Parmigiani Fleurier presents the world’s first Hijri Perpetual Calendar in a wristwatch format. The Hijri Perpetual Calendar – or Islamic Calendar – wristwatch relies on technology developed by Michel Parmigiani for a table clock in 2011, which was, in turn, inspired by the restoration of a pocket watch with an Arabic calendar in 1993. Crafted in precious platinum, the complex QP movement developed by Parmigiani for this watch reflects the idiosyncrasies of the Islamic lunar calendar.
As many of you know, Michel Parmigiani started his horological adventure as a restorer. It is safe to say that Michel Parmigiani has worked on more antique horological artefacts than any other watchmaker. His passion for bringing mechanical masterpieces from bygone days back to life led him to restore pieces from the Maurice Yves Sandoz collection, the greatest collection of pocket watches and automatons in the world. Recognising his exceptional talent, the owners of the Maurice Yves Sandoz collection, encouraged him to set up Parmigiani Fleurier in 1996, in the Swiss mountain town of Fleurier.
The Islamic Calendar
Muslims around the world use the Islamic calendar to determine the dates of important religious events. Known as the Hijri calendar, it is linked to the cycles of the Moon and was established when the Prophet Muhammad and his followers migrated from Mecca to Medina to found the first Muslim community in the year 622, known as the Hijri.
Unlike the Gregorian calendar, which relies on solar time, the Hijri calendar is a lunar calendar composed of 12 lunar months (varying from 29 or 30 days) and used to establish the annual period of Ramadam, when Muslims fast from dawn to sunset, and other important dates like the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, the holiest city for Muslims.
The beginning of each month in the Islamic calendar is based on the astronomical observation of the new Moon by an authorized person from the Muslim community. However, weather conditions or light pollution can interfere with this sighting and the beginning of each month can differ from one Muslim country to another. The Islamic or Hijri calendar lags behind the solar calendar by around 10 to 12 days every year and most Muslim countries use the Islamic calendar for religious purposes and the Gregorian calendar for secular ones.
In Islam, the principle of modesty – Hijab – includes dress codes for men who are banned from wearing silk and gold jewellery. In keeping with this code, no parts of the new Hijri Perpetual Calendar were made from gold. The watch is housed in a luxurious 44.5mm platinum case with polished surfaces and the iconic teardrop lugs and streamlined contours of the elegant Tonda family.
Set against a slate brushed dial, the applied hour markers and the minute track are placed on the periphery of the dial and indicated by skeletonised delta-shaped hands. The date, name and length of the months are written in Arabic calligraphy in the three sub-dials, as are the abundant and common years. Given the importance of the Moon in the Islamic calendar, there is a moon-phase indicator at 6 o’clock set against a blue aventurine sky.
Adapting a QP movement to a lunar calendar
Since traditional perpetual calendars are programmed to account for the different length of the months and the leap years of the Gregorian calendar, the QP movement of this model had to be calibrated to the Islamic lunar calendar. The automatic Hijri perpetual calendar movement developed for this watch – PF009 – offers a power reserve of 48 hours and is beautifully decorated with hand-bevelled finishes and bridges with a crescent-moon design and the classic grain d’orge guilloché decoration on the platinum rotor.
With total independence over its watch production, Parmigiani Fleurier is capable of turning fantasies into realities and makes practically everything at its manufacture, with the exception of the leather straps, which are sourced from Hermès. In this case, the Hijri Perpetual Calendar comes with a black Hermès alligator strap. Retail price is CHF 85,000 and customisation options are available.
More information at parmigiani.com.