BY ERIK SLAVEN
The annual calendar and travel time are important complication for Patek. The brand introduced the first wristwatch annual calendar in 1996 (ref. 5035) and travel time (dual time zones) followed a year later. Combining the two for the first time required a new movement and case, and the result is a clean, retro piece that’s deceptively complex. A moonphase was thrown in to complete the package and this is sure to please discriminating travelers and watch enthusiasts (with sizable budgets). This watch follows the Pilot Travel Time from 2018 with the same travel time complication, but the huge pushers at 8 and 10 o’clock are no longer necessary.
The annual calendar falls between a regular and perpetual calendar as it understands which months have 30 or 31 days, but needs a once-per-year adjustment in February (hence the “annual calendar” name). A perpetual calendar requires no manual adjustments (not even for leap years). The Calatrava-style case is white gold and 41mm in diameter with a thickness of 11.07mm, and it sports a cool hobnail pattern on the caseband. Everything else is polished and there are sapphire crystals front and back. The watch has three crown positions to control all dial functions, eliminating the prior need for pushers. Water-resistance is only 30 meters, so this isn’t a piece to go swimming with. Two strap options include beige calfskin with a nubuck finish and black calfskin with beige stitching and an embossed fabric pattern. A white gold folding clasp is included on both.
The charcoal grey dial is textured with an old Leica vulcanite vibe. I wouldn’t really call it a gradient dial, but it does darken a bit at the perimeter. I guess it qualifies. Applied Arabic numerals and syringe-style hour and minute hands have beige Super-LumiNova inserts. The central time zone and small seconds hands, and most dial elements are a matching beige. There are two day/night indicators, one for local and one for home, and a moon phase at 6 o’clock makes the annual calendar complete. In two windows at the top, there’s the day of the week and month of the year, while the date sits at 6 o’clock. It’s a busy dial without looking particularly busy as Patek balances everything well.
Powering the watch is Patek’s new(ish), in-house caliber 31‑260 PS QA LU FUS 24H. This is the same movement found in last year’s In-line Perpetual Calendar (ref. 5236P), but includes a new annual calendar module and eight patents. It’s an automatic with a platinum micro-rotor that has 47 jewels, beats at 4Hz with a 48-hour power reserve. The movement has 409 parts and features the Patek seal, which is the brand’s own version of the Geneva Seal. Patek claims it’s more comprehensive and also covers movement performance. Hand finishing is flawless and includes perlage and Côtes de Genève.
The Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Travel Time (ref. 5326G-001) retails for CHF 65,000/USD 76,882. It’s predictably pricey for a piece from a “Holy Trinity” member. Visit Patek Philippe here.