Patek Philippe Watches - A Review Of The Annual Calendar Collection

Published: 13th April 2008
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Patek Philippe first released the Annual Calendar watch in 1996. It displays day, date and months and was the first wrist watch to automatically adjust months with 30 or 31 days. It also has a moon phase indicator. Since its release it has become one of the most sort-after of Patek Philippe watches for both men and women.

A brief history of the Patek Philippe Annual Calendar watch

It was first released in 1996 and, despite having a complicated movement, the Annual Calendar is also known as a 'useful complication' because it is easy to use and it is also very readable. The movement is called 'annual calendar' because it displays the date and month and will automatically display the correct day; either 30 or 31, depending on the month. It only requires one adjustment each year and that is for the month of February, hence it being called an annual calendar.

The development of this watch required Patek to replace the cams and levers with gear trains. This meant incorporating more components in the watch; there are over 330 parts as opposed to 275 found in the perpetual watch. Remarkable, the redesign of the components, actually led to simpler construction techniques.

In 1998, the company added to the watch's functionality with a power reserve indicator and the now familiar moon phase indicator. The mechanism of the watch is self-winding mechanical. The accuracy of the moon phase complication is minus/plus 1 day in every 122 years.

In recent years, the company has released a ladies version. Although the case size has remained the same - 37mm - the dial was redesigned to have a more feminine style.

The Patek Annual Calendar for men

The 5135G, 5135J, 5135P and 5135R all have tonneau cases and come in a variety of finishes of White Gold, Yellow Gold and Platinum. The dials are 2-tone silvery gray with gold applied hour markers and/or numerals. The strap is hand-stitch alligator; dark brown or gray for the platinum version. Each watch comes with day, date and month apertures at 10, 12 and 2 o'clock respectively. The moon phase subdial is at 6 o'clock.

The 5146 collection features a round case in White Gold, Yellow Gold and Platinum. Each dial displays the day, date and month. The day and month are displayed in round subdials in the top half of the face. Each uses an arm to indicate the current day and month. The date aperture is rectangular in shape and is located at 6 o'clock. Again, the moon phase is displayed just above 6 o'clock. Finally, there is a small hand just below 12 o'clock that function as a power indicator. The movement is self winding.

The 5147 is identical in design as the 5146 except that the dial has a dark blue lacquer with a matching navy blue alligator strap. The case is White Gold. In addition, the bezel is adorned with 62 diamonds.

The 5396R is only available in Rose Gold and differs slightly in the dial design. The day and months are displayed in a separate rectangular aperture just below 12 o'clock with the date aperture at 6 o'clock. As always, the moon phase is just above 6 o'clock. The dial is two-tone gray with beautiful blue transfer-printed hour markers and blue arm.

The Patek Annual Calendar for women

The 4936R case is as large as the man's watch however the dial is white mother-of-pearl with gold markers. The subdials of the watch are the same as the man's 5146 watch. The case is available in Rose Gold, White Gold or Yellow Gold. The bezel is embellished with diamonds as is the crown. The leather strap comes in White, Dark Brown or Tan.

All of the watches are beautiful and it would be hard to find fault with any. However, it would be nice if there was also a ladies version that had a tonneau shaped case like that of the man's 5135 series. I would also like to see a more modern style of watch, nothing too drastic, but a dial with a slightly more contemporary look would broaden the appeal of the Patek Philippe Annual Calendar collection.

Follow the links for Patek Philippe watches and reviews on the best wrist watch you can buy like Oris, Panerai and the Breitling Navitimer watch.

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