Aside from time of day, the date is arguably the most useful piece of information a mechanical watch can reveal to its wearer. This calendar function seems simple at first glance: as the hands of the watch pass midnight, the date—as displayed most often through a window in the case dial— advances one digit.
But when you stop and consider the quirks in a calendar year, from months of varying lengths to leap years, a calendar can quickly get complicated. Still, not too complicated for today’s master watchmakers! The following five watches, available at Westime, represent an array of calendar functions that track the passage of days, months, leap years and, in one case, centuries and millennia.
PRESIDENT OF WESTIME
Jules Audemars Perpetual Calendar A perpetual calendar watch automatically knows the number of days in all 12 months—including leap-year Februaries— so the wearer never needs to manually advance the watch’s date at the end of a month, year in and year out. Audemars Piguet created its first perpetual calendar watch in 1957, and today the new Jules Audemars Perpetual Calendar watch is a refined example of the complication. Hours and minutes are displayed on the silvered main dial, while four symmetrically-arranged subdials reveal the date, moon phase, day of week and month with leap year status. Its self-winding movement can be viewed through a glare-proof sapphire crystal case back, and the 41-mm case and clasp are made of a warm, 18-carat pink gold.
Villeret Quantième Annuel GMT An annual calendar watch automatically adjusts for the length of the month all year until the end of February. On this day only, the wearer is required to manually change the date to the first of March. Joining Blancpain’s elegant Villeret collection is the manufacturer’s first annual calendar watch combined with a GMT function for displaying the hour in a second time zone. Considering how complicated this 40-mm watch is, the dial is wonderfully simple and clean. A subdial resides at the 8 o’clock position to show the hour in the second time zone, and three apertures on the right side of the dial frame the day of the week, date and month respectively. Wearers can easily modify the day and month by using two corrector buttons, which are sleekly hidden from view under the case lugs. Available in white or red gold with an opaline white dial, a sapphire crystal case back allows for this watch’s in-house movement with a highly decorated oscillating weight to be admired with ease.
H. Moser & Cie
Moser Perpetual Golden Edition When H. Moser unveiled a new perpetual calendar watch in 2006, one whose date jumped directly from the end of one month to the start of the following month in less than a second, it was a revelation in the watch industry. Known as the “Flash Calendar,” Moser’s perpetual calendar watch won the coveted Best Complicated Watch award at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie—the “Oscars” of our business. A new 100-piece limited edition of Moser’s wonderful perpetual calendar gets the golden treatment. Its solid gold movement resides in a rose gold case with solid gold dial with gold fumé surface, solid gold hands and a solid gold clasp. The month is indicated on a subdial while the date is viewed through an aperture at the 3 o’clock position. Need to adjust the time or date? Pull the crown and adjust forwards or backwards as needed, without fear of harming the movement. And to track the leap year status, view the indicator on the movement’s back through the sapphire crystal case back.
UR-1001 Zeit Device Urwerk’s UR-1001 Zeit Device is nothing short of an über complication. Worn like a historic pocket watch, this modern-day creation tracks time far into the future. Specifically, this watch measures the passage of time in seconds, minutes, hours, day/night, date, month, year, 100-year increment and even a 1,000-year increment. Naturally, the massive timekeeper is ensconced in a monumental case that measures 106 mm in length, and is made from AlTiN-treated steel and titanium. Urwerk’s famous orbiting satellite mechanism points out the hours and retrograde minutes, and a second orbiting satellite similarly illustrates the month and retrograde date, while automatically accounting for months with 30 or 31 days. Flip the device over to view a five-year oil change indicator, a 100-year indicator that advances in five-year increments and a slow-moving 1,000-year gauge that only moves upwards every 100 years. The AlTiN Zeit Device is a limited edition of eight pieces.
Captain Winsor Annual Calendar Chronograph Westime Limited Edition Zenith has a rich history of creating watches for explorers who sought adventure on the high seas. In homage to those sea-faring captains, and to the Pacific Ocean blue that has always been associated with Westime, the new blue Zenith Captain Winsor Annual Calendar Chronograph is a limited edition available exclusively at Westime’s boutiques. Zenith’s famous El Primero automatic chronograph movement beats at the heart of this 42-mm steel and 18-carat rose gold watch. Day and month are displayed on the dial in the 3 o’clock position, a 60-minute counter and the date reside at 6 o’clock and small seconds are seen at 9 o’clock. Wearers only need to adjust the date once a year, since the annual calendar tracks months with 30 and 31 days. Côtes de Genève finishing on the movement is visible through the sapphire case back, and a blue alligator strap lined with rubber completes the timepiece.