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About time: dates with destiny

Abid Rahman

 

It's December 23, two days to go before Christmas and, more importantly, two days after the supposed end of the world. If you're reading this then it is probably safe to say that the Mayans were at worst wrong and at best misunderstood. But then again, they were spot on about chocolate, so let's not be too judgmental.

The Mayans may have lost all calendar-making credibility, but in a delicious if tenuous segue, perhaps your calendar needs can be sated with a nifty perpetual-calendar watch. For the uninitiated, very briefly, a perpetual calendar complication gives the day and date year-round as it takes into account issues such as the number of days in any given month and leap years. Given the level of complexity, perpetual-calendar watches are a treat visually and technically, and the Antoine Martin Quantieme Perpetuel (below right) best illustrates this double whammy. The genius behind Antoine Martin is master watchmaker Martin Braun, who for legal reasons cannot include his own name in that of his brand.

But what's in a name though, when you can come up with the striking design and movement found in this watch? Coming in a rose-gold case sized at a whopping 46mm, the timepiece makes an immediate statement that is reinforced by its bold design. The dial features indicators for am/pm, day, date, month and leap years, but it is the innovative movement that will intrigue enthusiasts. An entirely in-house endeavour, the AM Calibre 39.001 features, among other things, a silicon escapement that requires no lubrication and gives this meaty watch six days of power reserve. A true gem, prices for the Antoine Martin Quantieme Perpetuel are available upon request.

The perpetual calendar is one of the classic complications in watchmaking and no brand does tradition better than Vacheron Constantin. This year, the brand has added the Overseas Chronograph Perpetual Calendar (below left) to its Overseas Collection, and the design, build and engineering are an object lesson in how to balance indicators while not overwhelming the dial. Coming in rose gold, the case is sized at 42mm, allowing room for sub-dial indicators for day, date, month, leap year and moon phase. The sub-dials double as chronograph sub-dials, making this a feature-rich watch but also thirsty, with power reserve limited to 40 hours. The overall look is classic Vacheron Constantin but the watch also comes with an alternative rubber strap for a more modern and sporty appeal. The Vacheron Constantin Overseas Chronograph Perpetual Calendar is priced at HK$850,000.

Our final perpetual-calendar watch is the quite wonderful IWC Spitfire Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month (top). Another rose-gold watch with a rather literal name, the timepiece is an interesting take on the perpetual-calendar complication in terms of display. Priced at HK$438,000, this Spitfire is worth every penny and is the first IWC Pilot's watch to combine a perpetual calendar with a digital display, which grabs the attention almost immediately. Sized at a hefty 46mm, the dial has two large double-digit displays for date and month as well as the more orthodox indicator for leap years. The design mixes the classic with the boldness of the Pilot series, which is just right given the overall size of the watch. As well as the perpetual calendar, IWC has also thrown in a chronograph and a stopwatch function, all powered by the impressive Calibre 89800 movement.

 

    

 

 

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