Next up in our rundown of this year’s ‘Greatest Hits’ is a list of calendar watches, specifically Annual and Perpetual Calendar watches. Looking back at what brands have brought to the table in this category only confirms the appeal of a watch that keeps track of more than just the passing of time. With indications that need little to no adjustments over the year, these calendar watches are some of the most complex on the market. But they come at a price as these complications are a) not easy to come by and b) not exactly affordable. Nevertheless, here is MONOCHROME’s selection of the Best Calendar Watches from 2023!
From classy to robust and from ultra-thin to oversized, this list will take you in all directions. The preselection for the calendar watch category wasn’t as expansive as the Best of Chronograph or Dive watch lists, but there was real debate within the team to narrow it down to just five. A few exceptional watches didn’t make the cut but are stunning nonetheless, such as the Vacheron Constantin Traditionelle Tourbillon Retrograde Openface or the H. Moser & Cie Endeavour Tantalum Blue Enamel. Don’t let that deter you, though, as the five that did make it are spectacular for various reasons.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin 41mm
Even though this Royal Oak QP Ultra-Thin by Audemars Piguet no longer holds the title as the thinnest perpetual calendar watch, it’s an outstanding piece nonetheless. Entirely crafted from titanium top to bottom, it’s also a very light and extremely comfortable watch on the wrist. The inimitable style of the Royal Oak stands out even in this slender 6.30mm frame. New for this year was the smokey blue dial finished with a sunburst pattern, which provides a cool background for the QP display. Spread across the dial are the subregisters for the date, day of the week, month and leap year, as well as day/night and moon phase indications. Overall, this is perhaps the best-executed luxury sports perpetual calendar you can get, if you can get your hands on one (taking into account that it’s a limited edition of 200 pieces priced over EUR 100,000).
For more details on this superb Royal Oak Ultra-Thin QP by Audemars Piguet, please check out our in-depth review here.
Breguet Classique Perpetual Calendar 7327
When it comes to calendar watchmaking, there’s no getting around Breguet. This year, it stole the show with the Classique Perpetual Calendar 7327, executed in typical Breguet fashion yet with a slightly more contemporary look. The 39mm case comes in white or rose gold and the silvered gold dial is finished with hand-applied Clous de Paris guilloché in the centre. Breguet refreshed the dial with fewer registers and a more compact moon phase (now an arch instead of a full circle), resulting in a cleaner, easier-to-read watch. Based on the movement of the outgoing Ref. 5327, the new Ref. 7327 accounts for the length of the months and the leap year cycle, as you would expect from a QP. It’s driven by a three-quarter-sized rotor and finished beautifully – a true Breguet through and through.
For more details about the Breguet Classique Perpetual Calendar 7327, please read our hands-on introduction here.
Glashütte Original Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar 2023
With a mix of timeless German (or rather Saxon) design and a modern approach to elegance, the Glashütte Original Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar has always been a favourite of ours. This year, the brand has decided to update it with a cleaner, more contemporary design whilst retaining the essence of the original. The textured dial comes in silver or grey with rose gold or blue-coated gold indices and hands. The choice for each dial also impacts the case, as the silver dial comes in a gold case and the grey one in a steel case. What stands out is the relatively uncluttered design of the dial, with separate apertures for the Panorama Date, day of the week and month indications, and a sub-dial for the leap year and moon phase displays. Simple and intuitive!
For more information on the 2023 editions of the Glashütte Original Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar, please check out the article here.
IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Top Gun Lake Tahoe
The IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar is living proof that ‘oversized’ can be a very good thing, especially when it comes to such a complex display as a perpetual calendar. It’s a matter of go-big-or-go-home, even more so in this bold TOP GUN Lake Tahoe edition crafted in white ceramic. The 46.5mm wide case provides ample space for the QP indications and is exceptionally legible. The contrast between the black dial and the white case is impressive, making for a provocative watch that will surely get noticed wherever you go. It also caught the MONOCHROME team by surprise, as we usually go for more understated models. And let’s be honest, there’s absolutely nothing subtle about this one, but with the IWC Big Pilot’s Watch, we wouldn’t want to have it any other way!
For more information on the big and bold IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar TOP GUN Lake Tahoe, please consult our introduction article here.
Patek Philippe Aquanaut luce Annual Calendar 5261R
Perhaps not as alluring as the QPs on this list, but no less impressive is the Patek Philippe Aquanaut Luce Annual Calendar 5261R. Even though this is presented as a ladies’ Luce watch, in our book, this is a perfectly unisex watch! The sporty Aquanaut case is machined from 18k rose gold and has a steel blue-grey colour on the dial. What works wonders for the Aquanaut Annual Calendar is that the day of the week and month displays are pushed down a bit, resulting in a very legible and unexpectedly balanced look. On top, you have a moon phase with the date at the bottom. To finish things off, the textured rubber strap matches the pattern and colour of the dial. Truly a remarkable watch from the Grand Maison! But next time, please don’t label something as cool as this as a women’s Luce! It swings both ways at Patek, and you know it.
For more details on this Aquanaut Luce Annual Calendar 5261R, please consult our in-depth review here.