The annual calendar chronograph is a thoroughbred Patek Philippe product, a testament to the brand’s impressive talent for combining complications and inventiveness. Invented and patented by Patek, the annual calendar complication debuted in 1996 and ten years later, it was married to a flyback chronograph (with the reference 5960). More robust than a perpetual calendar and chronograph combo and about a third of the price, the annual calendar chronograph delivers the best of both worlds in hallmark Patek style. Earlier this year, Patek unveiled a new edition of its reference 5905R in a rose gold case with a majestic royal blue dial.
Calendar and chronograph combinations are signature Patek Philippe creatures, incarnated by the legendary reference 1518 of 1941, which married a perpetual calendar to a chronograph for the first time in watchmaking history. A more recent milestone in the brand’s history was reached in 1996 with the introduction of the world’s first annual calendar. Positioned between the simpler complete calendar and the more fragile and complex perpetual calendar, Patek’s innovative annual calendar – launched with the reference 5035 – indicates the date for months of 30 and 31 days and requires just one correction a year at the end of the erratic month of February.
In true Patek fashion, the annual calendar did what so many of Patek’s watches do and took on additional complications starting with the adoption of moon phases in 1998. However, the big news came in 2006 with the announcement of the marriage of the annual calendar to a flyback chronograph (reference 5960). Marking a world’s first, the 5960 cemented the brand as a modern and innovative watchmaker.
In 2015, the design of the chronograph annual calendar underwent a makeover and was increased in size from 40.5mm to 42mm case with a clearly defined sector-style dial, with the new reference 5905. Presented in precious metal cases, including the stunning rose gold and brown dial edition, the annual calendar and flyback chronograph appeared in a sportier iteration in stainless steel with an olive green dial in 2021.
The latest edition of the Chronograph Annual Calendar 5905R shares identical specifications to the abovementioned models and replaces the 2019 reference in rose gold with a brown dial (5905R-001). Housed in a 42mm diameter case with a pronounced height of 14.03mm, the curvaceous case with its smooth rectangular pushers is beautifully polished, drawing light to the hollowed, scalloped lugs and concave bezel. All very Patek indeed.
The combination of warm rose gold and royal blue works exceptionally well and is eye-catching, to say the least. Clear divisions on the dial give the watch a tight, symmetrical appeal and assist legibility. Faceted pink gold baton markers are applied to the sunray-brushed blue dial and elegantly truncated at noon to form two gold pyramids. The annual calendar functions are arranged in three windows – day, date and month – for an intuitive read, and the sub-dial at 6 o’clock houses the chronograph’s 60-minute counter. You’ll notice a small circular aperture just above the 30-min marker on the sub-dial that indicates day or night, a helpful function when setting the date.
Legibility in daylight conditions is excellent thanks to the crisp white background of the calendar apertures and the bold white markings on the dial. Even the numerals on the chronograph counter can be discerned without a loupe. However, for low light situations, the circular plots on the peripheral minutes/seconds track marking the hours and the pink gold hands are treated with luminescent material. There is a minor difference, though, with former models; the central chronograph seconds hand is now painted white to match the hand in the 60-min counter.
The dial colour is picked up on the shiny dark blue alligator strap with its rose gold prong buckle.
Calibre CH 28-520 QA 24H
The advanced movement powering the annual calendar chronograph is automatic, tailored for everyday wear. While the architecture of the integrated flyback chronograph relies on a traditional column wheel, it does not have a horizontal clutch. Instead, the movement uses a frictionless vertical disc clutch, allowing the chronograph seconds hand to double up as a regular running seconds hand. The movement is wound by a 21k gold rotor and decorated to Patek Philippe Seal’s high standards. Beating at a frequency of 28,800vh, the power reserve fluctuates between 45 – 55 hours.
Availability & Price
The Patek Philippe Chronograph Annual Calendar 5905R-010 replaces the 5905R-001 (rose gold and brown dial) and joins the steel model with a green dial (5905/1A-001). The watch retails for EUR 74,500. More information at patek.com.