Patek Philippe introduces a totally new perpetual calendar with an innovative patented one-line display.
You might not know this but the first watch to feature a date window was unveiled in 1925 when Patek Philippe presented the first wristwatch with this highly elaborate complication. Since then, perpetual calendars have always been prominently featured in Patek Philippe’s collections, ranging from the famous self-winding ultra-thin caliber 240 Q movement found in the Ref. 5327, which can be recognized by its day, date, and month displays in three separate subsidiary dials; and the self-winding caliber 324 S Q, which among others powers the Ref. 5320 and which exhibits another traditional face among the manufacture’s perpetual calendars.
Now the watchmaker adds a new model to its line of calendar watches, each of which features a perpetual calendar that displays the day, the date, and the month on a single line in an elongated aperture beneath 12 o’clock.
To combine this unique feature with crisp legibility and high reliability, the watch Maison’s designers developed a new self-winding movement for
which three patent applications have been filed. Impressive stuff.
The new in-line perpetual calendar – Ref. 5236P-001 – premières in an elegant platinum case with a blue dial and presents an innovative indication of the day, date, and month in an elongated aperture at 12 o’clock. A panoramic aperture of this kind is not totally unprecedented in the manufacture’s collections; Patek once crafted pocket watches with an in-line calendar display for the American market.
However, to assure the largest possible calendar display on a single line with optimized legibility, the developers were asked to design a system with two date disks – one for the tens and one for the units. Consequently, the calendar display consists of four disks, one for the day, two for the date, and one for the month – all four perfectly embedded in the same plane. A single
date disk with 31 numerals would have been too small and less easily legible.
In compliance with the manufacture’s basic principles as set forth in the directives of the Patek Philippe Seal, the new, complex mechanical ensemble had to be implemented with the smallest possible diameter and minimized height without compromising its maximum long-term dependability. For this reason, the super-slender caliber 31-260 REG QA
originally launched in 2011 with the Ref. 5235 Annual Calendar Regulator has been used for the new model.
While retaining the diameter and height of the basic movement (31.74 x 2.60 mm, hence the designation 31-260), the engineers completely reworked the new calibre 31-260 PS QL and integrated the manufacture’s latest technical achievements. The movement was “tuned” so it could drive the particularly energy-hungry perpetual calendar mechanism, while the torque of the spring barrel was increased by 20% and the winding power
boosted with a platinum minirotor that has more mass than the 22K gold that is normally used for Patek Philippe minirotors. Moreover, the calibre 31-260 PS QL is fitted with a reduction wheel that uncouples the automatic winder as soon as the movement is being manually wound, effectively reducing wear.
The aesthetic appeal of the movement is also subtly evolved with two distinctive bridges for the escapement and the fourth wheel, which affords a better view of the basic movement’s wheel train, overall architecture, and
refined finissage as revealed by the sapphire-crystal caseback (although this can be substituted with a solid platinum back that is delivered with the watch).
The switching of the calendar displays is gradual. The display of the day, date, and month on a single line is complemented with two small round apertures, one at 4 o’clock for the leap year cycle and one at 8 o’clock for the day/night indicator, providing information that is very useful when the
calendar needs to be set. The moon phases, an essential element of Patek Philippe’s perpetual calendars, are tracked with very high precision in a window within the subsidiary seconds dial at 6 o’clock.
To facilitate the adjustment of the functions, three correctors – for the day, the date, and the month – are recessed in the case flank between 9 and 2 o’clock, in the same order as the respective displays. The moon phase corrector is positioned at 8 o’clock.
The looks of the new Ref. 5236P-001 in platinum are inspired by the Ref. 5235 Annual Calendar Regulator. It features a very sleek case with a diameter of 41.3 mm and a chamfered bezel. This unassuming architecture is emphasized with polished finissage that is executed by hand, while slightly angled strap lugs extend the line of the chamfered bezel and assure optimized comfort on the wrist.
As in most of Patek Philippe’s platinum wristwatches, the case flank features a small diamond at 6 o’clock, while the blue dial with black gradation to the periphery creates a harmonious contrast against the silvery shimmer of platinum. The progression of time is tracked with applied hour markers and baton hands in white gold, while the day, date, and month displays are clearly and legibly printed in blue on white.
The new model comes with a navy blue alligator strap with a platinum fold-over clasp.
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