Watches with gems that represent the colors of regional flags

On the joyous occasion of Eid Al Adha, Parmigiani Fleurier have announced the release of three new gem-set variations of its award-winning Tonda Hijri Perpetual Calendar in a limited series of three gem-set models. In line with the intention of the original Tonda Hijri Perpetual Calendar to respect the Muslim community’s adherence to dress codes that counsel men against wearing gold ornaments, the three new Tonda Hijri Perpetual Calendar models are housed in platinum cases, and gold is not used for any of the movement components. 

Watches with gems that represent the colors of regional flags

“The Tonda Hijri Perpetual Calendar was the culmination of the maison’s endeavor to create a timepiece that was inspired by the rich cultural and religious heritage of Arabic and Muslim civilization, while also drawing on the brand’s years of dedication to technical excellence and creativity,” said Guido Terreni, CEO of Parmigiani Fleurier. “These novelties are meant as distinctive collector’s items, a salute to the region’s love for art, culture and fine craftsmanship, while at the same time, acknowledging the region’s immense contributions to human culture and civilization.”

The new models come in cases set either with diamonds, rubies or emeralds, with the exact shade of rubies and emeralds selected specifically to pay tribute to the national colors of the countries in the Middle East region. Each gem-set variation of the Tonda Hijri Perpetual Calendar is limited to 10 pieces only, a true horological exclusivity.

The Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda Hijri Perpetual Calendars are sophisticated watch mechanisms that can keep track of various calendrical irregularities such as the fluctuating number of days in a month, displaying the date accurately despite these irregularities. 

Traditionally considered one of the most prestigious watchmaking complications, and featuring among the three horological functions that constitute a Grande Complication, the perpetual calendar is almost without exception configured to represent the Gregorian system.

Creating the automatic in-house PF009 caliber of the Tonda Hijri Perpetual Calendar was therefore a drastic departure from watchmaking convention. It required a completely reworked calendar mechanism that was only possible to develop through the extensive experience and skill of master watchmaker, restorer, historian and brand founder Michel Parmigiani. 

The basis of the PF009 calibre was drawn from a Parmigiani Fleurier table clock launched in 2011, which was itself based on an antique pocket watch with an Arabic calendar display that was personally restored by Michel Parmigiani. 

The three new gem-set variations of the Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda Hijri Perpetual Calendar balance exuberance with sobriety. The appreciation of geometric design and a mathematically abstract approach to beauty is deeply embedded in the aesthetics of Arabic culture. 

This is reflected in the presentation of the gems, which utilize the rectilinear baguette cut, emphasizing clarity and structure. Because the baguette cut imparts comparatively less sparkle, or “fire”, than a round brilliant cut, it is imperative that all the gems used in the Tonda Hijri Perpetual Calendar are as internally flawless as possible and are consistent in hue.

Diamonds, rubies and emeralds - these three gemstones were deliberately chosen to represent the national colors of countries in the Middle East. Green is a shade with particular significance in the Islamic world, while red and white are present in almost every national flag across the region.

Other design elements that pay tribute to the Arab world include two shaped bridges of the movement, resembling the waxing and waning moon, the date bridge in the form of the Arabic symbol known as the Rub el Hizb, and the Arabesque form of the calendar levers. The dial indications are in Arabic script, and the numbers are expressed in the Indo-Arabic numerals commonly used in the region. 

The guillochage decorating the winding rotor of the PF009 calibre is a signature of Parmigiani Fleurier, and is conventionally referred to as grain d’orge, or barleycorn, but its rippling wave-like pattern across the noble platinum surface of the rotor echoes another precious commodity in the arid landscapes of the Middle East - water.

In 2020, the watch industry recognized the exceptional work performed in creating the Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda Hijri Perpetual Calendar, with a panel of watch experts at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) judging it to be the top watch in the category of Calendar and Astronomy timepieces that year.