On December 7th, 2016, aBlogtoWatch invited guests in Miami, Florida, for a holiday party with Swiss watchmaker Parmigiani Fleurier. Other than it being an excuse for watch lovers to gather and converse, it was a chance for Parmigiani to show off their exhibition of 20 movements to celebrate 20 years of the brand. We also headed to the Miami Super Car Rooms to check out some automobiles and have dinner.
In 1996, Mr. Michel Parmigiani had the incredibly fortunate opportunity to start a new company, under his name, backed by the powerful Sandoz family. Both a watch brand and an high-horology manufacture supplier, Parmigiani today is an important part of the luxury watch landscape, and their own watches represent a true independent spirit that does not need to answer to shareholders or finicky investors.
Being independent allows the brand to basically do what they like. With a volume of around 5,000 watches per year and prices going from a few thousand dollars to over two million dollars, the variety consumers can expect from the boutique yet capable manufacture is impressive.
In Miami at the Parmigiani boutique store in the Miami Design District, guests and myself got to see the history of Parmigiani movements visually as well as check out their admittedly really nice store space. I didn’t know this until visiting the brand in Miami, but in addition to the watch store in the Miami Design District, there is the Parmigiani Gallery, which is nearby in trendy Wynwood. What is the Parmigiani Gallery? Good question. It is an art gallery with little, if at all, to do with watches. A neat place, it certainly adds character to the brand.
While with Parmigiani, I got to check out a nice little limited edition that I think well-encapsulates the brand’s strength and character. Limited to just 10 pieces, the Parmigiani Kalpa Hebdomadaire Anniversaire has a steel case but a solid gold movement. Pretty cool, right? The ballsy approach is similar to some F.P. Journe watches that match a precious metal movement to a steel case. It’s really the type of formal-looking watch you wear when attending a gathering with other watch lovers so you can surprise them when you take it off and show them the movement. With that said, the watch price is aligned with that of gold models, so this isn’t what I would call an item of budget horology.
Parmigiani’s Kalpa will continue to evolve over the next few years, but this version presents it in a very handsome form. The nicely polished steel case is Parmigiani’s own tonneau shape with those teardrop-style lugs that I continue to very much appreciate – and it is also comfortable. Of course, the design is polarizing, and it is intended to be. Size-wise, the Parmigiani Kalpa Hebdomadaire Anniversaire is 37.2mm wide and 44.7mm tall with 11.2mm of thickness. Attached to the case is an Hermes alligator strap. Both the strap and dial color are referred as “Havana” color, which appears to be a greenish brown, and it has a handsome look to it.
The Parmigiani Kalpa Hedbomadaire Anniversaire gets very interesting when it comes to the esteemed movement which looks so good through the sapphire crystal caseback. Hedbomadaire means one week. The in-house made Parmigiani caliber PF110 is an existing movement but rendered uniquely for this model. It has eight days of power reserve operating at 3Hz (21,600 bph) being manually wound. The movement’s main bridges and plate are in solid 18k yellow gold. The uppermost plates are hand-engraved and finished with an Arabesque motif which, I believe, is meant to remind you of the teardrop shape we see being a theme of the Parmigiani aesthetic.
Functionally, the PF110 movement has the time with subsidiary seconds dial, date (I’m not against the open date window here), and power reserve indicator. I do think the hands could be a touch longer, but they are wide and visible which makes legibility pretty good. I also appreciate that despite this being a dress-style watch, the hands are painted with luminant for darkness visibility. Also note the light but effective level of decoration on the dial.
Next year, in 2017, Parmigiani promises a large shuffle of their current collection with not only lots of refinements and improvements, but also more designs (not just movements) that are influenced by Michel Parmigiani directly. With that said, there are some good gems in the collection such as the Parmigiani Kalpa Hebdomadaire, and this Anniversaire version with its more humble steel case and beautiful, hidden gold movement is a great example of how people should perceive the sentiments of the brand now and into the future. Limited to just 10 pieces, the Parmigiani Kalpa Hebdomadaire Anniversaire watch has a retail price of $65,000. parmigiani.com