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About time: it's a date

Abid Rahman

 

Naysayers, conservatives and traditionalists will say that with all this technology at our fingertips, we've never had it so good. I beg to differ: if anything, the surfeit of techno-apps and webular contraptions has made my life infinitely worse.

Take matters calendrical, for example: there was a time when a humble diary was enough to keep track of things. Not anymore: at the last count I had three calendars competing for my attention on my laptop and two on my phone. The irony, of course, is that I rarely have any idea where I'm supposed to be or when.

Many of us long for the simple life and, for this, putting a calendar on your wrist is certainly the classy way to go. This week we look at three of the best perpetual calendar watches released recently. But, before we begin, a little explanation as to what a perpetual calendar, as opposed to a standard or annual calendar, actually is. In the watch world, the perpetual calendar is a feature that shows the day, date and month, and will adjust itself for the number of days in any given month and for leap years.

We start probably at the apex of perpetual calendar watches, with the Patek Philippe Split Seconds Chronograph and Perpetual Calendar (above right). This watch is so packed with goodies it's a wonder they managed to cram them all in, and to such a world-class standard. The perpetual calendar is clearly visible on the dial face, with windows for the day and month at the 12 o'clock position and a date sub dial at the six o'clock position. For added spice, Patek Philippe has included a moon phase indicator; and there's a handy split seconds chronograph. Inside is where the magic happens, though, and for watch geeks the CHR 29-535 PS Q movement is something to behold. The case is platinum and sized at a classical 40mm, with the strap of hand-stitched alligator leather. The Patek Philippe Split Seconds Chronograph and Perpetual Calendar is priced at HK$2.5 million.

Next is the always wonderful FP Journe and its latest gem, the Quantieme Perpetuel (left). Bearing all the brand's iconic stylistic hallmarks, the watch is as sophisticated on the outside as it is on the inside. Available in platinum or gold and - rather intriguingly - in either a 40mm or 42mm case, the Quantieme Perpetuel is all about the dial, and one's attention is immediately drawn to the idiosyncratic layout, which has a touch of old-world dandyism about it. There are windows at the 12 o'clock position for the day and month, with the date window at the six o'clock position. The centre of the watch houses a subtle leap-year indicator. At the nine o'clock position there is a power-reserve indicator, which on this watch runs to a fantastic 120 hours. As with the Patek Philippe, the real beauty of the Quantieme Perpetuel is on the inside - and the thing that will make it a collectors' piece is the automatic FPJ 1300-3 movement, which is made of 18-carat gold and comes with a gold winding rotor. Prices for the FP Journe Quantieme Perpetuel range from HK$500,000 to HK$600,000, depending on the case material and size.

Finally, something a little less orthodox, the Victorinox Chrono Classic 1/100th (below). An odd choice given the other two, perhaps, but this watch shows that perpetual calendars aren't the preserve of collectable watches. Coming in a 41mm brushed-steel case, the Chrono Classic pushes its rugged and sporty credentials first and foremost; but the dial presents a masculine perpetual calendar, too, with a date window. The 1/100th of a second chronograph is pretty nifty on this watch and is activated with a double tap on the crown. Other features include a tachymeter. Prices for the Victorinox Chrono Classic 1/100th have not been confirmed, with the watch due to be launched in September.

 

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