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GPHG - Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève
GPHG 2016 - Calendar watches

GPHG 2016 Calendar watches

Even today, the perpetual calendar remains one of the most complex watchmaking complications in existence, as will become abundantly clear from this overview of watches entered for the Calendar category of the GPHG 2016.

The Calendar category of this year’s Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève features 14 watches offering a variety of functions, the only obligation being a minimum of one calendar or astronomical function.

Audemars Piguet has entered its Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar. This timepiece offers several functions; day, date, month, astronomical moon, and week are all there, with the leap year indication given pride of place on the blue Grande Tapisserie dial, which contrasts strongly with the yellow gold case.

The Bovet 1822 Virtuoso VII Retrograde Perpetual Calendar will certainly capture the jury’s attention, with its perpetual calendar indications in addition to hour, minute, seconds and power reserve. The day and month are visible on either side of the dial, and the retrograde calendar has been located in a concentric ring around the outside of the hour and minutes. The calendar pointer is beneath the hour and minutes dial, ensuring the time display remains eminently legible.

Calendrier GPHG 2016

Unsurprisingly, Chopard has entered this year’s flagship timepiece, the L.U.C Perpetual Chrono. This elegant and sophisticated watch combines a manually wound chronograph with a perpetual calendar. The calendar has a distinctive double-window big date, along with the day, month and the current or leap year. The array of indications is completed with a day/night indication and an orbital moon phase display. The watch also features a flyback chronograph. The zero reset system for the counters and central sweep seconds hand is handled by progressive-contact hammers. The Chopard Perpetual Chrono thus combines two time frames: the longer scale of a calendar that will provide accurate indications for centuries, and the shorter scale of specific timing operations.

Claude Meylan has some surprises up its sleeve. The Swiss company best known for its skeleton watches has entered the Légende 88, a supremely elegant full calendar. The day and month are shown in two central windows at 12 o’clock, above the moon phase display at 6 o’clock. The date is indicated by a hand terminated with a red crescent. In addition to these functions is a chronograph with three counters. The superlative skills required to bring these functions together explain the CHF 25,600 price tag.

Calendrier GPHG 2016

As expected, Frédérique Constant has put forward its Manufacture Perpetual Calendar. The watch aroused great interest when it was presented at Baselworld for its exceptional value for money. Available for a relatively accessible CHF 14,995, once the watch’s perpetual calendar is set up for the first time, it will take into account the months with 30 and 31 days, the 28 days of February and also the leap year cycle with the return of 29 February every four years. No further adjustments will be needed until 1 March 2100 when, because of an exception in the Gregorian calendar, there will be no leap year.

Girard-Perregaux, based in La Chaux-de-Fonds, has entered a perpetual calendar from its Girard-Perregaux 1966 collection, which shows leap year, hour, minute, date, day, week and month. Its highly complex mechanism counts 1461 days, or four years. The Girard-Perregaux 1966 Perpetual Calendar, with its elegant design and beautiful finish, is priced at CHF 49,000.

Calendrier GPHG 2016

Hublot has brought its Big Bang Unico Chronograph Perpetual Calendar to the party. The timepiece has been made so that the mechanism is visible through the dial, despite the high number of calendar functions it offers. The day, date, month, leap year and moon phase functions are contained in a module added to the Unico base movement. The moon cycle is subtly depicted in an aperture at 3 o’clock, which shows two moons alternately beneath a partially smoked sapphire glass. The watch also has a convenient “One Click” strap system, which makes changing the strap very quick and easy.

Montblanc is responsible for the least expensive timepiece in the category, available for “just” CHF 9,700, because it is an annual rather than a perpetual calendar. The Heritage Chronométrie Chronograph Annual Calendar combines a chronograph with an annual calendar, and requires adjusting just once a year, at the end of February. The striking display features blued hands for the chronograph and small seconds indications, and red-gold-plated hands for the hour, minute and calendar. The days of the week are at 6 o’clock, with the date at 12 o’clock and the month at 9 o’clock. A reworked lunar cycle completes the display at 3 o’clock, indicating the four main phases of the moon: new moon, first quarter, full moon and last quarter.

Calendrier GPHG 2016

Finally, Urban Jürgensen has entered the Reference 1741, a perpetual calendar watch with leap year and moon phase indications. The moon phase disc alone required twenty separate operations to achieve the required level of miniaturisation. Quite an achievement. A distinctive feature of the watch is the exquisite use of the grenage technique, a traditional finish favoured by the company. This paragon of elegant and minimalist design comes with a price tag of CHF 91,200.

Urban Jürgensen Reference 1741

Costing an average of CHF 73,360, the 14 watches in contention for the Calendar category will certainly give the jury a lot to think about, because the perpetual calendar remains without doubt one of the most complex watchmaking complications in existence.

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Audemars Piguet is one of the few independent family-owned watch businesses and has been based in Le Brassus, in Switzerland's Vallée de Joux region, at the heart of the fine watchmaking industry,...

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