Tonda PF Xiali Calendar,
a World Premiere with a Chinese complete calendar
More than just a calendar, Xiali is an ode to the calendars and civilizations of the world through the Swiss mechanical art so dear to Parmigiani Fleurier since its founding.
Xiali: The Chinese Traditional Complete Calendar
Throughout history, man has sought to control time, to predict and chart its flow, in order to better organize the rhythm of social, religious and agricultural life.
The calendar, which is universal, allows us to identify dates that are inscribed like milestones in the flow of time.
We have long been fascinated by this cultural phenomenon and present the Tonda PF Xiali Calendar, an extremely complex creation, that follows up the Gregorian and Muslim Calendars, developed by our Maison.
The calendar functions are among the most fascinating, mirroring civilizations and societies, receptacles of belief, and indefinable phenomena such as the movement of shadows, alternation of seasons, and the mysteries of the lunar cycle. Together, such phenomena play a vital role in human activity.
The Radiography of Civilizations
Calendars are a radiography of civilizations. It’s something magical because the calendar comes from the observation of humans as well as of nature. By observing nature, one can travel through history and trace the development of civilizations. Calendars were born from a need to understand nature’s seasons and anticipating the phenomenal of nature’s nurturing.
– Michel Parmigiani, Founder and Master Watchmaker.
A Deep Dive into the Xiali:
The Chinese Traditional Complete Calendar
The Chinese Calendar is complex, as it combines elements of both a solar and a lunar calendar, which are calculated separately and then synchronized.
This is accomplished by the addition of an extra lunar or intercalary month. This 13th month, which allows the two cycles to coincide, occurs approximately every three years.
The Chinese calendar divides the solar year into 24 solar terms, or breaths, which symbolize the agricultural calendar.
The New Year appears according to precise rules and takes the name of the month that precedes it.
The calculation is complex but allows us to follow the seasons and to set the Chinese New Year at the arrival of spring, which varies between the end of January and the end of February in our calendar — between January 21 and February 19.
Unlike the Gregorian calendar, which names the months and numbers the years, the Chinese calendar names the lunar years and numbers the months.
The names of the years are repeated on a 60-year (sexagesimal) cycle, but the calendar including dates, days and months is calculated on the basis of astronomical observations and varies. Because these calculations vary, it is impossible to make a “perpetual” Chinese calendar.
Our creation goes as far as it is possible to go in creating the most complete, and most precise, Chinese calendar in the form of a timepiece.
The numbering system of the time units is based on the combination of a decimal cycle, the ten Celestial Stems, and a duodecimal cycle, the twelve Earthly Branches.
The 10 Celestial Stems serve the function of assigning elements to seasons and the planets — water, wood, metal, fire, and earth. The 12 Earthly Branches correspond to the signs of the zodiac: each is represented by an animal, which designates the years of the sexagesimal cycle and will influence the destiny and character of human beings born in that year.
The Tonda PF Xiali Calendar
We have succeeded in condensing all of this complex information on a dial: hours and minutes; the display of the month and its numbering; an additional month when applicable (i.e., every three years); short month (29 days) or long month (30 days); 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); pointer and name of the year; indication of the animal and the elements with alternating colors, whether Yin or Yang; numbering of the days and moon-phases.
All the information and adjustments are made quickly thanks to the various correctors located on both sides of the case middle. The watch conceals an extremely sophisticated mechanism in the new movement, Calibre PF008, which allows for the display of this information in the classical Chinese characters. As the Chinese calendar is not cyclical, the complication is mechanically programmed and covers a period of 12 years via a cam system.
An Imperial Purity
In addition to extending the calendar theme so dear to our Maison, the Tonda PF Xiali Calendar also reinforces the sartorial codes of the Tonda PF collection. The entire development and design process of this timepiece was a balancing act.
Complication does not necessarily mean complexity. The challenge of creating such a calendar has been pushed to the very last detail while ensuring that the codes of the Tonda PF collection are respected.
The multi-level dial, with rhodium-plated 18ct white gold appliqués and skeletonized hour and minute hands, is executed in Imperial Red with a “barley grain” guilloché pattern enhancing its surface.
The stainless steel case has a knurled bezel in 950 platinum, while the integrated bracelet, in the same material, promises comfort and elegance on the wrist. As is customary to us, the caseback is open to reveal the movement and its decorations through a sapphire crystal.
The Côtes de Genève finish and skeletonized oscillating weight in 18-carat pink gold bring lightness and openness to this exceptional calibre.
The Dial Explanation
1. Subdial at 12:00
1st level: name of the year
2nd level: animal
3rd level element + ying/yang
2. Subdial at 09:00
Month number (1 to 12)
3. Subdial at 03:00
Day number and indication if today is a long or short day
4. Subdial at 06:00
Moon phase indication
PF008 – COMPLETE CHINESE CALENDAR, MOON PHASE INDICATOR
Power reserve: 54 hours
Frequency: 28,800 Vph (4 Hz)
No. of components: 353
Diameter: 32.6 mm
Thickness: 6.9 mm
Decoration: Côtes de Genève, beveled bridges
Oscillating weight: 22ct rose gold¸ skeletonized, polished and sandblasted
Polished and satin-finished stainless steel with platinum 950 knurled bezel
Diameter: 42 mm
Thickness: 12.2 mm
Crown: Ø 6 mm, screwed-in
Glass: ARunic anti-reflective sapphire
Case back: sapphire glass
Engraving on case back: serial number – “PARMIGIANI FLEURIER”
Water resistance: 100 m
Color: Imperial Red
Finishing: Grain d’Orge guilloché
Indices: 18ct gold rhodium-plated appliques
Moon phase: blue aventurine
Hours and minutes: 18ct gold rhodium-plated skeleton delta-shaped
Seconds and calendar: rhodium-plated steel
Polished and satin-finished stainless steel
Closure: stainless steel folding clasp
The 24 solar terms :
- Beginning of spring (lì chun)
- Rain Water (yu shui): Rainfall and temperatures rise. Buds begin to cover the landscape, river ice melts, wild geese migrate from south to north, trees and grass grow greener.
- Awakening of Insects (jing zhé): The burst of spring that brings insects to life and wakes hibernating animals from their slumber marks the peak of spring agricultural activities.
- Spring Equinox (chun fen): The day when the sun is directly over the equator, creating equal lengths of day and night, before it moves north, producing a gradual lengthening of days in the northern hemisphere and nights in the southern hemisphere.
- Pure Brightness (qing míng)
- Grain rain (gu yu) : The early crops begin showing their shoots, according to the proverb that “rain makes hundreds of cereals grow,” making this an important period for the harvest.
- Beginning of Summer (li xia) : Today the sun’s rays are at an angle of 45 degrees to the Earth. Temperatures rise rapidly in southern China, but in northern China the weather remains mild.
- Small Full (Grain) (xiao man) Grain Buds: The grains begin to ripen but have not yet reached maturity.
- Grain in Ear (máng zhong): The ripening of crops such as barley and wheat prompts farmers to begin summer planting.
- Summer Solstice (xià zhì): The longest daytime and shortest nighttime: during this time, much of the northern hemisphere receives many hours of sunshine without the highest temperatures, which will not come until 20 to 30 days later.
- Minor Heat (xiao shu): The hottest period is underway, but the extreme heat has yet to arrive.
- Intense heat: At this time, most areas of China enter the hottest season of the year, with temperatures in many cities reaching over 35 degrees.
- Beginning of autumn (lì qiu): Summer is over and the season of plenty approaches.
- Limit of Heat (chù shu ) End of Heat: Most parts of China bid farewell to the summer heat and enter autumn.
- White Dew (bái lù): The true beginning of autumnal coolness: temperatures gradually drop and the water vapor in the air condenses into a white dew that covers the grass and trees at night.
- Autumn Equinox (qiu fen): After this day of equal length day and night, which divides autumn into two equal parts, the direct radiation of sunlight moves southward; in the northern hemisphere, the days become shorter and the nights longer.
- Cold Dew (hán lù): At this time, temperatures are much lower than during the white dew in most parts of China. The dew is thicker and colder, and rain tapers off.
- Frost’s Descent (shuang jiàng): The last solar term of autumn is marked by the weather becoming much colder and frosts forming in the north.
- Start of Winter (lì dong) Beginning of Winter: Winter arrives, and farmers bring in the autumn harvest.
- Minor Snow (xiao xue): Snow begins to fall, mainly in northern China, and temperatures continue to drop.
- Major Snow (dà xue): Snow becomes deeper and heavier, accumulating on the ground as temperatures drop to near zero in northern China.
- Winter Solstice (dong zhì): The daytime hour of the solstice is the shortest while the night hours are the longest.
- Minor cold (xiao hán): Most of China enters the phase of severe winter cold. The ground and rivers are frozen. The cold air from the north extends to the south.
- Major Cold (dà hán): In the last solar term of the lunar calendar, snow, rain and freezing weather weigh heavily on people’s lives.
The 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac:
- The Rat鼠
- The Ox牛
- The Tiger 虎
- The Rabbit兔
- The Dragon龍
- The Snake蛇
- The Horse馬
- The Goat羊
- The Monkey猴
- The Rooster鷄
- The Dog狗
- The Pig豬