Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar: A World First
The Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar is one of the most popular watches to feature a perpetual calendar. Combined with precious materials, high-precision in-house calibers, and intricate finishes, these Patek watches make for a worthy investment.
The Perpetual Calendar
Patek Philippe and complicated watches go hand in hand. There's no other manufacturer as well known for intricate complications as this Swiss family business. In 2014, for example, they presented the Grandmaster Chime, the world's most complicated wristwatch at that time.
The perpetual calendar is one of the most popular complications among watch enthusiasts. With the Perpetual Calendar series, Patek Philippe offers an entire family of timepieces in the Grand Complications collection made up of the best the market has to offer. The design language combines class and elegance: The cases are exclusively crafted from precious metals like gold and platinum and tend to be between 35 and 41 mm in diameter. Despite their complicated mechanisms, these models are surprisingly thin. Even watches that combine a perpetual calendar with other complications like a chronograph or minute repeater are usually no more than 12 mm thick.
Patek produces the models in their Perpetual Calendar series with three different dial layouts. Watches with a pointer display for the day, date, month, and leap year have a particularly classic feel. The second arrangement uses windows to display the calendar information. Lastly, the third format combines pointers and windows, with the pointer displays often taking the shape of sweeping retrograde mechanisms.
All models use in-house calibers of the highest quality to ensure the time keeping and complications run accurately. They have ornate finishes and decorative detailing. What's more, you can watch these exceptional movements at work through sapphire crystal case backs.
Reasons to Buy a Perpetual Calendar
- Outstanding luxury watches with in-house calibers
- 18-karat gold or platinum cases, some with ornate finishes
- Sound and stable investment
- Classic, elegant designs
- Especially coveted: Perpetual Calendar Chronograph and Minute Repeater
How much does a Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar cost?
|Reference number||Price (approx.)||Size, material, complications|
|5208R-001||1.35 million USD||42 mm, rose gold, perpetual calendar, minute repeater, chronograph|
|5207G-001||966,000 USD||41 mm, white gold, perpetual calendar, minute repeater, tourbillon|
|2499||638,000 USD||38 mm, yellow gold, perpetual calendar, chronograph|
|5204R-001||283,000 USD||40 mm, rose gold, perpetual calendar, rattrapante chronograph|
|5740/1G-001 (Nautilus)||273,000 USD||40 mm, white gold, perpetual calendar|
|5520P-001||201,000 USD||42 mm, platinum, perpetual calendar, GMT|
|5236P-001||130,000 USD||41 mm, platinum, perpetual calendar|
|5320G-001||82,000 USD||40 mm, white gold, perpetual calendar|
|5050J||62,500 USD||36 mm, yellow gold, perpetual calendar, retrograde date|
|5039J||42,500 USD||35 mm, yellow gold, perpetual calendar|
Detailed Price and Model Information
The Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar is available in a number of editions and at different price points. Older models from the 1990s and early 2000s generally serve as the entry point into this section of the Patek Philippe catalog. Prices begin around 42,500 USD and rarely break 80,000 USD.
Perpetual Calendars in the current lineup demand between 69,000 and 265,000 USD. Prices are heavily influenced by the timepiece's material and the intricacy of its detailing.
Exquisite models that combine a perpetual calendar with further complications come in between 190,000 and 1 million USD, depending of course on the level of detail and number of extra functions. Premium timepieces, like the Grandmaster Chime, can exceed 3 million USD.
Pointer Date, Date Window, or Retrograde Display
If you're interested in buying a Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar, you'll first need to decide which type of display you'd like to see on your wrist. Patek offers you the choice between pointer dates, date windows, and retrograde displays.
Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar With Pointer Date
Watches with this configuration use subdials with hands to display the date, day, month, and leap year.
The ref. 5327 from the watchmaker's current portfolio has this format. Its 39-mm case comes in yellow, white, or rose gold. The dial, which is available in blue or white, features applied Arabic numerals and three subdials. The month and leap year sit at 3, the dual date and moon phase indicator are found at 6, and the day and 24-hour display are positioned at 9 o'clock.
The caliber 240 Q ticks away inside the case. The movement has a microrotor and, impressively, is only 3.88 mm thick. Thanks to this slim construction, the ref. 5327 has a total thickness of 9.71 mm and thus no problem sliding under your cuff.
Depending on the material, plan to spend between 79,000 and 82,000 USD on the Perpetual Calendar ref. 5327.
If you'd prefer something a bit sportier, take a look at the Patek Philippe Nautilus ref. 5740/1G. Like the ref. 5327, this white gold timepiece is powered by the caliber 240 Q. As a result, the watch combines the iconic design of the Nautilus with the functionality of a Grand Complications model. Prices come in around 274,000 USD.
Perpetual Calendar Models With Date Windows
Perpetual Calendar models with date windows have a more modern appearance compared to those with pointer displays. The platinum ref. 5236P has this setup, and at 41.3 mm, is one of the larger models in the collection. Its blue dial has a window below the 12 o'clock position for the day of the week, date, and month. The movement uses two separate discs to display the date. This is advantageous, as the individual digits are larger, and thus offer better legibility.
The dial features two further apertures at 4 and 8 o'clock for the leap year and day/night indicator. The moon phase and small seconds share a subdial at 6.
Prices for a Perpetual Calendar ref. 5236P in mint condition come in around 129,000 USD.
Combined Pointer Date and Date Windows
Patek Philippe is also known to use both pointers and windows for displaying the date. These timepieces generally use a hand to indicate the date, while the day, month, and leap year are displayed in windows. The ref. 5320G has two apertures for the day and month at 12 o'clock, a pointer date with the moon phase at 6, and two small windows for indicating the leap year and whether it is day or night, one at 4:30 and the other at 7:30. As of 2022, you can also buy the white gold ref. 5320G with a rose gold-colored dial. Depending on which dial you choose, you can expect to pay between roughly 81,000 and 93,000 USD for this elaborate wristwatch.
Watches with retrograde displays take things one step further. On these models, the date is displayed by a central hand, around which the digits for the date form a semicircle from 8 to 4 o'clock. When the hand reaches the last digit of the respective month, it automatically jumps back and starts its journey again.
A particularly opulent model with this format is the ref. 5160/500G-001. The 38-mm white gold case and hinged cover protecting the sapphire crystal display back are beautifully decorated with hand-finished engravings. This masterpiece requires an investment of approximately 261,000 USD.
If you're looking for something a bit more subdued, the ref. 5496P is a great option. This timepiece has the same inner workings as the ref. 5160/500G-001, but has a polished platinum case. At around 67,500 USD, you could almost call this timepiece a bargain.
Perpetual Calendar With a Chronograph and Minute Repeater
Patek Philippe is a true specialist when it comes to crafting chronographs. Highlights include their watches featuring a perpetual calendar and stopwatch. Patek Philippe has been combining these complications since the early 1940s. Vintage watch collectors are particularly drawn to the refs. 1518 and 2499. These references are crafted from yellow gold and have a diameter of 35 mm and 38 mm, respectively. On the dial, you'll recognize a tri-compax arrangement: the subdial for the minute counter sits at 3, the pointer date and moon phase are at 6, and the small seconds hand works away at 9 o'clock. The windows for the day of the week and month are nestled below 12 o'clock. Depending on the exact model and its condition, you can expect prices for these vintage watches to run between 425,000 and 640,000 USD.
Similar models in the current collection come under the reference number 5270. At 41 mm across, they have a much more contemporary case size, but their design is still heavily inspired by their vintage counterparts. Thanks to the manual caliber CH 29-535 PS Q working away inside, the 5270 features a day/night indicator as well as a leap year indicator. You can buy this watch in white, yellow or rose gold for between roughly 146,000 and 193,000 USD. Patek also offers the watch with a platinum case and gemstones (ref. 5271). This version will set you back around 376,000 USD.
You will also find timepieces with perpetual calendars and rattrapante or split-seconds chronograph complications in the collection. The ref. 5373P-001 released in 2022 is a fantastic example. The platinum watch is a monopusher chronograph, meaning that the chronograph is started, stopped, and reset using a single push-piece integrated into the crown. Intervals, on the other hand, are measured by operating an additional push-piece. Since the 5373P-001 is designed as a left-handed model, the pusher and crown are on the left side of the case. Listings for this extraordinary chronograph on Chrono24 start at around 585,000 USD. The right-handed version, the ref. 5372P, demands similar prices.
Perpetual Calendar Chronographs With Chiming Mechanisms
If you like your watches even more complicated, you should take a look at the current models under the reference number 5208. In addition to the perpetual calendar and chronograph function, these timepieces also boast a minute repeater, and thus combine three of the most sought-after complications in one case. This technological feat is achieved by the automatic caliber R CH 27 PS QI. This movement consists of 719 individual parts, including a microrotor, and offers a 48-hour power reserve. You can buy the ref. 5208 in either platinum or rose gold, with prices ranging from around 845,000 to 1.35 million USD.
If you don't necessarily need a chronograph, the ref. 5207 is another great pick. This reference flaunts a tourbillon and changes hands for between around 656,000 and 995,000 USD.
Grand and Small Complications: What's the difference?
The term "complication" refers to any additional function included in a mechanical movement besides displaying the hours, minutes, and seconds. There are grand and small complications. Small complications are, for example, a date, day, or moon phase display, as well as automatic winding.
Grand complications, on the other hand, include chronographs, world timers, chiming mechanisms, and perpetual calendars.
Patek Philippe's First Perpetual Calendar
Patek Philippe released the world's first wristwatch with a perpetual calendar in 1925. The movement for this watch had existed since 1898, however. Originally, Patek Philippe had planned to use the caliber in a pocket watch. This calendar complication was special because the hand for the day and the date moved to the next position at exactly midnight.
The caliber disappeared from the scene, however, as the public never truly became enthralled by its complicated mechanics. By the mid-1920s, wristwatches were much more important than at the turn of the century. Therefore, Patek Philippe set the movement in a wristwatch case. A short time later, the watch with reference number 97975 found a buyer. Now, this timepiece is priceless.