Per­pet­u­ally On Time

An in­tro­duc­tion to one of the most cel­e­brAted “fAm­i­lies” in horol­ogy: PAtek PhiliPPe’s Per­Pet­uAl cAl­en­dArs

DA MAN - Caliber - - LEGACY -

Patek Philippe is known for hav­ing pro­duced some of the most com­pli­cated time­pieces the world has ever seen. Among the many in­tri­cate horo­log­i­cal com­pli­ca­tions that the Swiss brand of­fers, per­haps the one most as­so­ci­ated with it is the per­pet­ual cal­en­dar—which is also one of the most sub­tle yet im­mensely use­ful com­pli­ca­tions.

Be­fore we con­tinue, per­haps a primer on the per­pet­ual cal­en­dar is in or­der. As the name sug­gests, this com­pli­ca­tion keeps track of the day, date, month and some­times the phases of the moon too in per­pe­tu­ity. Well, at least, a per­pet­ual cal­en­dar watch would not need to be man­u­ally ad­justed—mainly to take into ac­count leap years which add an ex­tra day to Fe­bru­ary—within our life­time. Most per­pet­ual cal­en­dars will re­main cor­rect un­til the year 2100 when the leap year is ig­nored (this is ac­tu­ally a lit­tle-known fact about the Gre­go­rian cal­en­dar) and some will even re­main ac­cu­rate un­til the year 2400.

Now, the per­pet­ual cal­en­dar is not an in­ven­tion of Patek Philippe. That honor be­longs to English watch­maker Thomas Mudge who cre­ated the first per­pet­ual cal­en­dar watch—a pocket watch, ac­tu­ally— back in the 18th cen­tury. The Swiss brand, how­ever, caught up in 1864 with its own per­pet­ual cal­en­dar pocket watch. And in 1925, Patek Philippe be­came the first to cre­ate a per­pet­ual cal­en­dar wrist­watch.

In the decades to fol­low, the brand would be­come closely as­so­ci­ated with per­pet­ual cal­en­dar watches— es­pe­cially per­pet­ual cal­en­dar chrono­graphs. And for sure, Patek Philippe has pro­duced quite a few such time­pieces that have be­come im­por­tant mile­stones in the his­tory of the brand and watch­mak­ing in gen­eral. Here are some of the most prom­i­nent time­pieces from this fam­ily...

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