Celebrating 20 Years of Kalpa
In designing the first watch for his newly created watch manufacture – Parmigiani Fleurier – Michel Parmigiani worked backwards. Instead of sticking to one idea, Michel Parmigiani let the design process dictate what the shape of the watch ought to be. He spent weeks consulting friends, family, colleagues and just about anyone else he could test his prototypes on. It began “on an empirical note; ergonomics were my only concern; my passion for the job took care of the rest” said Michel. (For more on the evolution of the brand)
Not only was the Kalpa designed to be comfortable on most wrists, but it also had to look at home on the wrist. It had to look balanced. This meant refraining from incorporating straight lines and sharp angles into the case. Wrists and the human form aren’t sharp and angular, so why should a watch be.
That was two decades ago. 2018 marks the 20th anniversary of the Kalpa, and to celebrate they’ve unveiled a number of new Kalpa models. Including the Kalpa Qualité Fleurie.
Kalpa Qualité Fleurier
At face value, the Kalpa Qualité Fleurier appears simpler than the Kalpa Chronometre, Hebdomadaire and Chronor. It is, after all, a time-and-date display only watch. It isn’t as complicated, but it is by no means less advanced. The Kalpa Qualité Fluerier (it’s Qualité Fleurier certified) is arguably one of the most impressive watches from Parmigiani Fleurier. The attention to detail is astounding.
Fleurier Quality Foundation
Co-created by Parmigiani Fleurier in 2004, the Fleurier Quality Foundation is a neutral, objective and accessible certification body. It’s accessible yet stringent. Receiving certification from the Foundation is an impressive achievement, as it takes all aspects of watch into account. The final step involves the Fleuritest (video below).
- The watch must be entirely designed, produced, assembled and tested in Switzerland, with each component accompanied by a certificate of origin.
- Only traditional materials (precious or not) are permitted. Plastics are prohibited. Decoration must reflect expertise or add value. Every component is thoroughly examined.
- Each movement must pass COSC (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres) testing. Not only are Qualité Fleurier certified watches beautifully made and decorated, but they must also demonstrate flawless timekeeping.
- Watches must pass the Chronofiable, this involves a simulated ageing cycling equivalent to six months on the wrist. This involves push and pull tests on the stem and push-pieces, magnetic field and water resistance tests, and a series of shocks on the pendulum impact tester.
- Finally, watches are subject to 24 hours in a computer-controlled simulator known as the Fleuritest (video above). The Fleuritest precisely mimics ordinary day-to-day activities – putting on a sweatshirt, jogging, looking for something in a bag; all the while measuring the watch’s timekeeping performance.
This time around for the first time, the Kalpa is housed within an 18K red gold case that has been polished by hand. In Michel’s original quest for harmony and avoidance of straight lines, the case is parabolic in shape. It comfortably hugs the wrist thanks both to the tonneau shape and its curved lugs. Measuring in at 42.3 mm by 32.1 mm, it’s quite thin at 10.1 mm. Sapphire crystal is found on both the front and the back.
The dial is pure Parmigiani Fleurier, featuring an array of textures and patterns. Framing the inner opaline centre is a black “Tresse” guilloché flange which is characteristic by its hand-worked guilloché “braid-effect” motif. Its delta-shaped (luminescent coated) hands are particularly striking. The case may not be angular, but the gilded rose gold-plated indices and hands certainly are. The play of light and contrast between the rose gold and the deep black dial is striking and only further enhances the legibility of the watch.
Inside the Kalpa Qualité Fleurier is the 29-jewel automatic PF442 movement, and all 206 of its components have been meticulously made in Switzerland. One standout feature of this movement, unbeknownst to the casual observer, is its series-mounted double barrel, which helps to stabilise the distribution of energy and ensure its transmission to the regulator at a constant level. It’s wound via a 22-carat gold oscillating weight and when fully wound has a power reserve of 55 hours. Bridges are decorated with two layers of Côtes de Genève, creating a diamond patterned appearance. Ticking at 4 Hz (28,800 A/h). The Kalpa Qualité Fleurier is water-resistant to 30 metres.
From Australia to Singapore, Malaysia to Thailand – our goal is to promote watch culture the world over, by sharing the stories of watches we love. You’re more than welcome to stop by one of our boutiques, say hi and have a look at Parmigiani Fleurier watches in person. We’d absolutely love to guide you in your watch collecting journey. Have a question? Drop us a line. We look forward to hearing from you.
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