The GPHG winning Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda Hijri Perpetual Calendar – A Calendar Watch With A Novel Twist
Editor’s note: This is a Mind (stats), Body (design features) & Soul (what’s special) review of the Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda Hijri Perpetual Calendar watch. For our detailed reviews, please head to our dedicated review section here.
What is it: The GPHG winning Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda Hijri Perpetual Calendar ref. PFH980-2000110-HA1482
Why: Because the brand Parmigiani Fleurier knows how to travel on its own path, producing mechanical marvels that defy the norms. And because the brand wished to innovate by releasing the first ever Hijri perpetual calendar wristwatch
When released: December 2019
Where: Available globally, not a limited edition release per se, but marked xx/20 (per year if I am not wrong)
Who is it for: Primarily for the Middle-Eastern market that abides by the Hijri calendar I would say, but frankly it’s for anyone who appreciates fine watchmaking.
How does it do: It’s a beauty that offers something different. And mechanically impressive at the same time. Also, the timepiece is adorned with contextual references to the Middle East and Islam.
We admire the fact — especially since I come from an architectural background — that the Maison has not taken shortcuts and brought authenticity to the timepieces.
Arabic architecture inspired elements have been used such as the bridges adopt the shape of growing and shrinking crescent moons and the Rub el Hizb, an Islamic symbol, is represented by two overlapping squares.
As far as I am aware use of gold by men is forbidden in Islam and the new watch takes that into account. Neither the material — platinum is used here — nor the components are made of gold.
The dial also shows the name and length of the months in Arabic calligraphy, including the month of fasting Ramadan in red.
Missing: A smaller size would be highly welcome. An increased water-resistant would be appreciated, and so would be a stainless steel — more affordable — model
The reference PFH980-2000110-HA1482 features the calibre PF009 which is an automatic-winding perpetual calendar movement.
The movement beats at the frequency of 4Hz (28’800 A/h) and offers an okay 48-hour power reserve.
The movement can be admired through the sapphire crystal display caseback that has a Hijri perpetual calendar engraving and features hand-beveled and decorated components featuring large Côtes de Genève and a platinum oscillating weight with “Grain d’Orge” guilloché pattern.
The 33.3mm diameter and 5.7mm thick movement is encased inside a rather large 44.5mm diameter and 14.09mm thick polished platinum case with a display caseback featuring the ‘Hijri perpetual calendar’ engraving.
The watch face shows the functions of central hours, minutes and seconds; a Hijri perpetual calendar, and a moon-phase complication at 6’o clock.
It comes on a Hermès alligator strap with pin buckle and the timepiece is only water-resistant up-to 3ATM.
Michel Parmigiani started the namesake company back in 1996. That was 24 years ago. Imbibing values of expert craftsmanship and cutting edge watchmaking skills, in this time they have expanded into five collections: Toric, Kalpa, Tonda, Bugatti, and Ovale.
Parmigiani Fleurier wrapped up 2019 with a stunning addition to their Tonda line, with the Tonda Hijri Perpetual Calendar. Not only was it rather different — and I am using the word different consciously here as this timepiece maybe the only Hijri ‘perpetual’ calendar mechanical timepiece around — it also became the recent winner of the ‘Innovation Prize’ at the GPHG Awards this year.
Competing amongst the likes of the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin Skeleton, the Chopard L.U.C Perpetual Twin and the IWC Schaffhausen Portugieser Yacht Club Moon & Tide, in terms of innovating, this is not Michel Parmigiani’s first rodeo.
He has a fairly long list of horological accomplishments, some off them including the production of the Calibre 90, an automatic pocket watch designed for the Breguet firm in 1990; breathing new life into the “Pendule Sympathique” clock by Breguet in 1991, and invention of and patent registration for the thirty-year continuous calendar clock concept in 1993.
For this honour, Davide Traxler, CEO of Parmigiani Fleurier said: “We would like to thank all the people who collaborated with us on this incredible project… At Parmigiani Fleurier we stand strong in our belief in solidarity, in the power of community, in being inspired by the work of greats who have come before us, in inspiring future generations, and sharing the gifts of watchmaking with industry colleagues and those around the globe who appreciate the artistry of our work. The international community of watch admirers and devotees is a motley of cultures and traditions; we celebrate this diversity in our own way with the Hijri Perpetual Calendar, and we hope that — as an industry and as citizens of the world — we will also embrace it in the people we choose to represent and lead us”.
The Tonda Hijri is not the first time that Michel Parmigiani has put his stamp on the world of Islamic continuous lunar calendar timepieces though. His first work came in the form of a clock back in November 2010 which he presented at a world premiere for the Middle Eastern press and was inspired by the restoration work of a pocket watch featuring an Arabic calendar.
The Islamic calendar is bit different than the usual Gregorian calendar the watchmaking world traditionally goes by. Unlike the Gregorian calendar, the Islamic version is based on the cycles of the moon.
The Hijri or Islamic lunar calendar consists of twelve months of 29 or 30 days — depending on the moon phase — and is used to pinpoint the days for Islamic holidays. Given that the months of the lunar calendar change annually by a difference of -10 to -12 days, each month always falls on a different season, and now can understand how this makes it very different from the traditional perpetual calendar watches we are used to.
Besides the calendar complication, another striking aspect is the dial. The slate coloured dial is made of brass and features a sun-ray brushed look. Very elegant, very understated. Since the dial face already has a lot going on it, the skeletonised delta-shaped and the use of colours red — to indicated the month of Ramadan at 3’o clock — and orange help the readability of the dial.
Overall, the GPHG winning Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda Hijri Perpetual Calendar is not only a mechanical marvel but it also caters to the idea of celebrating different cultures.
For more information on the Tonda Hijri Perpetual Calendar and other Parmigiani Fleurier watches, head to their website here. All images unless stetted otherwise © Parmigiani Fleurier.