If you should see a queue forming outside your local watch shop in the next few days, it might be due to Valentine’s Day, which falls this Flieger Friday, but rest assured it won’t be a queue to pick up the Parmigiana Fleurier Kalpa Kalparisma White Gold Snow Setting.
First introduced to the Parmigiani collection in 2001, for 2020, this tonneau-shaped diamond-encrusted watch is crafted in white gold with teardrop lugs and eye-catching delta-shaped hands. It will set you back CHF129,000. The cost, however, is certainly justified by the exacting levels of craftsmanship.
The Kalparisma collection is for women who love watches and who love to show off the best in watch craftsmanship and artistry. The Kalparisma collection includes a ladies’ watch with a tourbillon and a ladies’ watch with an integrated chronograph. It’s as if Elizabeth Doerr has thrown down the horological gauntlet to Parmigiani Fleurier.
The collection represents both excellence in mechanical watchmaking and the pure ‘golden ratio’ beauty of its lines. It’s for this reason we are talking niche. Very niche and the Kalparisma Snow is perhaps the most niche of them all, hence the confident prediction that no one will be queuing for this piece outside your local watch store.
The imposing and statement-making 30.1 x 24.2mm Kalpa Kalparisma Snow watch is so-called because of the way the diamonds are set. The word snow in the title should not be confused with the stuff of which snowballs are made. Snow in this instance means costly diamonds of varying shapes set next to each other in a random pattern. This watch is set with no less than 1,379 of them. There are 714 on the dial and 665 on the case, in total that amounts to just under 5 carats.
Snow setting is a jewelry technique first developed by Jaeger-LeCoultre. It’s an apparently random, but in reality, extremely intricate pattern, which creates a sparkling, shimmering interplay of glimmer and fire as the brilliant-cut diamonds catch the light from different angles. The skill of this ‘snow in sunlight’ effect was originally created to represent twinkling sunlight upon the snow in the cradle of Swiss watchmaking, la Vallée de Joux’.
The final display is all down to the expertise of the jeweler deciding upon the correlation and placement of each individually numbered stone. The setter must carefully decide how each of the tiny diamonds will be placed before the tricky work of setting them can even start. The diamonds are helped to look their glittering best by the curved edges of the watch. In this way, they sparkle and gleam at all angles as they catch the light.
With the Kalpa Kalparisma Snow the showy, snowy visual effect is balanced by the quality of the mechanics. The watch runs on an in house PF342 chronometer certified automatic movement with 55 hours of power reserve and a 22ct gold oscillating weight. The chronometer movement ensures an unusual amount of accuracy for a watch most likely worn to evening functions where it’s considered bad form to look at your watch.
The watch strap is by Hermes no less, a black alligator strap with an 18k gold pin setting—not a surprise, as Hermes owns a 25% stake in Parmigiani Fleurier’s movement manufacture. A luxury piece for sure, aimed at the watch collecting lady of means. The only question that remains is, will you be buying one this Valentine’s? There is a more economical option in the Kalpa Piccola watch featuring 865 diamonds and housing Parmigiani’s in-house quartz movement made in gold. Price? Just CHF 89,000.
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