Perpetual calendar watch can also be called as the first smart watch. The perpetual calendar watch smart feature is that without any reset, it shows the date correctly for over hundred years. It takes account for long and short months in a calendar. If you ever wondered what a perpetual calendar watch is and how it differs from other watch calendar complications, read on. We have taken a closer look into the history, mechanism and difference of all watch calendar complications.
History of perpetual calendar watch
The credit of invention of perpetual calendar watch goes to a british gentleman Mr Thomas Mudge. He invented the perpetual calendar watch in the year 1762. Even though it was invented in the year 1762, it almost took two centuries to make its way to our wrists. This advancement was done by Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe. They worked on the perpetual calendar watch mechanism and managed to shrink the components to a size that can fit on our wrists.
Another revolutionary advance in the perpetual calendar technology was done at the IWC Schaffhausen. Their team used quartz technology to create a new kind of perpetual calendar. Their watches are programmed for 500 years and boasts a four digit year display, something that is unheard of in the watch space.
What are the types of calendar watches?
As you may know already, any feature on a watch other than showing time is called as complication. The feature of showing a date on a watch is called as calendar complication on a watch. In general, the watches can feature up to three types of calendars : perpetual calendars, annual calendars and complete calendars. These calendars are represented via small dials on the watch faces and generally show the date, month and day on it.
The main difference between the perpetual calendar, annual calendar and complete calendar is the inbuilt mechanism to adjust for the complexities and inconsistency in the calendar.
What is so special about a perpetual calendar watch?
Watches display date by showing day of the week, day of the month and name of the month. The problem with showing the date is that the calendar doesn’t have constant divisions of time. In the calendar, there are long and short months. Then there is the inconsistency in number of days in February. On top of it there is a need to adjust for the leap years.
A watch with a perpetual calendar, as the name implies is a watch featuring a calendar mechanism that correctly displays the date on the watch perpetually. These types of watches indicates the date properly and corrects itself for months with days less than 31 and also corrects itself for the leap year. The other special feature of a perpetual calendar watch that it need not be reset for over 100 years.
Useful trivia about perpetual calendar watches
It is said that to assemble a single watch with perpetual calendar, even for the most skilled watchmaker, it takes over a month. One can just imagine the hundreds and hundreds of gears that need to be assembled to keep track of the exact date. With the leap year in picture, some of these components may actually be triggered only once in four years. The technology is a complicated assembly of connected pieces that trigger one another for the seconds, minutes, hours, days and months.
Does a perpetual calendar watch ever need a reset ?
Due to the vagaries of the Gregorian calendar, one leap year is deleted every 100 years. Thus a perpetual calendar watch would need to be adjusted only once in a 100 year time. If you do buy a perpetual calendar watch now, you would need to reset it on February 28 2100.