The perpetual calendar is a famously challenging complication for watchmakers, as it mechanically tracks the Gregorian calendar (most typically) with all its quirks, including varying lengths of months and leap years. It’s technically difficult to build, but somewhat familiar within high-end watchmaking. Swiss watchmaker Parmigiani has upped the ante, however, by using the Muslim lunar calendar in the new Tonda Hegirien perpetual calendar watch.
Watches built specifically with Muslim users in mind have taken various forms and Arabic watches seem to be having a moment lately — like the recent Breitling Navitimer 8, for example. The Hijri, as the Muslim lunar calendar is called, however, is rare and novel in mechanical watches. Hijri months have different lengths than Gregorian ones, and result in differences of -10 to -12 days per year, so the months don’t always correspond to seasons. Representing the way celestial movements are calculated in this system naturally required quite different mechanical solutions than those of the conventional Gregorian (solar) perpetual calendar complication. The brand says its movement will (theoretically) be accurate for 2,500 years.
Like other Parmigiani watches, the idea for this watch came from the brand’s incredible work restoring exceptional mechanical items. Specifically, the Tonda Hegirien is based on a combination of restoration experience with a lunar calendar and later a pocket watch featuring a solar calendar translated into Arabic. This first resulted in a Hijri calendar table clock, but now the brand has put it in the form of a 44.5mm-wide wristwatch living in its Tonda collection. The automatic movement, highly finished down to its last component, is visible through a sapphire crystal display case back.
At this level of price and craftsmanship, of course, customers can work with the brand to request custom features, but in this configuration with a platinum case the Parmigiani Tonda Hegirien Perpetual Calendar watch can be yours for $80,000.