In 2016, the world celebrated a leap year where February 29th suddenly returns only to disappear again in 2017. Our calendar system isn’t exactly scientifically sound, but watchmakers and their movements have perfected the calendar movement. There are various types of horological calendars and listed below are watchmakers that devote money, research and development to creating innovative calendar complications.
The Original Smart Watches
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Yellow Gold
One of the most complicated watches is the perpetual calendar. The timepieces that boast this title have to take into account leap years, which takes some serious engineering. This year at SIHH in Geneva, Audemars Piguet unveiled a new perpetual calendar placed in their iconic Royal Oak design. Although this is already exciting, instead of using steel, AP used yellow gold.
This watch is partly based on the 1984 Royal Oak perpetual calendar designed by Jacqueline Dimier, but the leap year indication is instead at noon while the astronomical moon is at six o’clock. Personally I think this is one of Audemars Piguet’s best introductions this year (plus the Royal Oak Supersonnerie) because the classic Royal Oak design is transformed into a dressier and sleeker watch. The textured Grande-Tapisserie blue dial features hour-markers with luminescent coating.
Flip the watch over and the wearer can admire the new Caliber 5134, which is fully visible through the sapphire crystal caseback. The Caliber has 374 parts and a power reserve of 40 hours.
IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar 5033
IWC continues to introduce perpetual calendars into their collections, and to celebrate 75 years of the Portugieser, the watchmaker placed a perpetual calendar complication in the iconic model.
As stated above, perpetual calendars are notoriously tricky because of their accurate representation of the not so accurate Gregorian calendar. The striking white dial displays the moon phase at 12 o’clock. The display only diverges by just one day in 577.5 years from the actual of the moon.
The perpetual calendar is even more precise, aided by the Glucydur® beryllium alloy indexless balance with high-precision adjustment screws on balance rim. The alloy has a low coefficient of thermal expansion, low magnetization and resistance to deformation, making the material perfect for precision watchmaking parts.
Baume & Mercier Clifton Complete Calendar Chronograph
Baume & Mercier is the lowest price-point on this list, but a lower price doesn’t necessarily mean lower quality. This specific piece was one of the standouts in the Clifton collection because of its Valjoux 7751 caliber, which offers two functional complications: a complete calendar and chronograph.
The watch line is inspired by designs from the Golden Fifties and appeals to anyone with a masculine edge. The complete calendar complications just means that the watch displays month, day and date. Even though these two complications are included in this timepiece, the size is 43mm and doesn’t wear too large even on small wrists. The watch is placed on an ergonomic seven-row bracelet in polished/satin-finished steel.
Govberg Jewelers currently also has this watch available in the pre-owned inventory.
Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Ref. 5146G
Like any Patek Philippe, an in-house manufactured movement, the Caliber 324 S IRM QA LU almost overshadows the classic Patek design of this piece. Functions include day and month by hands, date which is located in the lower aperture, moon phases and an annual calendar.
The movement is visible through the caseback, and it’s tempting to just stare at the back of the watch. The watchmaker’s seal is emblazed on gold within the movement, while the movement architecture and gold engraving is worth the price tag.
An annual calendar complication is an accurate calendar display that remains correct for all non-leap years. In 1996, the first annual calendar was actually patented by Patek Philippe. Up until this point, there were only two types of calendar available in a watch, plain or perpetual. What’s great about this mechanism is that it is entirely rotary, one of the reasons the Ref. 5035 won “Watch of the Year” in 1996.