Highly-esteemed Swiss watch manufacturer, Patek Philippe, is without doubt one of the greatest contributors to the advances in modern day watchmaking, with numerous patents granted for its inventions. One such invention that is particularly sought after by collectors, is the Annual Calendar, a complication that Patek Philippe officially patented in 1996 after years of research and development. Read on to learn more.
The Annual Calendar
When we think of high-end mechanical watchmaking, we invariably think of traditions and techniques that date back centuries. For example, Patek Philippe patented its perpetual calendar complication for pocket-watches back in 1889! That’s why it’s so surprising that the Annual Calendar complication is barely 20 years old. It just goes to show that there’s no accounting for when inspiration might strike.
Unlike the standard calendar display, which requires adjustment at end of every month that doesn’t contain 31 days (i.e. 5 times a year), the Annual Calendar complication is capable of accounting for months that have 30 or 31 days. This means it only requires correction once a year on the 1st of March (assuming the watch is kept running the entire time). The calendar displays are controlled mainly by wheels and pinions rather than rockers and levers, and include the day of the week, date and month.
As an haute horological complication that combines elegance with functionality and reliability, timepieces equipped with the Annual Calendar have become some of Patek Philippe’s most sought after. Now found in just a handful of exclusive models in the brand’s current collection, we present here two of its popular iterations for your consideration and enjoyment: the Patek Philippe Ref. 5205G for gentleman, and the Ref. 4948R for ladies.
Patek Philippe Ref. 5205G
An elegant watch for the man who appreciates restraint and a subtle aesthetic, the monochromatic Patek Philippe Ref. 5205G is a discerning choice. Crafted from white gold and measuring 40.2 mm in diameter, the watch’s glistening, round case boasts clean lines and a smoothly integrated lug system for holding the watch strap snugly in place. Fitted with a hand-stitched, matte black, alligator leather strap with large rectangular scales, this timepiece exudes luxury and refinement.
Complementing the strap’s colour is a matte black and slate grey dial against which stand faceted, gold applied hour markers. A minute track decorates the dial’s flange with subtle dots, while the 24-hour display on the moon phase register at 6 o’clock features matching white numerals. In keeping with the refined theme, the central sweep seconds hand also appears in white, as do the calendar discs, which are divided into day, date, and month apertures at 10, 12, and 2 o’clock respectively. Alternatively, the Ref. 5205G is also available with a silvery, rhodium dial with polished gold hour markers and hands.
Powering the Ref. 5205G is the Calibre 324 S QA LU 24H/206, which is visible via the watch’s sapphire-crystal caseback. This 356-part self-winding movement bears the Patek Philippe Hallmark Seal and contains a Gyromax balance and Spiromax balance spring, plus a unidirectional winding central rotor in 21-carat gold. Vibrating at a frequency of 28,800 beats per hour (or 4 Hz), it offers the wearer a power reserve of up to 45 hours.
This Annual Calendar is a timeless example of the exceptionally popular annual calendar complication, and will continue to find favour with haute horology collectors for years to come.
View the Patek Philippe 5205G here
View all Patek Philippe Watches for Men here
Patek Philippe Ref. 4948R
Stunning yet sophisticated, the Patek Philippe Ref. 4948R is a graceful statement piece perfectly suited to the wrist of a confident lady. The round, rose gold case measures a comfortable 38mm and is set with a breath-taking 347 diamonds with an approximate diamond weight of 2.65ct. The winding crown is set with a further 14 diamonds, while the matte, pearly white alligator leather strap also features a prong buckle set with 27 diamonds.
Continuing the opulent design, this Annual Calendar watch houses a white Balinese mother-of-pearl dial adorned with gold applied Roman numerals, plus gold and lume-filled hour and minute hands. A thin gold minute track encircles the watch face, which is paralleled by the thin gold detailing that marks out the day and month registers central to the dial. The date aperture, however, is found at the 6 o’clock mark under the moon phase indicator, which shows a golden moon nestled among twinkling stars. The final bit of gold to embellish the watch face is the extra-thin sweep seconds hand found central to the dial.
Made up of 328 parts, the self-winding Calibre 324 S QA LU drives the Ref. 4948R. Watch connoisseurs can admire the movement via the sapphire-crystal caseback, through which the unidirectional winding central rotor in 21-carat gold is visible. Containing a Gyromax balance, a Spiromax balance spring, and vibrating at a frequency of 28,800 beats per hour (or 4 Hz), this calibre offers a 45-hour maximum power reserve.
This delicate watch is sure makes a lasting impression thanks to its impressive inner mechanism and its stunning outer design. The precious stones paired with the highly desirable Annual Calendar complication will ensure it remains an object of adoration for years to come.