5 perpetual calendars to wear on New Year's Eve
It's a date
One of the greatest joys of owning a perpetual calendar timepiece is to see the date display advance. Accurate displays of the date, day, month, and leap year are the four key requirements of a basic (in a manner of speaking) perpetual calendar but many offer fancy extras like the moon phase display, indication of the weeks, large date windows, and even digital year indication. Considered one of "big three" in traditional high complications — the other two being the minute repeater and the tourbillon — perpetual calendars are most exciting to watch when all of the calendrical displays switch simultaneously, and instantaneously, at the stroke of midnight on the 31st of December. These five perpetual calendars will take you into the New Year with impeccable flair:
1. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar in yellow gold
Traditional is the word that comes to mind with this timepiece, as Audemars Piguet combines classic yellow gold with the perpetual calendar, arguably the most classic complication in all of watchmaking. The moon phase display shows off an astronomical moon and this model also includes a week of the year display, discreetly located on the circumference of the dial and read off a slim white arrow-tipped hand — an excellent feature for financiers who follow the ISO 8601 business calendar. Aesthetically, the blue dial and yellow gold pairing may take some getting used to but eventually it'll prove to be as timeless as everything else that Audemars Piguet makes.
2. Chopard L.U.C Perpetual Twin in stainless steel
Horological precision is the guiding principle behind this 2016 novelty by Chopard, which not only keeps accurate time but also displays the calendar accurately and for perpetuity — such is the eminence of Chopard L.U.C. The movement is chronometer-certified and comes with two barrels (Chopard's patented Twin technology) proffering 58 hours of continuous power. Legibility is ensured with outsized sub-dials indicating the days, months, and leap year, while extra-large windows prominently display the date. The finishing on this timepiece is also superb: Large polished and raised numerals, sunburst decoration on the dial, and alternating matte and polished surfaces around the case.
3. IWC Big Pilot's Watch Perpetual Calendar Edition "Antoine De Saint Exupéry" in stainless steel
The Antoine de Saint Exupéry pieces by IWC Schaffhausen always come with tobacco brown dials and calfskin straps, recalling the French writer and pioneering aviator's flying suit — to say nothing of his predilection for cigarettes. This perpetual calendar stands apart from others in that it offers not only the requisite calendrical features but throws in a moon phase, small seconds, power reserve, and most remarkably, the year in a digital format. Unique to IWC, this feature has never before been found in any Pilot's Watch. Only 750 examples will be made, making this watch all the more covetable.
4. Vacheron Constantin Overseas Ultra-Thin Perpetual Calendar in white gold
Sporty in spirit, this elegant yet athletic timepiece plays down its innate technical complexity with debonair composure. Yet, one look at the sunray finished grey dial is enough to guess at the profundity of its movement, calibre 1120 QP. All the trappings of a classical perpetual calendar are present, plus a moon phase display — but there's more. Turn this watch onto its side to discover its svelte profile measuring no more than 8.1mm, qualifying it as an ultra-thin complicated watch. Through the sapphire case back, the 22K solid gold rotor takes the form of a compass rose, alluding to the Overseas collection's peripatetic inclinations.
5. Frédérique Constant Manufacture Perpetual Calendar
This immaculately styled timepiece is modelled after the most classical forms of perpetual calendars, where the sub-dials are proportionate and spaced well apart, resulting in a dial that is perfectly symmetrical. No mean feat for a perpetual calendar and Frédérique Constant manages this by placing mechanics at the behest of design, which makes sense because it has already mastered the former. Indeed, this is one of the few brands that is accessibly priced and yet offers fully in-house manufactured movements.
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