Manually corrected only once every year, annual calendars count the total number of days in 11 months out of 12 and provide useful information on creative dials. With a quick glance at your wrist, you can see not only the time but also the day, date, month and (often) the phase of the moon. Here are three annual calendars that are so beautiful and user-friendly you will find yourself eagerly awaiting February 28…or 29, just for the pleasure of resetting your watch on March 1st.
Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Ref. 5396
It was Patek Philippe that first patented and presented an annual calendar to the public – Ref. 5035 in 1996 – after 4 years of research and prototypes. In this 20th anniversary year, the high watchmaker from Geneva presents its 22nd model — the Annual Calendar Ref. 5396, with an inline double aperture for the day and month, a date at 6 o’clock and a 24 hour display that surrounds the moon phase in the lower half. Central hour, minute and sweep seconds hands point to small gold minute markers and applied Breguet numerals in 18K gold, for an overall look that is familiar yet innovative.
The 38.5 mm white or rose gold cases with small correctors in the caseband for easy date and month transition show off respectively a charcoal grey sunburst or silvery opaline dial, complemented with matte black or shiny chocolate brown straps. Much of the decorated self-winding mechanical movement Caliber 324 S QA LU 24H is visible through the sapphire-crystal case back. Water resistant to 3 bar. Priced at EUR43,520.
Blancpain Villeret Quantième Annuel GMT
This Annual Calendar GMT from Blancpain’s Villeret collection is made for the first time with a stainless steel case that highlights the stainless steel hands and hour-markers on a clean easy-to-read white dial. Day, date, and month are quickly read from 2 to 4 o’clock, and because this is an Annual Calendar GMT model, a small 24-hour counter at 8 o’clock indicates home time, with local time provided by the central hour hand.
Adjustments are easily made with Blancpain’s patented under-lug correctors – one at 1 o’clock to change the day, and the other at 5 o’clock to adjust the month. Fast GMT and date corrections, along with time setting, are made with the crown.
The 40 mm x 11.04 mm thick case case has a clear sapphire case back that reveals the self-winding caliber 6054F and its guilloché motif yellow gold oscillating mass – a feature that is present whether the case is in gold or steel. This timepiece comes with a black alligator leather strap with triple-blade folding clasp. Priced at EUR25,450.
Montblanc Héritage Chronométrie Quantième Annuel Vasco da Gama
“Montblanc started with writing instruments, so we have the right to tell a story about our products” CEO Jérôme Lambert told us last July in Paris, and this annual calendar from Montblanc in stainless steel is no exception. In a limited edition of 316 pieces – the number of days it took Vasco da Gama’s fleet to reach India from Portugal – the sapphire case back is decorated with the explorer’s signature and the outline of his ship – the Sào Gabriel; beneath it we see the automatic Calibre MB 29.18 with a power reserve of 42 hours.
The 40 mm x 9.5 mm stainless steel case with curved horns surrounds a silvery white dial with full calendar display. Our eyes sweep easily over the central hour and minute hands and subdials showing the date, day and month, stopping to admire the superb blue lacquered night sky of the Southern Hemisphere as seen by the Portuguese explorers in 1497. It encircles an aperture with a golden turning disc that indicates the phase of the moon. Individual correctors for each function allow for rapid adjustments.
Complemented by a black alligator bracelet. Water resistant to 3 bar.
Priced at EUR7,400.