A mechanical computer is a beautiful thing to behold, and we’d venture to say that nowhere has it been miniaturised with such skill as in a wristwatch perpetual calendar, and beautifully crafted by pioneers in the field, Patek Philippe. The manufacture was first to the post with a wristwatch perpetual calendar, and also the first to produce them in series, at a time of global distress no less, in the thick of the Second World War.

No wonder then, that Revolution Founder Wei Koh has penned a series of article as an outlet for the overflowing admiration that he has for Patek Philippe perpetual calendars:

1. The Entire History of Patek Philippe’s Perpetual Calendars
2. History of the Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Chronograph
3. Patek Philippe Ref. 5970 — The Most Beautiful Classic Watch Ever Made
4. 1925: Patek Philippe 97975, the World’s First Perpetual Calendar Wristwatch
5. 1944: Patek Philippe Ref. 1591, first Water Resistant Perpetual Calendar Wristwatch
The Entire History of Patek Philippe’s Perpetual Calendars

It begins here, and Patek Philippe would go on to clock several more firsts:

“Patek Philippe was the very first to create a perpetual calendar wristwatch in 1925, the first to create a retrograde perpetual calendar wristwatch in 1937, and the very first to produce a perpetual calendar wristwatch in series in 1941 with the legendary reference 1526. It was the first to create a sweep seconds perpetual calendar wristwatch in 1944 with the reference 1591 and the first to serially produce this complication in 1951 with the reference 2497. It was also the first to create a self-winding perpetual calendar beginning in 1962 with the iconic reference 3448; it would take a full 16 years before another Swiss watchmaker could match this achievement. In addition, Patek was also the first to create a perpetual calendar chronograph in 1941.”

The first serially produced perpetual calendar ref. 1526
Patek Philippe Ref. 1591 in Stainless Steel (Image © Revolution)
Launched in 1951, the reference 2497
History of the Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

To command the varied-length months, and dictate elapsed timings at will… is taking mastery of time to another level of completion. It is also about family…

“In 2009 Philippe Stern’s son Thierry was made president of the company. And it is with the Stern family, specifically Charles Stern that the story of Patek Philippe’s creation of the world’s first serially produced perpetual calendar chronograph the 1518 began.”

Ref. 1518 (image: Christie’s)
Ref. 1518 (image: Christie’s)
Patek Philippe Ref. 5970 — The Most Beautiful Classic Watch Ever Made

It’s a bold claim and there are many contenders to the thrown. Yet, all things considered, the Ref. 5970 is the very watch of which Wei says, “If I were able to retrieve just one watch from my home, before it went up in flames like a Viking funeral pyre stoked with napalm, it would be my Patek Philippe 5970.”

Ref. 5970 in rose gold with a unique chocolate dial, property of Wei Koh (Image © Revolution)
Focus on particular legends in the pantheon of greats:
1925: Patek Philippe 97975, the World’s First Perpetual Calendar Wristwatch

“Patek’s very first perpetual calendar wristwatch dates back to 1925. But in reality, the movement for this watch goes even further back to 1898, when the maison made the movement to be housed in a women’s pendant watch. It is intriguing to imagine their thinking at the time. That this extraordinary complication capable of keeping time, date, day, month, year and even moon phase would appeal to a very specific female client.”

Patek Philippe 97975: The First Wristwatch with Perpetual Calendar (Image © Revolution)
1944: Patek Philippe Ref. 1591, first Water Resistant Perpetual Calendar Wristwatch

“In 1944, Patek Philippe created what is my single favorite perpetual calendar watch ever made.”

Patek Philippe Ref. 1591 in Stainless Steel (Image © Revolution)