Chief among the most valuable grand complications in haute horlogerie is the perpetual calendar. Valid for many years, perpetual calendar movements can calculate the day of the week for a given date in the future.
While it may sound rather prosaic, its impact is actually quite important, because the wearer of a perpetual calendar timepiece will not need to take time out of their day to make manual adjustments to their watch. To be more specific, they won’t have to make any manual adjustments until the year 2100.
Which explains why perpetual calendars are so highly coveted. This year at Baselworld, we saw some stunning examples of this grand complication. We’ve picked our favorites, with pieces we would be happy to wear for the next 86 years and beyond!
Patek Philippe Men Grand Complications 5271P-001 The 5271P-001 is a diamond-clad version of the 5270, Patek Philippe’s most iconic perpetual calendar model. Housed in a 41mm platinum case, it features a bezel and lugs set with 58 baguette diamonds, and a black lacquer dial. A tachometer scale circles the outside of the dial, and the hands and hour markers are in platinum. Functions include hours and minutes, a central chronograph hand, the day and month in apertures at 12 o’clock, a 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock, a leap year indicator in an aperture between 4 and 5 o’clock, the date and moonphase at 6 o’clock, a day/night indicator in an aperture between 7 and 8 o’clock, and small seconds at 9 o’clock. It is completed by a shiny black alligator strap secured with a fold-over clasp set with 22 baguette diamonds. Blancpain Villeret Quantième Perpétuel Housed in a 42mm 18K red gold or platinum case, this timepiece is the first perpetual calendar model in Blancpain’s Villeret collection. The white grand feu enamel dial features hours and minutes, as well as small seconds and a moon phase indicator at 6 o’clock, and three subdials with blued steel hands: the month and leap-year at 12 o’clock, the date at 3 o’clock, and the day at 9 o’clock. At its heart is the Calibre 5939A, the new self-winding perpetual calendar movement developed and produced in-house by Blancpain. It boasts an 8-day power reserve. Carl F. Bucherer Manero ChronoPerpetual The Manero Chrono Perpetual combines a chronograph and a perpetual calendar. Housed in a 42.5mm 18K rose gold case, this timepiece features a silver dial which showcases the Manero ChronoPerpetual’s various functions; the date and small seconds at 12 o’clock, the moonphase at 3 o’clock, the day and a 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock, and the month, leap year and 30-minute counter at 9 o’clock. Finally, there is a tachymeter scale on the bezel, and a slender chronograph hand in the center for counted seconds. It is completed by a hand-stitched Louisiana alligator brown leather strap with an 18K rose gold pin buckle. Ulysse Nardin Perpetual Manufacture This perpetual calendar timepiece allows the date to be adjusted both forward and backward. Housed in a 43mm rose gold case, this limited edition timepiece features a grey dial and either rose gold indexes. Functions include hours and minutes, as well as a central GMT hand which indicates a second time zone on the 24-hour flange, the date at 1 o’clock, the month at 3 o’clock, the year at 6 o’clock, the day at 9 o’clock, and small seconds at 9 o’clock. The dial is also stamped with an eternity symbol (∞) at 6 o’clock, representing the Caliber UN-32 movement at its heart, which will only require manual adjustment in 2100. The case is inscribed with a serial number on its side at 9 o’clock. It is completed by a leather strap with folding buckle. Breguet Classique Tourbillon Quantième Perpétuel 3797 This 41mm platinum perpetual calendar timepiece features an open-worked 3D dial with a skeletonized tourbillon. The 18K gold dial features four silvered and engine-turned patterns. The dial also features hours and minutes on a sapphire disc, small seconds on the tourbillon axis, the date at 12 o’clock, months and leap years at 3 o’clock, and days at 9 o’clock. Photo credit: Haute Time.