Taming the flow of time, calendars, defined as systems that determine the beginning, length, and divisions of a civil year, have long played an instrumental role in higher developed cultures and societies. There are many examples from ancient times, such as the Egyptian Calendar or Mayan Calendar, which testify to how advanced and sophisticated the scientific observations of the night sky, the orbits of the sun and moon as well as the planets were.
The Chinese calendar is a combination of both a solar and lunar calendar. Its year consists of 12 months of alternately 29 and 30 days, equal to 354 days, or approximately 12 full lunar cycles. Intercalary months are inserted to keep the calendar year in step with the solar year of about 365 days. Months are referred to by number within a year and also by a series of twelve animal names that from ancient times have been attached to years. This cycle is repeated every sixty years.
To create a mechanical movement that takes into account this complex system is a challenge that only very few manufacturers can accomplish. Parmigiani Fleurier belongs to this elite circle. In fact, its founder, the famous master watchmaker and restaurateur Michel Parmigiani, is an expert on this field. After creating a Hebrew and a Muslim Hijiri calendar as well as sophisticated calendar watches based on the Gregorian calendar, he now demonstrates its expertise with a complete Chinese calendar, called the Tonda PF Xiali Calendar.
A complete Chinese calendar, this high horology timepiece displays all its elements. From the hours and minutes, to the month, which includes an additional month when applicable (i.e., every three years). It also accounts for both the short month (29 days) and long month (30 days). It depicts solar terms as corresponding to 24 divisions of 15° of the sun’s path along the ecliptic (the sun’s trajectory as seen from the earth) with a pointer and name of the year. Finally, the watch includes the indication of the zodiac animal and the elements with alternating colors, whether Yin or Yang alongside a numbering of the days and moon-phases.
All of this information is staged on the characteristic grain d’orge guilloché dial of the Tonda PF collection and framed by a knurled bezel made from 950 platinum. The Tonda PF Xiali Calendar features a stainless steel case which measures 42mm in diameter and is only 12.2mm thick. Considering the complexity of the self-winding movement, PF008, which consists of no less than 353 parts, the modest height is quite a feat. It goes without saying that the exhibition case back display has top-notch finishings, such as beveling, perlage and Geneva stripes in accordance with the highest Swiss standards.
Pricing for the Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF Xiali Calendar is marked at approximately $63,000 when converted to USD.
To learn more, visit Parmigiani Fleurier, here.