Now here is something a little different, and it’s a first for Swiss watchmakers Parmigiani Fleurier. Not a Mandarin perpetual calendar—normally a high-end watch favorite aimed at the Chinese market at this time of the year—but a Hijri or Islamic Perpetual watch with Arabic numerals and Arabic calligraphy pitched against a slate black dial and offered to the Middle Eastern market where Parmigiani Fleurier is not so well known to male consumers.
With a Hijri Calendar, the months are dictated by the moon, and it’s synchronized by means of a moon phase indicator. The beginning of each month is contingent on the visibility of the moon at the end of the previous month. Once the moon is sighted, the new month commences. The days of the month number either 29 or 30 and by observing the moon all Islamic holidays are determined. On the dial of the Hijri Perpetual Calendar, the name and length of each month are written in Arabic script underneath.
The Hijri calendar, which dates back to 622AD, works in contrast to the solar one of the Gregorian calendar used in the western world where the months of the lunar calendar change annually by a difference of -10 to -12 days.
The 44.5mm Hijri Perpetual calendar watch comes in a platinum case and is based on technology developed by Parmigiani Fleurier for a table clock launched in 2011. The inspiration behind the Hijri Perpetual Calendar watch itself was the restoration of a pocket watch featuring an Arabic calendar.
As with all Parmigiani Fleurier movements, part of the reason the price tag is so high is that every single component of the movement, even the hidden parts, are exactingly decorated by in-house specialists who labor for hours over the 414 highly polished and hand engraved parts.
It’s important to note, in consideration of the Middle Eastern market at which this watch is squarely aimed, is that there is no gold used within the piece at all. That’s because gold adornments and silk cloths are prohibited for men to wear as they are considered ‘haram’ or forbidden by Islamic teaching.
Powered by the PF009 automatic caliber, the Hijri Perpetual Calendar, with a 48-hour power reserve, manages to make the complex job of accurately calculating the lunar cycle seem simple, but you’ll need to keep that power reserve ticking on a watch winder because if it winds down the task of resetting it could be a two Tylenol job.
This new piece features a 44.5 mm timepiece with a platinum classic Tonda case, a slate dial, and the rotor in platinum. It shows the years at 12 o’clock, hours, minutes and seconds, as well as the date on the 9 o’clock subdial and a moonphase on an aventurine background at 6 o’clock.
There are subtle Arabic design considerations aplenty including the design of the bridges which apparently adopt the shape of a waxing and waning crescent moon. Also built-in there is the Rub el Hizb, an Islamic geometric symbol comprising two overlapping squares with a circle in the center. The watch comes on a black Hermès alligator strap with a pin buckle.
As is the case with Parmigiani Fleurier, further customization of the model is possible in order to personalize the piece and make it truly one-of-a-kind.
Although not a limited edition, the run will be low with only 40 pieces being made. The price is typically full-on Middle Eastern luxury at US$80,000.