2021, The Watch Year in Review: Five Superlative Perpetual Calendars

By almost any standard, the luxury watch world enjoyed a successful year in 2021 despite the lingering effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and its worldwide economic consequences — with high-profile retailers reopening and expanding, new auction records set, some large-scale industry events (like our own WatchTime New York) returning, and of course, a host of notable timepieces launched. As we wrap up 2021 and look ahead enthusiastically to 2022, we take our annual look back at some of the year’s notable timepieces in various popular categories. Today we showcase five of the year’s outstanding perpetual calendars.

Housed in a 41.9-mm gold case, the A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar stands out from the pack with its use of a peripheral month-indicator ring that advances every month rather than the 48-step cam control system — a more challenging mechanism that requires substantially more power than the traditional one. Along with this ring-shaped display, the dial features a retrograde day-of-the-week display at 9 o’clock, a leap-year indication at 6 o’clock, and the hallmark “outsize” date display at 10 o’clock, in addition to the time display on the large, off-center subdial at 3 o’clock. Complementing the perpetual calendar functions is the sophisticated and ornate moon-phase display at 7 o’clock, which also includes a day-night indicator. Beating inside is A. Lange & Sohne’s 67th(!) in-house caliber, the automatic L021.3, with a 50-hour power reserve and a host of Saxon decorations. Much more detail can be found here.

A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar in rose gold

Schaffhausen-based H. Moser & Cie. introduced its ingeniously minimalist perpetual calendar design in 2005; it applied this understated aesthetic to its sporty, avant-garde Streamliner collection in 2021. The Streamliner Perpetual Calendar has a 42-mm, cushion-shaped steel case, with rounded curves that evokes the high-speed trains from the 1920s and ’30s from which the model derives its name. The case, with its off-center “M”-engraved crown at 4 o’ clock, is set with Moser’s signature gray fumé dial with sunburst pattern. On the dial is a red-and-white outer minute track that follows the motions of the central seconds hand, three-dimensional curved hands with Globolight inserts, a power-reserve hand at 10 o’clock, date at 4 o’clock, and the months represented by the 12 white-decal hour markers. The sapphire exhibition caseback showcases Moser’s manually wound Caliber HMC 812, which stores a 168-hour power reserve and includes a “flash calendar” instantaneous date-change mechanism. Click here for more details.

H. Moser & Cie. Streamliner Perpetual Calendar

Hermès introduced new versions of its Slim d’Hermès Quantième Perpétuel this year, distinguished by anthracite-colored dials that host hour numerals in a distinctive, elegant font created by Parisian graphic designer Philippe Apeloig. The dial has a four-year display that indicates months and leap years (at 9 o’clock), subdials for a dual-time/GMT function and date (at 6 o’clock and 12 o’clock, respectively), and a moon-phase indication with a white mother-of-pearl moon disk against an aventurine sky (at 3 o’clock). The watch is is outfitted with the Hermès Caliber 1950, produced by the Swiss movement specialists at Vaucher, in which Hermès holds an ownership stake. Enhanced with a perpetual calendar module from Jean-Marc Wiederrecht and his team at Aghenor, the movement remains slim, at just 4 mm high, and delivers a power reserve of 42 hours. More info on the watch can be found here.

Hermès Slim d’Hermès Quantième Perpétuel

MB&F introduced the Legacy Machine EVO in 2020 in a case made of zirconium. The watch returned this year in a slightly more conventional metal — grade 5 titanium — with a new green CVD dial plate. Like its predecessor in zirconium, the LM Perpetual EVO’s 44-mm case boasts a “no-bezel” construction that increases the openness of the design and features a domed sapphire crystal fused via thermal bonding directly to the case. The pushers for the perpetual calendar adjustments have been reworked for tactile comfort and ease of use. The EVO is also the first MB&F watch rated at 80 meters of water resistance, a feat aided by the case’s screw-down crown. The movement, designed and developed in cooperation with Irish independent watchmaker Stephen McDonnell, is built entirely from the ground up — no base caliber, no module — and designed with many of its most visually stunning elements on the dial side, including its large suspended balance. For a deeper dive into the Legacy Machine EVO and its technical marvels, click here.

MB&F Legacy Machine EVO in titanium

Vacheron Constantin added a perpetual calendar to its sport-luxury Overseas collection. The Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin lives up to its name with a 41.5-mm case in white gold that measures just 8.1 mm in thickness. The bright blue dial features displays for an analog date at 3 o’clock; a moon-phase at 6 o’clock; an analog day indicator at 9 o’clock; and an unusual, integrated four-year month counter at 12 o’clock that accounts for leap years without the additional leap-year indicator seen on most other perpetual calendars. Vacheron Constantin’s manufacture Caliber 1120 QP/1 ticks behind the solid dial, with a 40-hour power reserve, a frequency of 19,800 vph, and a host of haute horlogerie finishes along with a 22k-gold, skeletonized oscillating weight swinging around the outermost edge. The case has the Overseas collection’s distinctive layered bezel inspired by a Maltese cross and an integrated construction with three quick-changing straps including a gold bracelet, blue alligator strap, and blue rubber strap. Read more about Vacheron’s Overseas Perpetual Calendar models here.

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar
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  1. Why no mention of Patek’s new 5236P Perpetual Calendar? It inherits the hacking and Pulsomax from the 5235 Annual / Regulator’s base movement and is an impressive alternative to 240Q or 324 based perpetuals.

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