Patek Philippe is renowned for its collection of exquisite complicated watches, ranging from perpetual calendars to minute repeaters to world timers and plenty in between. Along with manufacturing complications and grand complications, Patek Philippe has also been responsible for inventing complications—such as the annual calendar. The annual calendar complication is relatively young in the world of watchmaking, first patented by Patek in 1996. Unlike its cousin the perpetual calendar, which when set correctly and kept wound does not need any adjusting, the annual calendar, as its name suggests, needs adjusting once a year on March 1.
The appeal of an annual calendar watch over a perpetual calendar watch is that it is less tedious to set on the part of the wearer and less expensive. Since the debut of the Patek Philippe Annual Calendar, a handful of other brands have followed suit with their own versions. However, there’s nothing quite like the original. So, with that, join us as we take a closer look at a gorgeous pair of Patek Philippe Annual Calendar watches for him and her.
Patek Philippe Annual Calendar 5146J for Him
Part of the current Patek Philippe catalog, the Annual Calendar Ref. 5146 is the second generation of the model. It was first released in 2005 to replace the inaugural Ref. 5035 and it brought some significant changes to the dial by adding a moon phase display and a power reserve indicator and letting go of the 24-hour subdial.
The Patek 5146 sports a 39mm round case, available in yellow gold, white gold, rose gold, and platinum. The Ref. 5146J is the yellow gold version where “J” stands for “Jaune,” which is French for yellow. In true classic Patek fashion, the case includes an elegant smooth domed bezel, gracefully sloped lugs, and a guard-less winding crown. Both sides of the case are fitted with sapphire crystal—the front to protect the dial and the back for a view of the movement inside.
The dial of the Patek Philippe Annual Calendar 5146J is home to a date window at 6, a day subdial on the left, a month subdial on the right, a moon phase display above the date, and a power reserve indicator under 12. This particular model includes a slate gray sunburst dial, which offers a fantastic contrast to the yellow gold hands and hour makers. Speaking of hour markers, Patek opted for a mix of sticks punctuated by Arabic numerals at 3, 9, and 12.
Flip the Ref. 5146J and you’ll be treated with a view of the automatic 324 S IRM QA LU movement powering the Annual Calendar watch with a power reserve of 35 to 45 hours. There are the familiar brand hallmarks such as the Calatrava cross engraved into the gold rotor, the Patek Philippe seal of quality, and of course, the intricate finishes decorating the movement. An annual calendar movement can differentiate between 30 and 31 days but not if February has 28/29 days, which explains why the wearer has to reset the watch on March 1st.
Finishing off the look of the Annual Calendar 5146J is a brown alligator strap, fitted with a yellow gold Patek Philippe fold-over clasp emblazoned with the iconic brand Calatrava Cross.
Patek Philippe Annual Calendar 4936R for Her
Never forgetting the ladies, Patek Philippe also makes Annual Calendar watches for women such as this stunning ref. 4936. The ladies’ Annual Calendar 4936 was also launched in 2005, first in white and yellow gold and later followed by a rose gold model.
This Patek Philippe Annual Calendar 4936R is the rose gold version, fitted with a 37mm case set with a double row of diamonds on the bezel and diamonds on the winding crown. Aside from the smaller size, the ladies’ Annual Calendar is very similar in shape to the men’s Annual Calendar watch, complete with the same sloping lugs and sapphire crystal on both sides of the timepiece.
Yet, the dial layout of the women’s Annual Calendar is slightly different. While there are the same day and month subdials on the left and right, date window at 6, and moonphase indicator as the men’s model, there is no power reserve indicator. This version of the 4936R includes a mother-of-pearl dial, furnished with rose gold Roman hour markers and hands.
The back of the watch offers a look at the 324 S QA LU self-winding movement driving the watch with a power reserve of 35 to 45 hours, with the same Calatrava Cross etched gold rotor and decorative techniques. However, because this specific model was manufactured prior to the company switching over to its own Patek Philippe quality seal, this movement is marked with the famed Poinçon de Genève hallmark.
Completing the beautiful style of the rose gold Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Ref. 4936 is a tan alligator leather strap with a matching rose gold Calatrava Cross clasp.
A complication born in the modern era of watchmaking thanks to the finest Swiss watch brand, the Annual Calendar watches by Patek are exemplary examples of what contemporary horology can be. Whether for him or her, Patek Philippe Annual Calendar timepieces offer an appealing combination of elegant designs and masterful mechanical movements.