While we tend to celebrate the pinnacle of calendar complications – the perpetual calendar which needs no correction regardless of whether a 30 or 31 day month or leap year February (28 vs. 29 days), there’s another more accessible but no less amazing calendar calculation, one which bridges the spectrum between a simple date complication and the quantieme perpetual or QP complication – the annual calendar.
Over 20 years ago, after perfecting the art of the perpetual calendar, Patek Philippe decided to perpetuate their passion for horology to a wider audience. This new, more accessible horological concept came to be known as the Annual Calendar, while almost as functional as the QP, Patek Philippe’s new calendar complication would recognise both 30 vs. 31 day months and only require correction each February as additional gear teeth and wheels needed to be appropriately cut to account for a 3 to 4 day difference.
You can learn more about the prestigious maison in the manufacture’s new book – Patek Philippe: The Authorized Biography by Nicholas Foulkes which details its modest beginnings to the birth of the world’s most prestigious watchmaker, a story of Patek Philippe as captivating as its timepieces.
Basel 2017: Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Flyback Chronograph Ref. 5960
This rather lengthy introduction is necessary because prior to the Ref. 5960 in 2006, all calendar chronographs were of the perpetual calendar variety. Available in variations of gold, the Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Flyback Chronograph Ref. 5960 was such a great hit that when the Ref. 5960/1A variant was launched, it received great fanfare. Why? the A in 1A was French for Acier or steel. Today, Basel 2017 sees the launch of a new Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Flyback Chronograph Ref. 5960/1 with a reverse dial – its 2014 predecessor enjoyed a white dial with black and red subdials while the new edition has a black base with white subdial ring.
In terms of technical specificities, the new Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Flyback Chronograph Ref. 5960/1 is powered by the same calibre CH 28-520 IRM QA 24H as its predecessor, Patek Philippe’s first manufacture chronograph calibre, now sporting a new ebony black opaline dial. The face highlights the personality and uniqueness of the latest Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Flyback Chronograph Ref. 5960/1 with signature three aperture day, date, month arc and the aesthetic balance of chronograph mono-counter at 6 o’clock.
The chronograph mono-counter with black and silvery white tracks and numerals or reverse on the outer rim with silvery white and black track and numerals is itself visually striking yet doesn’t fight the day-date-month indicators for attention (those indicators are themselves subtle by virtue of their black discs). That said, the Ref. 5905 Annual Calendar Chronograph joined the Patek Philippe family of annual calendars in 2015 and now it looks like a new Ref. 5960 will continue with steel.
Also published on Medium.