We know it’s 2020 but looking through our archive of timepieces we missed last year, we found this little piece that we thought should be mentioned. Patek are no strangers to the annual calendar, in fact in 2019 they introduced no less than 3 new models; the 5235/50R being one of them. The annual calendar is perhaps one of the most useful complications in the watch world today, though this Patek displays this information it a rather unorthodox manner that most are accustomed too. For the first time, in 2011, Patek introduced the ref. 5235G which featured a regulator-style layout, with hours, minutes and seconds segmented into three separate dials. However, being Patek this wasn’t enough and so they added the annual calendar complication.
The annual calendar complication is a calendar watch that sits in between your normal calendar piece and the highly complicated perpetual calendar. While a perpetual calendar takes into account the days of the month, including February and leap years, the annual calendar simply takes into account the months with 30 and 31 days, meaning that every February you have to set the watch and move it forward. This ingenious mechanism was invented by Patek Philippe back in 1996 as they saw a gap in the market and realised that it was enough for most that a calendar timepiece only took into consideration the 30- and 31-day months. With a perpetual calendar, the level of complexity in the mechanism outweighed the necessity for leap years and true enough, the annual calendar is one of Patek Philippe’s most successful releases.
The 5235G, released in 2011, featured a silvery two-tone dial, this time round Patek have opted for a facelift and given the regulator-style annual calendar a rose-gold case, with its two-tone dial in graphite and ebony-black with a vertical satin finish and white transfer-printed indications. This new look is enriched by the rose-gold baton-style hands, which is reminiscent of the old regulators. It accentuates its elegant technical air with three railway-track scales, one each for the main dial and the subsidiary hour and seconds dials. The Annual Calendar displays the day, the month and the date in three generous apertures, automatically taking account of months of 30 and 31 days. It therefore requires correction only once a year, on March 1st.
Through the exhibition case back is the calibre 31-260 REG QA self-winding movement, developed especially for this model, is notable for its frequency of 23,040 semi-oscillations per hour (3.2 Hz) and its high-tech regulator incorporating a Pulso- max escapement and a Spiromax balance spring in Silinvar – both developed by the “Patek Philippe Advanced Research” department. The micro-rotor in 22K gold is adorned with circular Geneva striping, together with all the other finely decorated parts.
The Patek Philippe Annual Calendar ref. 5235/50R is priced at £39,680. For more information visit the official Patek Philippe website.