At the SIHH 2018, Parmigiani Fleurier re-introduced one of its most emblematic models, the Kalpa. A shaped watch, it was originally introduced back in 2001 and, thanks to its bold and unique design, guided by ergonomics, it became a signature model in the collection. After three inaugural refreshed watches in January, the brand expands the range with a new, simpler time-and-date version – but it has a lot more to tell, with some serious certifications. Meet the new Parmigiani Fleurier Kalpa Qualité Fleurier.
For two years now, Parmigiani Fleurier has been reinterpreting its classics. This strategy started with the re-introduction in 2017 of Michel Parmigiani’s very first creation, the Toric. At the SIHH 2018, it was the turn of another well-known and iconic model, the Kalpa. This tonneau-shaped watch, with a bold, rather baroque design was immediately recognisable as part of the PF family. The new collection takes advantage of its unique shape and improved comfort, quality and beauty of the mechanics – see for instance the Kalpa Chronor and its solid gold chronograph movement. This new collection also revisits the first tonneau movement created by Parmigiani 20 years ago, as it is only fitted with shaped movements – no more classical round calibres, only movements shaped according to the case.
The inaugural collection comprised the Chronor, a flagship limited edition with an ultra-luxurious solid gold chronograph movement, the Kalpagraphe Chronomètre, with the same base movement – this time in a more classical execution – and finally the Kalpa Hebdomadaire, with a beautiful 8-day hand-wound movement. This summer, the Fleurier-based brand adds a new, simpler but no less advanced version, the Parmigiani Fleurier Kalpa Qualité Fleurier – and that means certifications, controls and precision.
In short, the new Kalpa Qualité Fleurier is a mix between the Kalpa and the Toric Qualité Fleurier. While other models in the Kalpa collection feature complex movements, this new one sticks to the traditional time-and-date display and adds the practicality of a self-winding mechanism. However, if the functionalities seem rather standard, the execution of the movement is top-notch.
As indicated by its name, this new Parmigiani Fleurier Kalpa is certified by the “Qualité Fleurier” standards. This quality label was created in the early 2000s by the three high-end Fleurier manufacturers (Parmigiani Fleurier, Chopard and Bovet) and is one of the most rigorous certifications in the watch industry.
Qualité Fleurier certifies that the watch (more precisely the watch head without the bracelet and buckle) is 100% Swiss made. The movement of Qualité Fleurier watches must have an exclusive finish. The general principles include the quality of the material, the decoration and the manufacturing method. The watches are tested according to the Chronofiable test. It focuses on durability and reliability, simulating several months of wear, testing the reactions to magnetic fields and water-resistance. Finally, all Qualité Fleurier watches must have successfully passed the battery of tests imposed by the COSC.
This new Kalpa Qualité Fleurier is equipped with an elite movement, visible through its caseback. The Calibre F442 is shaped according to the case, even though there has been a change in the shape of the bridges compared to a traditional round movement. Nevertheless, this movement is finely decorated – bevelled angles, Geneva stripes, perlage, solid gold and guilloché rotor – and reveals interesting specifications: 60h power reserve thanks to two barrels, 4Hz frequency and a chronometer certification.
The watch itself uses the same redesigned case found on the SIHH 2018 Kalpa watches. The lines of the case have been tautened and made more elegant. The lugs, which used to be rather long and thin, are now shorter but bolder and more in keeping with the style of the case. A touch of modernity has been added to the tonneau-shaped case, as well as a bit of subtlety. The entire case is rounded, with curves in all directions, including the caseback that is concave to adapt to the wrist.
This Parmigiani Fleurier Kalpa Qualité Fleurier, only available in 18k red gold for the moment, relies on the smaller case: 42.3mm x 32.1mm, with a relatively thin 10mm profile. The watch sits comfortably on the wrist and thanks to its narrow, thin case, it could be considered a dress watch – with a strong personality though.
The dial on this version is, as of now, only available in black, with an opaline centre and a guilloché tressé or plaited pattern on the periphery. Gold plated hands and indices match the case and we found the signature triple date window a 12 o’clock – a feature that gives a unique look to the watch but that some don’t like. It is worn on a beautiful black alligator strap, manufactured by Hermès.
The Parmigiani Fleurier Kalpa Qualité Fleurier (ref. PFC194-1601400) comes with a friendlier price tag than the Hebdomadaire version, retailing for CHF 23,500 (vs. CHF 32,500). More details on www.parmigiani.com.