Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar, 5040G-016, White Gold

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Believed to be the first perpetual calendar release by Patek Philippe in a tonneau case, the reference 5040 was produced between 1992 and 2007. It wears a deep black dial not often seen on Patek Philippe watches, and is further distinguished from the other variants of the reference through its circular minute track and Arabic numerals, overall bearing an attractive monochromatic, sleek, and symmetrical appearance.

Perpetual Calendars

“Of course, watchmakers just love a perpetual calendar,” enthuses Stephane Widmer, technical office manager for Bovet. “I mean, here’s a complication, parts of which don’t move for hundreds of days and then which have to move precisely at one particular time on one particular day. It’s mechanically pure – and us watchmakers tend to be a bit square. Admittedly it’s not a very playful complication – you can’t press buttons and see something happen for the fun of it. That said, we do have customers who get together to sit and wait for midnight on a leap year to see the date flip over. The perpetual calendar inspires that kind of adulation.”

Indeed, it may come down to a tie with a minute repeater, but the mechanical perpetual calendar is certainly one of the most complicated of complications – after all, it displays the date in a way that, unlike most watches, not only allows for the various number of days in different months, but also compensates for leap years, such that a perpetual calendar worn consistently from today won’t need resetting until 2100.