Monday, October 26

Throwback Sundays: Six Calendar Watches to Keep Track of the Date, from Our Archives

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Due to the Covid-19 situation, there are many countries that have begun implementing “stay home” orders in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Singapore is not spared either.

In the context of Singapore, we were advised to stay home until the 4th of May, in hopes that this will reduce the community spread of the virus. That means most of our activities – including work – will be carried out at home.

One of the common things that we have noticed is that many of us have lost track of time. It seems absurd, but we seem to have problems recalling the day and date from time to time. It is certainly strange, but staying at home with minimal contact to the outside world certainly does strange things to your brain.

Now, this got us thinking. Wouldn’t it be great if we can have a watch with a calendar function, to keep track of these detail within the flick of our wrist? Hence, for this week’s article, we will be looking at a few watches with the calendar complication, and perhaps they might just be the watch that you will consider for your next (online) purchase.

Omega Globemaster Annual Calendar

First, we have the Omega Globemaster. The Globemaster is one of the lesser known collection from Omega. After all, the manufacturer is more well-known for both its legendary Speedmaster and Seamaster collection, which are amongst the best sellers in today’s age.

Launched in Baselworld 2015, the Globemaster drew much of its inspiration from the Constellation of the yesteryears. This includes the pie-pan dial and the retro fluted bezel, as well as the classic medallion that can be found on the caseback of the watch. This particular version, featuring an annual calendar complication, includes a month indicator that is incorporated in between the indices on the dial.

Powering the Globemaster is Omega’s Master Co-Axial Chronometer Calibre 8922. The movement has a power reserve of around 55 hours, and it is additionally magnetic resistant of up to 15,00 Gauss. The finishing is decent for its price pint as well.

The 41mm Globemaster Annual Calendar is priced at S$11,700. Admittedly, the Globemaster might not be everyone’s cup of tea. However, if one is looking for an Omega that is a tad different from the crowd, the Globemaster is certainly a timepiece that is up for contention.

Zenith El Primero 410

When it comes to chronographs, the Zenith El Primero is certainly one of the names that would come to mind. Besides being the first chronograph to feature a fully integrated self-winding movement, the El Primero is also famous for being the movement of choice for the previous generation of Rolex Daytona (Reference 1652X).

Over the years, Zenith have incorporated some additional complications into the El Primero chronograph. One of them is the Triple Calendar, found in the El Primero 410. This is a tad different from the original El Primero Chronograph, with the incorporation of the additional apertures for the day, month, and moonphase display. It is certainly more function, although the dial can be a little too cluttered for some. But for us, we certainly do appreciate the additional functions that came with this watch.

The last known retail price of the El Primero 410 is CHF 9,800 (approximately S$14,413). While it is a bit pricey than the base El Primero model, but we do think that it is worth the premium.

Rolex Sky-Dweller

From the Rolex corner comes the mighty Sky Dweller. The most complicated watch made by the largest watchmaker in the world. The Sky Dweller features a novel way of setting the calendar via the bezel, in a system which Rolex calls the Command Ring. The Sky Dweller also features a second timezone.

The dial layout is a model of clarity and simplicity. There is the usual date display with a magnifying cyclops, and an additional month indicator that is integrated on the outer peripheral of the dial. Legibility is top notch, and the watch bears all the signatures of the traditional Rolex, from the fluted bezel to the markers with Chromalight. As usual, the build quality is an outstanding example of industrial manufacturing.

Now available in all materials from Everose, White Gold, Yellow Gold and also in Rolesor (White Gold bezel with Stainless Steel Bracelet and Yellow Gold bezel with Stainless Steel Bracelet with Yellow Gold links), there are many options in the Sky Dweller. The most popular being the Rolesor WG/SS version with a blue dial which retails for S$19,900. Precious metal versions are priced from S$54,160 onwards.

Montblanc Heritage Perpetual Calendar

In the recent years, Montblanc has been offering collectors great watches at modest price points. The Heritage Perpetual Calendar is one such watch.

The piece, launched in SIHH 2019 with a stainless steel variant, is a great addition to the Heritage line-up. It is certainly a looker as compared to the brand’s first Perpetual Calendar watch, and its 40mm case is well-sized for today’s market.

Powering the watch is the in-house Caliber MB 29.22, a self-winding watch that has a power reserve of around 48 hours. The base movement is shared across all Richemont’s brands, and one outstanding feature is that the watch can be adjusted bi-directionally (inclusive of the date as well).

The Montblanc is priced at €15,000 (approximately S$23,193), and it is certainly one of the most affordable watches with the perpetual calendar function. To add the icing on the cake, it is a handsome timepiece as well.

Vacheron Constantin Traditionelle Complete Calendar

Clean, sophisticated, and functional. These are the three words that perhaps best describe the Vacheron Constantin Traditionelle Complete Calendar.

Launched in 2018, the 41mm timepiece offers a modern interpretation of VC’s traditional timepieces and its haute horlogerie complications. We like how VC is able to incorporate a calendar function – inclusive of a day, date, month, and moonphase display – and yet being able to simplify how the watch looks.

The pièce de résistance, however, lies in its stunning Calibre 2460 movement. The 308-part self-winding movement beats at 4 Hz, and it has a decent power reserve of around 40 hours. The finishing is excellent, with black polishing, perlage, and a 22-carat gold rotor with concentric hobnail pattern to complete the package. There is honestly nothing much to fault with this excellent timepiece.

Priced at S$56,000, the watch is well-priced for what it is. We like its classic aesthetics, as well as its attention to detail. This is yet another winner from Vacheron Constantin.

Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Ref. 5270

Finally, we end the article with the king of perpetual calendars from a legendary watch manufacturer: the Patek Philippe Ref. 5270 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph.

The watch, Reference 5270, is perhaps the most coveted and well-regarded timepiece in the world. This is because it combines two highly complicated complications in its construction, as suggests by its nomenclature. In addition, the watch is rather stunning and proportional in terms of its aesthetics, which are brownie points as well.

What truly sets the Ref. 5270 apart from its predecessors is the movement itself. Unlike the previous models, the Ref. 5270 is fitted with the Calibre CH 29-535 PS Q. It is the first perpetual calendar chronograph that uses a fully in-house designed and manufactured movement. All earlier iterations have been based on either the Valjoux or Lemania ebauches. While the ebacuhes are very well-made and decorated, but it is just something different with an in-house movement. The movement is manual-winding, and several features include the Gyromax balance wheel, and the use of a lateral clutch system for the chronograph. The finishing is sublime – just like what you would expect from Patek Philippe.

Priced at S$216,500, the Ref. 5270 is the most expensive timepiece in the list today. It may be out of reach for many, but its price premium is certainly warranted for with its sheer class and quality.

Concluding Thoughts

We understand that watches with the calendar function might not be everyone’s cup of tea. They are definitely pricier, but most of them have a slightly cluttered dial as well. For collectors who likes clean and simple designs, their options are certainly limited.

There is, however, some allure with such pieces. We definitely like the addition functions, but also the technicality that goes behind it. It is not easy to design a new module or movement altogether to incorporate these functions, and it certainly makes the watch a tad more special. This is even more apparent with the highly complicated ones, such as the perpetual calendar. Hence, there is also an additional premium that comes along with it as well.

So, what are your thoughts on this category of complications? What are some of your favourite calendar watches as well? Let us know in the comments section below!

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