2016: THE WATCH YEAR IN REVIEW

10 Calendar Watches From the 2016 Swiss Watch Fairs


As we approach the end of 2016 and prepare for a new year (and new watch introductions) in 2017, we take a look back at some of the most notable timepieces launched at this year’s SIHH and Baselworld watch fairs, in several categories. Today, we showcase 10 watches with annual calendar and perpetual calendar functions.

The A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon incorporates three major complications with five supplementary functions — a flyback chronograph, a perpetual calendar, and a tourbillon. All the calendar indications — including the aforementioned outsize date, the day-of the week, the month, and the leap-year displays in subsidiary dials – switch instantaneously, providing unambiguous readings at all times, and the ultra-precise moon-phase display is set to deviate from the true lunation by a single day after 122.6 years.

Lange Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon
A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon

The newest version of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar goes for what many would consider old-school horological luxury with its classical yellow gold case. The watch is powered by in-house Caliber 2120 and boasts a deep blue Grande Tapisserie-patterned dial. The calendar displays are on prominent subdials at 9 o’clock (day), 12 o’clock (month and leap-year), and 3 o’clock (date). In addition, an astronomical moon-phase display appears at 6 o’clock and the week of the year is indicated on a numbered 1-52 chapter ring surrounding the dial.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak QP - yellow gold - angle
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar in yellow gold

The Baume & Mercier Clifton Chronograph Complete Calendar is the Clifton collection’s most complicated watch to date, combining two functions found in previous models, a chronograph and complete calendar. Like all models in the Clifton collection, it takes its design cues from the brand’s Golden Fifties watches from the 1950s and has an elegantly balanced tricompax dial: The month and day appear in apertures within the 12 o’clock subdial, which also serves as the 30-minute chrono counter; a moon-phase display, which completes one rotation every lunar month, shares the 6 ‘clock subdial with the chronograph’s 12-hour counter; and a 24-hour day-night indication completes the calendar functions at 9 o’clock. A red-tipped pointer hand indicates the date on the outer scale.

Baume & Mercier Clifton Chronograph Complete Calendar
Baume & Mercier Clifton Chronograph Complete Calendar

 

The Blancpain Villeret Quantième Annuel GMT combines the increasingly popular annual calendar function with a dual-time display. The steel case is 40 mm in diameter and a modest 11 mm thick. The clean white dial features hands and applied Roman-numeral hour markers and the Blancpain “JB” logo appears as the counterweight on the central seconds hand. The dial layout is different from those of many other annual calendar watches, with the day, date, and month displays grouped together for an intuitive, sequential reading. The GMT (second time zone) indication is on a minimalist 24-hour subdial at 8 o’clock. The movement is Blancpain’s manufacture Caliber 6054F, with automatic winding, 34 jewels, and a 72-hour power reserve.

Blancpain Villeret Quantieme Annuel GMT - soldier
Blancpain Villeret Quantieme Annuel GMT

Frédérique Constant, a brand that has made its mark in the industry with its affordably priced complications, has pulled off an impressive horological feat with its new Manufacture Perpetual Calendar, priced under $10,000 and equipped with an in-house movement, Caliber FC-775. The brand calls the movement, which required two years of work at Frédérique Constant’s manufacture near Geneva, “one of the most innovative yet easy to assemble perpetual calendar[s] ever produced.” It allows the perpetual calendar functions to be set and adjusted via inset buttons on the slim, 42-mm-diameter case, while the hours and minutes are adjustable via the crown. The dial has a classical, symmetrical design, with the months and leap year sharing a subdial at 12 o’clock and a moon-phase indicator at 6 o’clock.

Frederique Constant Perpetual Calendar Manufacture - reclining
Frederique Constant Perpetual Calendar Manufacture

IWC introduced many new high-flying Pilots’ timepieces at SIHH, including the latest ticking tribute to the storied poet/author/aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: the IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Annual Calendar Edition “Le Petit Prince” — the first IWC Pilot’s Watch equipped with the annual calendar complication (meaning today is the one day this year that you’d have to adjust it). A limited edition of 250 pieces in a rose-gold case and sunburst-finish blue dial, the watch also features a movement with an engraving of Exupery’s Little Prince character on the gold rotor.

SIHH 2016: IWC Big Pilot Annual Calendar "Le Petit Prince"
IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Annual Calendar Edition “Le Petit Prince”

The Montblanc Heritage Chronograph Quantième Annuel (below) features both a chronograph function and an annual calendar. Each chronograph subdial serves a dual purpose for the calendar indications: the days of the week are displayed at 6 o’clock, the date at 12 o’clock, and the months at 9 o’clock. Adding intrigue to the calendar indications is a sophisticated moon-phase complication that occupies the subdial at 3 o’clock. A rose-gold hand points to four rose-gold-plated moons, each representing one of the four principal lunar cycles — new moon, first quarter, full moon and last quarter.

Montblanc Heritage Chronometrie Chronograph Quantieme Annuel - angle
Montblanc Heritage Chronomètrie Chronograph Quantième Annuel

The H. Moser & Cie Perpetual Calendar Heritage Limited Edition, a distinctively designed dual-cover wristwatch inspired by a late 19th-century pocketwatch from its archives, marks the Schaffhausen-based brand’s 10th anniversary. The pocketwatch-style case features decorative cloisonné enameled and guilloched covers and a grand feu enamel dial. Black Roman numerals mark the hours, with train-track-style rings for minutes and small seconds. The dovetail-shaped hour and minute hands are flame-blued, as well as those for the power reserve and small seconds. The third central hand, which is black, shows the months of the year using the twelve indices, as on the Endeavour Perpetual Calendar.

Moser-Perpetual-Calendar-Heritage-Limited-Edition-1
H. Moser & Cie. Perpetual Calendar Heritage Limited Edition

Twenty years ago, Patek Philippe presented the very first annual calendar wristwatch, Ref. 5035. The new Ref. 5396 is intended as a celebration of this significant anniversary both for Patek and the watch world overall. It comes in the now-iconic Patek Philippe Calatrava case, a style and shape that dates back to 1932 and has become “the archetype of all classic round watches,” according to Patek. Measuring a contemporary but relatively modest 38.5 mm in diameter and 11.2 mm thick, the case flows seamlessly into the strap lugs and frames the curved sapphire crystal with a smoothly polished bezel. The dial displays the classical elements of Patek Philippe’s calendar watches — an in-line double window in the upper half indicating the day and month; a large aperture at 6 o’clock for the date; and a moon-phase display ringed by a 24-hour subdial in the lower half. It is powered by in-house Caliber 324 S QA LU 24H, an automatic movement that the wearer can admire through the watch’s clear sapphire caseback. Read more about the watch here.

Patek Philippe Ref. 5396 Annual calendar - RG - hero
Patek Philippe Ref. 5396 Annual calendar

 

Vacheron Constantin introduced a completely revised Overseas collection at SIHH this year, including the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Ultra-Thin Perpetual Calendar. The watch is powered by the ultra-thin Caliber 1120 QP, which includes a moon-phase indication and and leap year indicator. The movement measures just 4.05 mm thick, while the case is only 8.1 mm thick. Like all the watches in the new Overseas collection, this one has been fitted with a soft-iron inner casings for anti-magnetic protection and is equipped with automatic winding via a large, 22k gold rotor engraved with a nautical, wind rose compass motif.

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Ultra-Thin Perpetual Calendar
Vacheron Constantin Overseas Ultra-Thin Perpetual Calendar
2 Responses to “10 Calendar Watches From the 2016 Swiss Watch Fairs”

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  1. Could you please comment on the Longines Master Collection
    which design-wise looks very similar to the Bume & Mercier Clifton 10280 mentioned in
    your article

    Reply
  2. How about a review of more affordable calendar watches,the kind that many of your viewers will go out and buy.

    Reply
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