of hand-polished 18 ct rose gold. It measures 48.2 x 40.4 mm and houses an exceptional mechanism that has been developed and manufactured entirely in-house.
The COSC-certified calibre PF365 is the result of six years’ development, and oscillates at the high frequency of 36,000 vibrations per hour (5 Hz) to achieve a reading accuracy of one tenth of a second.
With a power reserve of around 65 hours, this Haute Horlogerie movement includes a column wheel and vertical clutch as well as offering precision gauges and user comfort, and is set apart by its luxury composition using 18 ct gold.
This malleable material is particularly complex to work with, which further reinforces the rare quality and expertise that have gone into its design, the skeleton work on its bridges, and its decoration.
It also features a variable-inertia balance, held in place by a cross-through bridge, for improved stability and shock resistance. In terms of the dial, the calibre PF365 provides hour, minute, small second and chronograph functions with a tachymeter and date window.
At the back, a wide tonneau opening with a sapphire crystal at the top reveals this new shaped movement, wound by an oscillating weight in 22 ct gold that features a barley grain guilloché motif. The 18 ct gold bipartite dial in black is elegantly finished with an opaline centre, hand-worked braid-effect guilloché detail on the flange, and snailed counters.
The counters have been enlarged and positioned slightly above the centre point, offering easier readability, while the rounded date window with its gold outline at 12 o’clock reveals below it a disc with white numerals and a gold powder finish for the ‘1’.
The luminescent Delta hands point to hand-applied 18 ct rose gold faceted indices, which also have a luminescent coating and match the folding buckle on the Hermès black alligator strap. It is an exceptional timepiece, produced as a series of 50 numbered pieces.
The new Kalpagraphe Chronomètre is a timepiece of rare distinction, inviting those who look upon it to dive into its deep Abyss blue waves, illuminated in 18 ct rose gold.
The stylish masculinity of this Haute Horlogerie creation lies in the form of one of the most popular horological complications: the chronograph.
It is powered by a new shaped movement bearing the hallmarks of Parmigiani Fleurier – the calibre PF362, a COSC-certified, self-winding, integrated chronograph offering hour, minute, small second and chronograph functions as well as a tachymeter scale and date display, with a 65-hour power reserve.
Entirely developed and manufactured in-house over a period of six years, this calibre works at a frequency of 36,000 vibrations per hour (5 Hz) and demonstrates an accuracy of one tenth of a second; it also features a column wheel and vertical clutch to ensure accuracy and user comfort.
In addition, its variable-inertia balance is secured by a bridge which provides strength and stability against shocks. Seamlessly integrated with the hand-polished 48.2 x 40.4 mm tonneau case, and water-resistant to 30 metres, this advanced mechanism reveals, through the sapphire case-back, the elegant finish and the 22 ct gold oscillating weight with its barley grain guilloché motif.
As for the display, the dial is divided into different levels and features an Abyss blue centre treated with PVD with an opaline finish, a radial guilloché-worked flange punctuated with hand-applied faceted indices, two snailed counters enclosed within a fine gold edging, an angled tachymeter scale, a semi-instantaneous date window, and a small seconds sector with its own hand.
The luminescent Delta-shaped hands, the counters placed slightly off-centre, and the rounded date indicator containing three numerals come together to form this balanced, easily readable display.
The finishing touch is a Hermès alligator strap in Abyss blue with a rose gold folding buckle.
The third men’s model unveiled for SIHH is a creation that pays tribute to the history of the Kalpa and the company’s first tonneau-shaped movement.
Developed by Michel Parmigiani in 1998 and honoured with an innovation award the following year, the hand-wound calibre PF110 is characterised by its impressive eight-day power reserve, made possible by the two series-mounted barrels.
This is one Haute Horlogerie calibre that is particularly iconic for the brand, and offers hour and minute functions, small seconds at 6 o’clock, a date display and a weekly power reserve indicator.
In keeping with the other new-generation Kalpa watches, the refined design features of its mechanism – ‘Côtes de Genève’ pattern, bevelled bridges and circular-graining – are exposed through a sapphire case-back, with the wide tonneau opening revealing its seamless integration with the case.
Oscillating at a frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour (3 Hz), this signature shaped movement is housed within a case that is no less iconic itself, crafted in 18 ct rose gold and entirely hand-polished.
As the face of the collection, the rich black dial is hinged on different levels and has an opaline finish in the centre, on the small seconds counter and on the power reserve scale, as well as a hand-worked braid-effect guilloché detail on the flange.
Equally distinctive are the luminescent Delta-shaped hands pointing to hand-applied faceted indices with a luminescent coating and the ‘railway’ minute track in the centre, while the instantaneous date display at 12 o’clock houses the famous bright red ‘1’ numeral.
The new Kalpa Hebdomadaire is water-resistant to 30 metres and attractively proportioned (42.3 x 32.1 mm), fastening neatly on the wrist with its Hermès black alligator strap with a rose gold folding buckle, for unparalleled comfort and style.
Taking its name from its founder, watchmaker and restorer Michel Parmigiani, the fine watchmaking brand was founded in 1996 in Fleurier, in the Swiss valley of Val-de-Travers.
With its own watchmaking centre ensuring its independence, the brand has both full control over the production process and unique creative freedom.
For twenty years, the Parmigiani Fleurier signature has been ingrained in respected timepieces inspired by established watchmaking tradition.
They are the labour of a lifetime – that of Michel Parmigiani, the talented individuals who assist him, and the special relationship between the Manufacture and the masterpieces of the past, enabling it to invent a bold future.