20 years ago, one man started a watch company, a company that will later produce some superb watches, with impressive hand-finishing and complex mechanism. This man, right from the very beginning, designed watches with a certain baroque style, something different from what the usual Swiss watches looked like. This man is called Michel Parmigiani, the company is based in Fleurier and his first watch was the Parmigiani Fleurier Kalpa… and this is this same watch that today serves as a piece unique for the 20th anniversary, the Parmigiani Fleurier Kalpa Hebdomadaire Anniversaire, in steel and with a gorgeous solid gold movement.
The Kalpa, for a first attempt into watchmaking, as an independent brand, was quite bold. The case, with its tonneau shape, its strong lugs and an overall design that is far from the traditional round case of the 1990s, remains today totally up to date and keeps this baroque, rather Italian elegance that characterizes the creation of Michel Parmigiani. This watch also has to be seen from a technical point of view, with a superbly finished movement, with double barrel and 8-day power reserve – which explains its name Hebdomadaire (weekly). And this is not all, as from a visual perspective, this movement is just superb (those rounded bridges, with internal angles…).
This watch is now the base for a unique piece, the Parmigiani Fleurier Kalpa Hebdomadaire Anniversaire, which plays on a restrain spirit, hiding its treasure into a simple steel case. Indeed, this case – which keeps the same iconic shape as the first 1997 edition – is steel and not precious metal. However, you have to look at it like a safe. True beauty doesn’t need to be exposed, because it has to be discreet. And this piece of horological beauty is the movement, in solid gold. “A gold movement inside a steel case is like a precious item, jealously guarded in a safe. The impenetrable inner riches of a person are a well-hidden treasure. A rare beauty only found by those who know where to look.” (Michel Parmigiani).
The movement of the Parmigiani Fleurier Kalpa Hebdomadaire Anniversaire is technically the same as the normal edition of the watch, however here, it has been entirely redesigned and finished with extreme care. As said, the main plate as well as the bridges are manufactured in solid yellow gold (which is not that simple, as it involved recalibrating the machines and checking each cutting parameter). Then, the surfaces are entirely engraved – by hand of course – with a delicate dragon-wing motif. Edges are polished – some angles being internal, meaning that only a trained hand can achieve them – and each part receives haute-horlogerie treatment. The contrast with the almost utilitarian material of the case is what creates the interest here.
Apart from this visual treatment, the movement (calibre PF110) remains identical. It offers a long power reserve (with two barrels in series), a display of the power reserve and of the date, as well as a small second. it ticks at 3hz (21,600vph) and of course has a manual winding.
The external part of the Parmigiani Fleurier Kalpa Hebdomadaire Anniversaire, even in steel, remains precious and refined. The case is entirely polished. The dial presents here an unseen havana color, matched with a wave-pattern guilloche on the periphery. The hands, as well as the indexes, are made out of gold. The power reserve indicator can be seen at 12 and the date is place in the small second sub-dial at 6.
This Parmigiani Fleurier Kalpa Hebdomadaire Anniversaire is a piece unique. More details on the brand’s website – Price is 70,000 Swiss Francs before taxes.