With a background like Michel Parmigiani’s, involving a lifetime immersed in the mysteries of five centuries of watchmaking, his attraction to calendars is unsurprising. In the past, timekeeping was based more on the seasonal and the cyclic than on the charting of the smaller segments of time that rule us. And the elegance of registering longer periods of time would seem to voice Parmigiani’s philosophy.
He says as much. “The calendar is a man-made system designed to be in balance with the seasons and phases of our planet. The rotation of the earth around the sun imposes these on us and we record them with the respect of an enthralled observer. The annual calendar and its moonphase reflect the cosmic order that governs us.”
With the Tonda Annual Calendar, powered by the new Calibre PF339, based on the PF331 automatic movement, Parmigiani Fleurier addresses a specific passion of the founder. It features both a retrograde annual calendar and an elegant moon phase display. For Parmigiani, this combination of two coveted complications empowers a timepiece “wholly devoted to astronomy, as it transcribes the rotation of the earth in relation to both the sun and the moon”. It just may be one of the least cluttered annual calendars available, its clarity such that its functions are self-explanatory.
At the top of the dial is an arc running from 8 to 4 o’clock, for a truly legible retrograde date display, a red crescent cupping each large numeral in turn. Once a year for three years, the owner has to interact with it: Parmigiani has opted for a date system that adjusts automatically for 30 or 31 day months, while it presumes 29 days for February, whether or not it is a leap year. Hence, there are three annual adjustments by the user, with the fourth offering respite from this duty.
Parmigiani calls its lunar tracker the “precision moonphase” because it only needs correcting once every 122 years. The moonphase shows the earth’s satellite as viewed from both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, thus eliminating the need to offer two models; this will delight wearers who often criss-cross the equator.
Deliciously understated, the Tonda Annual Calendar features a dial with elements that appear to float. Despite the wealth of information imparted, the dial enjoys enhanced legibility and the added charm of a near-3D effect. Its hands are slimmer and more elongated than previously, while still respecting proportions that adhere to the golden ratio, beloved of Michel Parmigiani. The Tonda Annual Calendar is available in two versions: a rose-gold case with a white grained dial and a white-gold case with a black opaline dial. And both are just gorgeous.
PF339 self-winding manufacture movement; annual calendar; 50-hour power reserve
40mm rose gold or white gold
Hermès black alligator leather with folding buckle in rose or white gold