For many, perpetual calendar watches are the pinnacle of watchmaking technology. The mechanisms necessary for a movement to distinguish the 31 days of January from the 30 of April, even the 28 days that February lasts every 4 years, are a true prodigy, only within the reach of some Watches Manufacturers.
Is it worth paying for a watch with a perpetual calendar? As fans and experts in this type of machinery, we believe that it is, and we will try to explain it in the next post.
What are perpetual calendar watches?
Perpetual calendar watches are those that are able to defy the inaccuracies of time.
In the calendar that we use in the West there are 7 months of 31 days, 4 months of 30 days and one of 27 or 28 days, watches with a perpetual calendar are capable of adapting to these irregularities.
This ability allows a watch to recognize the month in which it is located, therefore, it will be able to indicate May 1 after April 30, August 1 after July 31 and what is more incredible, the February 28 every 4 years, how?, through a mechanism that is activated every 4 years.
Thomas Mudge is the person who developed the first perpetual calendar in the year 1762, this clock can still be seen, it is in the British Museum in London, however, it would not be until two centuries later when the necessary mechanism to develop a perpetual calendar, it would reach commercial watches. In 1925, Patek Philippe was the first manufacturer capable of mass-producing a fully functional perpetual calendar. Four years later, it was Breguet who launched its own perpetual calendar, in a model that is still on sale today, the Breguet Perpetual Calendar.
The myth of the perpetual calendar in luxury watchmaking
There is a myth surrounding watches with a perpetual calendar, due to the complexity required to start a movement of this type. A single piece usually requires a month of work, including dozens of gears that, in other types of calendars, are not usually used. As you can imagine, these mechanisms cannot be misaligned in the slightest, since some of them work for a moment every four years.
There is a question that surrounds these watches that, although distant, should be answered, is what will happen when the year 2100 arrives and they are out of adjustment?
In the year 2100, February will not have 28 days, but 27, and therefore these clocks will suffer an imbalance, it will be necessary to adjust these calendars in some way, which will suffer a slight imbalance again in the year 2200.
Types of calendars in mechanical watches
We usually distinguish 5 different types of calendars in mechanical watches, they are the following:
Date: It is the simplest of all, in these watches the day is shown as a number in a window or with a date needle. It is necessary to adjust them whenever the month does not have 31 days.
Panoramic date: The mechanism is the same as in the previous case, however, a magnifying glass generates a simpler view of the digit.
Complete calendar: The date includes the indication of the day of the week in the month. This type of calendar does not recognize the months that do not have 31 days, however, the day of the week does not suffer from imbalances.
Annual calendar: They are calendars that are capable of distinguishing between months of 30 and 31 days, and also show the year, however, they must be adjusted in February.
Perpetual calendar: They are those that distinguish the months with 30, 31, 27 and 28 days, and they only change every hundred years, the next time, in the year 2,100.
Perpetual calendar watches
There are different models of watches with perpetual calendar, the following are just a selection among the most coveted pieces.
Patek Philippe Grand Complication
Patek Philippe was the first Watches Factory to be able to distribute a perpetual calendar on a large scale. The PP Grand Complication is one of the best finished pieces from the manufacture, including a perpetual calendar.
Very much in the Calatrava style, it incorporates gold or platinum and also a lunar calendar. The case measures 37.2mm. and a classic look.
IWC Schaffhausen Portuguese Perpetual Calendar
The Schaffhausen manufactory offers us this essential piece in yellow gold, with a four-digit day, date, month and year indicator. The dial houses these indicators clearly and cleanly, in a spectacular classic design. It also has a power reserve of 7 days.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Calendar
The Royal Oaks are, in themselves, a jewel. The perpetual calendar is the perfect icing on a legendary piece.
In 41 and 39 mm, the new caliber incorporates a perpetual calendar with different pointers on the dial.
Jaeger Le Coultre Master Eight Days Perpetual
Jaeger Le Coultre could not miss this appointment with haute horlogerie. This model is an ode to elegance, with a 40 mm steel case. and a power reserve of 8 days. One of the features of this watch is its AM/PM indicator. This watch is one of the most elegant in the Jaeger Le Coultre collection.
Breguet Perpetual Calendar
It is the oldest mass-manufactured perpetual calendar and the second to be manufactured for the public in history. Its origin dates back to 1929, since then it has been made of white gold and its most modern version measures 39 mm.
Perpetual Calendar Watches at Watches5 Chinese Watch Manufacturer
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