Michel Parmigiani was still celebrating his new role as a brand owner—he founded Parmigiani Fleurier in 1996—when he envisioned a watch driven by the practical consideration of comfort and ergonomics.
“I wanted to create a piece whose dimensions were as universal as possible, a watch that could be worn comfortably on any wrist,” he recalls. Pointing to a Kalpa on his own wrist, he alludes to the fit that is so well proportioned, you can hardly feel the watch's weight.
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A prototype watch profile made out of cardboard was tried out on his family and colleagues, through which he arrived at what he felt were ideal dimensions. “I began to sketch the Kalpa, following the curve of the wrist. I wanted neither straight lines nor sharp angles. The tonneau shape was a logical consequence of this process.”
Once the case design was finalised, attention shifted to the movement resulting in one of the few deliberately tonneau-shaped movements in the industry. It was also Parmigiani Fleurier’s first in-house movement, a manual wound with eight-day power reserve made possible by two series-mounted barrels.
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“When you consider the horological masterpieces of the past, you never find any discordance between the movement and the case,” says Parmigiani, who spent years working as a watch restorer.
“You never see a round movement in a tonneau case. The shapes were in harmony because the elements of the watch were produced simultaneously,” he further adds.
The result was the Kalpa Hebdomadaire, Parmigiani Fleurier’s second wristwatch, which has since become a mainstay of the brand.