The Peak Selections: Timepieces - - The Brief -


The world’s first per­pet­ual cal­en­dar wrist­watch, known as No. 97 975, was cre­ated by the brand, which had re­ceived a patent for its per­pet­ual cal­en­dar mech­a­nism for pocket watches in 1889. In­ter­est­ingly, the 97 975’s move­ment had been cre­ated for (and used in) a women’s pen­dant watch. How­ever, be­cause it did not sell, it was put in a wrist­watch, which was bought by an Amer­i­can col­lec­tor two years later. The rest, as they say, is his­tory.


Be­fore 1941, com­pli­cated watches were usu­ally pro­duced on com­mis­sion. In this year, Patek in­tro­duced its first se­ri­ally pro­duced per­pet­ual cal­en­dar watches. The first was the Ref. 1518, a per­pet­ual cal­en­dar with chrono­graph, fol­lowed by the pure per­pet­ual cal­en­dar Ref. 1526 (pic­tured) a year later.


A per­pet­ual cal­en­dar never needs to be ad­justed be­cause it au­to­mat­i­cally takes into con­sid­er­a­tion vari­ables like shorter months and leap years – but only if it is kept wound. Mak­ing it eas­ier to do so was the cre­ation of Patek’s first self-wind­ing per­pet­ual cal­en­dar, the Ref. 3448.


At a time when the pro­lif­er­a­tion of quartz watches had led to the de­cline of the Swiss watch in­dus­try, Patek – un­der the stew­ard­ship of Philippe Stern, third-gen­er­a­tion mem­ber of the Stern fam­ily that owns the com­pany – em­barked on a strat­egy to rein­tro­duce com­pli­cated watches with the Ref. 3940. This au­to­matic per­pet­ual cal­en­dar was pow­ered by the ul­tra-slim Cal­i­bre 240 Q.


As the in­dus­try sees more watch­mak­ers cre­at­ing more tech­ni­cal pieces for women, Patek Philippe launches Ref. 7140. Its first women’s per­pet­ual cal­en­dar is an ul­tra­thin watch housed in a 35.1mm rose gold case with a bezel set with 68 di­a­monds, and pow­ered by Cal­i­bre 240 Q.

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