Today, the Patek Philippe Annual Calendar is one of the renowned Swiss watch manufacture’s most popular watches. However, what some may not know is that the annual calendar is a relatively new watch complication only dating back to the late 1990s. Today we take a look at the reference that started it all, the Patek Philippe Annual Calendar 5035.
The Debut of the Patek Philippe Annual Calendar
It was in 1996 when Patek Philippe patented and unveiled their first Annual Calendar watch. Unlike a Perpetual Calendar—which requires no manual adjusting to keep correct time and date—and Annual Calendar complication needs one correction a year when February turns into March. Other than that one time a year, the watch will continue to display the correct time and date by automatically adjusting to take into consideration the number of days in a month.
The watch was the Patek Philippe Annual Calendar ref. 5035J and it went on to win “Watch of the Year” by Montres Passion magazine. The movement powering the then-new Patek Philippe Annual Calendar watch was the 315 S-QA automatic movement.
Patek Philippe Annual Calendar 5035
The Patek Philippe Annual Calendar ref. 5035J features a 37 mm yellow gold case and a beautifully balanced dial that is easy to read. The subdial at 3 o’clock indicates the month, the subdial at 6 o’clock indicates the hour on a 24-hour scale, the subdial at 9 o’clock indicates the day, and the window at 6 o’clock indicates the date. The luminous leaf-shaped hour and minute hands point to luminous-filled gold Roman numeral hour markers and there’s also the rail chapter ring on the outer edge of the dial.
Turn the Patek Philippe Annual Calendar 5035 around and you’ll see the automatic Caliber 315 S-QA through the sapphire caseback. With its 21k gold rotor, 35 jewels, and frequency rate of 21,600 beats per hour, the 315 S-QA movement offers a 48-hour power reserve.
To accompany the gold Patek Philippe Annual Calendar 5035, the watch comes with a handsome leather strap with a matching gold tang buckle. The first Patek Philippe Annual Calendar was available in three different shades of gold: ref. 5035J in yellow gold, ref. 5035G in white gold, and ref. 5035R in rose gold.
A Milestone Moment for Patek
Patek Philippe no longer produces the ref. 5035 as it was discontinued in the mid-2000s to make way for other Annual Calendar models. For instance, current Patek Philippe Annual Calendar watches are slightly larger and they also include a moonphase display on the dial.
However, not only do we value the historical significance of the Annual Calendar ref. 5035 as the very first annual calendar wristwatch, we also appreciate its straightforward dial design. In just two decades, the Annual Calendar has become a flagship model for Patek Philippe and we can thank the ref. 5035 for that.