Parmigiani Fleurier is “shaping up” its emblematic Kalpa watch collection at this year’s SIHH, launching three new models and outfitting each of them, for the first time since the Kalpa’s 2001 debut, exclusively with in-house movements that are shaped to perfectly fit the dimensions of the watches’ tonneau cases. Here’s what you should know about the new Kalpa Chronor, Kalpagraphe Chronometre, and Kalpa Hebdomaire.
Michel Parmigiani, founder of the eponymous brand, created the first tonneau-shaped movement, Caliber PF110, in 1998, encasing it in the first Parmigiani Kalpa wristwatch. The movement was notable, especially in that era, not just for its unconventional shape but also its eight-day power reserve and excellent rate regularity, while the watch turned heads, as it does today, with its tonneau case, teardrop-shaped lugs, smoothly integrated straps and bracelets, and Delta-shaped hands. All these stylistic hallmarks can still be found on the new Kalpa, which has since expanded to become a flagship collection of the Parmigiani brand, but now some models from that collection that had heretofore been fitted with traditional round movements have been upgraded with all-new shaped movements that snugly hug the interior curves of the ergonomic tonneau cases.
The Kalpa Chronor, one of two chronograph-equipped watches in the collection, features the watch world’s first self-winding, integrated chronograph movement made almost entirely from solid gold, the COSC-certified Caliber PF365. Six years in its development, the movement beats at a speedy 36,000 vph (5 hz) inside the watch’s 48.2-mm x 40.4 mm hand-polished rose-gold case. It holds a power reserve of 65 hours and its integrated chronograph mechanism — which, due to the balance’s high frequency, can measure elapsed times to 1/10 second —uses a column wheel and a vertical clutch. Its variable inertia balance, held in place by a cross-through bridge, improves overall stability and shock-resistance. Gold, of course, is a far more malleable metal than those usually found in watch movements, so the skeletonization and decoration of the plates and bridges presented an enormous challenge for the watchmakers in Fleurier.
Visible behind a wide, tonneau-shaped sapphire window in the caseback, Caliber PF365 shows off all of its gilded charms, including the 22k gold rotor, adorned with the barleycorn guilloche motif that has, like the teardrop lugs and Delta hands, become a Parmigiani hallmark. On the front side of the watch, a black bipartite dial, also made of gold, features an opaline center surrounded by a tachymeter scale and a hand-worked braid-effect guilloché motif on its outskirts. The chronograph subdials at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock have a snailed finish and a gold coloring, while a golden outline surrounds the date window at 12 o’clock. The Delta-shaped hands are luminous-coated and the rose-gold indices are faceted. The black alligator strap, culminating in a rose-gold folding clasp, is from Hermès.
The other new model with an integrated chronograph movement, the Kalpagraphe Chronomètre, is fronted by another multilevel dial in Parmigiani’s striking “Abyss” blue color and houses inside its 18k rose-gold case the new, shaped Caliber PF362. The case is hand-polished and sports the same measurements (48.2 mm x 40.4 mm) as the Chronor, while the movement has most all of the same attributes of the PF365 — COSC chronometer certification, 65-hour power reserve, 36,000-vph frequency, column-wheel chronograph, automatic winding — minus the solid gold components, the exception of course being the 22k gold, barleycorn-guillochéd rotor. The opaline center on this one’s dial is surrounded by a radial-guilloché pattern on the flange…
The Kalpa Hebdomaire is the only one of the new trio outfitted with a manual-winding caliber, more specifically an updated version of the original Caliber PF110, the granddaddy of all of these new barrel-shaped movements. The original’s eight-day power reserve, stored in two series-mounted barrels, remains intact, while several next-generation haute horlogerie flourishes have been added, including côtes de Genève’ finishing, bevelled bridges, and circular-graining – all of which, of course, can be observed through the sapphire caseback as the balance beats at 21,600 vph (3 Hz). Here we find another hand-polished 18k rose-gold case, a multilevel black dial with an opaline-finished center, small seconds counter, and weekly power reserve scale, and a braid-effect guilloché flange. Luminescent Delta-shaped hands tell the time on hand-applied, faceted indices — also luminous — and along the railway-track minute scale. The date display at 12 o’clock includes Parmigiani Fleurier’s signature bright red “1” numeral. The 42.3 mm x 32.1 mm case is water-resistant to 30 meters and is mounted on a black Hermès black alligator strap with a rose gold folding buckle.
Prices are $85,000 for the Kalpa Chronor, $35,000 for the Kalpagraphe Chronometre, and $32,500 for the Kalpa Hebdomaire.