Patek Philippe’s patented annual calendar mechanism (1996) debuts inside an Aquanaut model for 2023. Presented in a unisex 39.9mm rose gold case with a bluish-grey dial, the annual calendar brings a useful and easy-to-use complication to the Aquanaut family. A new automatic movement with an inverted annual calendar module powers the Aquanaut Luce Annual Calendar.
In 1997, Patek Philippe launched its sporty chic Aquanaut, nearly two decades after the debut of its iconic Nautilus luxury steel sports watch. With its rounded octagonal case, clearly inspired by that of the Nautilus, and tropical composite strap, the more modern spirit of the Aquanaut was out to capture a new, younger audience. The Aquanaut Luce, a ladies’ version of the watch, joined the catalogue in 2004. Forgive us for differing, but although the brand catalogues this new model as a ladies’ watch, we think it works exceptionally well as a gent’s watch.
Patek’s annual calendar mechanism appeared in 1996 and has been fitted inside various models independently or combined with other complications. As part of the brand’s family of ‘useful complications’, an annual calendar sits between a plain calendar, which needs adjusting five times a year for months with less than 31 days, and the perpetual calendar, which requires no adjustment. An annual calendar can compute the date for months of 30 and 31 days and requires only one correction per year at the end of February.
The case of the Aquanaut is crafted in 18k rose gold; it has a diameter of 39.9mm (from 10 to 4 o’clock), a thickness of 10.94mm and a lug-to-lug distance of 47.35mm. To emphasise the shape of the signature rounded octagonal bezel, it is decorated with a vertical satin-brushed finish and a wide polished bevel, finishings that are replicated throughout the case. Flat sapphire crystals are fitted over the dial and screw-down caseback, and the Aquanaut’s hallmark crown guards flank the crown at 3 o’clock. However, because of the complication it houses, and the four recessed pushers in the caseband to adjust the calendar, the water-resistance of this model is reduced to 30 metres.
An attractive tone of blue, bordering on grey, is used for the dial embossed with the grid-like Aquanaut pattern that is echoed on the composite strap. Since the annual calendar module has been inverted, the display of the functions is different from other Patek annual calendar models. The date is displayed in an aperture at 6 o’clock, the moon phases appear at noon, and the month and day of the week are in two circular counters displayed horizontally across the dial’s centre.
The applied rose gold Arabic numerals for the hours, the baton-style hour and minute hands and the five-minute plots on the peripheral minute track are treated with white luminescent coating for enhanced legibility.
The new automatic movement with a 21k gold central rotor – calibre 26-330 S QA LU – is based on the calibre 26-330 introduced in 2019 in the Calatrava Weekly Calendar (ref. 5212A) fitted with the annual calendar module with moon phases. Equipped with Patek’s patented Gryromax balance and a Spiromax balance spring, the frequency is 28,800vph, and the power reserve oscillates between a minimum of 35 hours and a maximum of 45 hours. The movement also features stop-seconds functionality to set the time to the nearest second. Decorated to Patek Philippe Seal standards, the refined finishings can be appreciated through the sapphire caseback.
The composite greyish-blue Aquanaut strap is resistant to salt water and ultraviolet rays and is fitted with a patented foldover clasp with four independent catches.
The Ref. 5261R-001 Aquanaut Luce Annual Calendar retails for EUR 61,000. For more information, please consult patek.com.