Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar: The First of Its Kind
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 are a worthy investment.
5 Reasons to Buy a Perpetual Calendar
- Luxury watches with in-house calibers
- 18-karat gold or platinum cases, some with ornate finishes
- A sound and stable investment
- Classic, elegant designs
- Especially coveted: Perpetual Calendar Chronograph and Minute Repeater
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. The most intricate pocket watches and wristwatches in the world come from this Genevan luxury manufacturer. In 2014, 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 collectors. With the Perpetual Calendar, Patek Philippe offers an entire family of watches made up of the best the market has to offer. The cases are available in platinum or yellow, white, or rose gold and tend to be on the smaller side. Older models are only 35 to 37 mm in diameter, while current models range from 38 to 39 mm. Some versions are rather classic and elegant, while others are a bit sportier. Regardless, every model is a perfect dress watch to pair with a suit.
Generally speaking, you have three options for models with a perpetual calendar: a round case with hand indicators for the calendar, a pillow-shaped case with hand indicators for the calendar, or a round case with a retrograde date and windows for the month and day. The first two models are powered by the automatic in-house caliber 240 Q, which is especially flat thanks to its decentralized rotor. The third model features the caliber 324 S QR – a reliable and precise movement that has appeared in numerous Patek watches since its introduction in 2004.
How much does a Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar cost?
|Perpetual Calendar Chronograph ref. 2499R||1.28 million USD||Perpetual calendar, chronograph|
|Perpetual Calendar Minute Repeater ref. 5207P||657,000 USD||Perpetual calendar, minute repeater, tourbillon|
|Perpetual Calendar ref. 5160/500G||172,000 USD||Perpetual calendar, hand-engraved case|
|Ladies First Perpetual Calendar ref. 7140R||73,000 USD||Perpetual calendar, diamonds|
|Perpetual Calendar ref. 5940R||63,800 USD||Perpetual calendar, pillow-shaped case|
|Perpetual Calendar ref. 3940G||40,600 USD||Perpetual calendar|
Detailed Price and Model Information
The Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar is available in a number of editions. Older models with perpetual calendars serve as the entry point into this section of the Patek Philippe catalog. Timepieces from the 1990s and early 2000s have particularly attractive prices. For example, the ref. 5039J from 1990 costs about 34,800 USD in very good condition. Three subdials at 3, 6, and 9 o'clock display the date, day, and month, respectively. At the same time, the subdials also feature a leap year indicator, moon phase display, and an additional 24-hour display. Thanks to its thin lugs and clous-de-paris guilloché bezel, this 35-mm timepiece feels especially classic and elegant.
If you'd prefer something a bit sportier, you may enjoy the ref. 3940J. It also dates back to the early 90s and is almost identical to its sister model. The only differences are its 36-mm case and more modern shape. In mint condition, this watch demands around 40,600 USD.
Current models, like the ref. 5327G, differ very little from their predecessors when it comes to technology. However, they feature a much larger, 39-mm case and a redesigned dial with applied numerals instead of line indices. Plan to spend around 69,600 USD for a new timepiece and 63,800 USD for a pre-owned one. The 35-mm women's model 7140R with diamonds sits in a similar price range, with pre-owned pieces selling for at least 61,400 USD and mint-condition watches for about 73,000 USD.
A Retrograde Date Display and Pillow Shape
Patek Philippe also offers a version of the Perpetual Calendar with hand indicators for the calendar in a pillow-shaped case. The latest model bears the reference number 5940R, is 37 mm in diameter, and is made of rose gold. Its dial layout and technology are the same as that of the ref. 5327, and its price is also similar. Expect to pay between 52,200 and 63,800 USD for this timepiece. You can save quite a bit by purchasing its 35-mm predecessor, the ref. 5040R. Depending on its condition, it costs between 33,600 and 52,100 USD.
Patek Philippe took the technology and design in a different direction for the reference number 5159. Its Roman numerals and thin lugs have a more traditional feel. These watches are available in 18-karat white, yellow, or rose gold.
The light-colored dial is guilloched by hand in the middle. Arabic numerals sit above the Roman hour markers to distinguish the minutes. The moon phase display is located at 6 o'clock, while the day display is at 9 o'clock and the month display at 3 o'clock. The watch has a retrograde date display . Beneath 12 o'clock is the leap year display. A sapphire glass case back gives you a clear look at the caliber 324 S QR, although a hinged lid protects it. The case diameter is 38 mm. Expect prices of around 55,600 USD for a pre-owned model and 71,900 USD for one in mint condition.
Once again, you can save quite a bit by choosing an older model. You can get the 36-mm white gold ref. 5059G in very good condition for as little as 42,900 USD. Those in mint condition cost 4,600 USD more, on average. On the other hand, the ref. 5160/500G is especially elegant and exclusive. It features all the same technology as the ref. 5159, but its white gold case, bezel, lugs, and crown have all been intricately engraved by hand. Its dial also features Arabic instead of Roman numerals. You can call this treasure your own for around 172,000 USD.
The Perpetual Calendar with a Chronograph and Minute Repeater
Patek Philippe is a true specialist when it comes to crafting chronographs. Time and time again, this manufacturer has proven their skills. Highlights include their watches featuring a perpetual calendar and stopwatch. Patek Philippe released the first Perpetual Calendar Chronograph in 1941. The watch had reference number 1518 and displayed the day of the week, date, month, and moon phase on the dial side. At the time, the chronograph did not yet have a leap year display. Patek Philippe only produced 281 copies of this incredibly expensive wristwatch. Since the 1518 model is extremely rare, collectors pay enormous sums of money for one. The Perpetual Chronograph with reference number 2499 is also quite coveted. Prices for this rare timepiece easily exceed one million dollars.
Current models with the ref. 5208 all sit in a similar price range. These watches combine three of the most coveted complications in one case: the perpetual calendar, the chronograph, and the minute repeater. Pre-owned examples demand around 893,000 USD, while never-worn pieces change hands for about 1.12 million USD. If you can do without a stopwatch function, the ref. 5207 makes a nice alternative. It has a tourbillon in place of a chronograph and costs between 626,000 and 657,000 USD.
Current models with reference number 5204 are almost a bargain at 232,000 USD. Their cases are 40 mm in diameter and are available in rose gold or platinum, thus making them well suited for almost every wrist. The dial is either black or silver. The applied gold indices are luminous and make it easy to read the watch, even in the dark. The day and month display is located beneath 12 o'clock. The small seconds is at 9 o'clock and the 30-minute counter for the chronograph is at 3 o'clock. The moon phase display and current date are located at 6 o'clock, while the leap year display is located between 4 and 5 o'clock. As this model is a double chronograph, you can time intervals as well thanks to its two central stopwatch hands.
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, and the perpetual calendar.
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.