Parmigiani Fleurier’s most recognisable timepiece, the Kalpa, has once again gotten a facelift. The new Kalpagraphe Chronometre is a riff on that iconic timepiece — a daring tool watch dressed in titanium.
Originally introduced in 2001, the Kalpa possessed several design signatures that remain distinctive (to this day) within the watchmaking community. Among the most common are the delta hands, teardrop lugs, a movement that is tonneau shaped, and (of course) the now-infamous 8-day power reserve. For SIHH 2019, Parmigiani designers expanded on this lineage by adding a new titanium variety of the Kalpa chrono that collectors know and enjoy. Dubbed the Kalpagraphe Chronometre Titanium, this novelty highlights Parmigiani’s distinctive design language while embodying the ultra-modern aesthetic which many sport chrono collectors love. The titanium case and open-worked dial are obvious new updates to the Kalpa aesthetic, but a host of improvements have also been made underneath the hood.
Up until a few years ago, Parmigiani’s preferred construction method for chronographs was modular: the “module” containing said complication would be positioned over a base — usually comprising one of the brand’s self-winding movements. In 2018, Parmigiani broke with this practice to instead offer a new integrated chronograph — a much taller order in terms of craft and engineering — known as the PF362. The movement has clearly been designed with high-performance situations in mind.
Made in-house at the Parmigiani manufacture in Val-de-Travers, the PF362 is a COSC-certified self-winding movement which offers wearers a 65-hour power reserve. The result of 6 years’ development, the PF362 operates at a frequency of 36,000 vph — on-par with Zenith’s iconic A386 movement — and is capable of recording in intervals of one tenth of a second. In terms of movement configuration, the PF362 utilises a standard column wheel and clutch layout. Finishing is at a level commensurate with what you’d expect from Parmigiani: incorporating anglage; Geneva striping; and various hand-decorated motifs such as barleycorn guilloché on the rotor.
At SIHH, the new Kalpagraphe chrono was easily the most-talked-about novelty at the Parmigiani booth. Its sleek, sporty, monochromatic look exudes presence, without drawing too much attention away from the open-worked dial. The case is finished using a micro-blasting technique that yields alternately matte and polished surfaces — perfect for wear in all but the most formal of circumstances.
The titanium construction makes the watch a comfortable all-day wearer, and while aesthetics are always a matter of personal preference, we think the slate/black colour scheme on the dial makes this a great option for versatile styling. The latter area has seemingly been the focus of significant effort: thanks to an innovative laser cutting technique, the skeletonising is reminiscent of a radiator grille; and has been used on the central hour/minute hands — which are hollow in the centre and coated with luminescent tips. Undoubtedly, however, it is the bicoloured running seconds hand (at 6 o’clock) that presents as the quirkiest feature: the silver segment indicates the first 30 seconds of one minute; whereas the latter 30 seconds are read using a longer red segment.
The Kalpagraphe Chronometre Titanium is priced at HK$286,000. To learn more, visit Parmigiani Fleurier online.