Stay on top of all watchmaking news ! OK

This search is sponsored by BEHRENS

Search in :
Editorial - What Day Is It Again?

Editorial What Day Is It Again?

A little horological help for the memory-challenged among us (mea culpa)!

My dear WorldTempus family, I come before you today with my head hanging in the deepest shame. A bit of context for this startling statement — although you most likely read these words on a Monday, when our newsletter is sent winging through the Internet aether to land in your inbox — I actually wrote them the preceding week. On Wednesday 22 February, in this instance. And the source of my shame is this: I forgot it was Ash Wednesday. That is, I forgot until I read the messages my family’s WhatsApp group chat, by which time I was already halfway through my customary mid-morning Twix bar. While the office might erupt in spontaneous celebratory dancing when my colleagues learn that I will be avoiding our in-house stash of sweets for the next 40 days (effectively doubling the per diem allocation of candy for them), I shall be saving my energy — diverting it away from the chocolaterie and towards the horlogerie. I hereby undertake an investigation of mechanical solutions for Not Forgetting Important Stuff.

There are already a number of existing timepieces out there that indicate significant religious observances; the most famous being the Patek Philippe Cal. 89 (date of Easter), the Vacheron Constantin ref. 57260 (date of Yom Kippur) and the Parmigiani Tonda Hijri Perpetual Calendar (month of Ramadan). These highly impressive watchmaking creations are groundbreaking in terms of the engineering creativity and skill they possess, and if you’re in the habit (as I am) of being oblivious to imminent events of high importance in your religious community, these might be options for you. Of course, if you have the means to acquire any of the abovementioned watches, you’re probably also the kind of person who has in your employ someone whose job it is to remind you of this stuff. 

What Day Is It Again?

Tonda Hijri Perpetual Calendar © Parmigiani Fleurier

Taking a more quotidian approach to regularly occurring events, there are a whole mound of alarm watches out there that will chime, buzz or vibrate you into alertness when it’s time to wake up (or take that 3pm coffee break). The iconic Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox dominates in this realm, although we shouldn’t overlook the charm of the Rendez-Vous Sonatina, also from La Grande Maison. The Marine Alarme Musicale 5547 by Breguet is perhaps the watch most people would remember when thinking of alarm watches from the brand founded by the father of modern horology Abraham-Louis Breguet, but La Musicale 7800 is surely the pinnacle of Breguet creations in this domain. Essentially, it contains a miniaturised and specially adapted mechanism (most frequently used in music boxes) to play a short piece of music at a desired hour. The version of La Musicale that you can find in boutiques is programmed with a piece of classical music, but special orders can be made to personalise the music to be played — perhaps a few bars of Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water” to give the requisite urgency to your alarm. (Regional joke alluding to the local Swiss-French saying, “The lake is not on fire” — taken to mean “relax” or “calm down, there’s no rush”.)

What Day Is It Again?

La Musicale 7800 © Breguet

More poetic ways to memorialise a date using your watch include a number of De Bethune pieces (DB25 Starry Sky, DB25 Starry Varius, DB28XP Starry Sky etc) with dials that can be personalised to represent a star map indicating a time, date and location of your choice. Trilobe, the young Parisian brand that has nevertheless made quite a splash in the community of watch lovers, offers a similar feature in their Les Matinaux Secret watch. 

What Day Is It Again?

DB25 Starry Varius © De Bethune

Probably the watch that most closely matches the requirements of my circumstances, however, would be the Van Cleef & Arpels Midnight Planetarium, with an adjustable “lucky date” function that can be set by the wearer to indicate a particular event to remember. The Glashütte Original Senator Diary offers even more precision, allowing you to set an alarm up to 30 days in advance for a specific date and time. 

What Day Is It Again?

Midnight Planetarium © Van Cleef & Arpels

Of course, all of this can be done with built-in smartphone apps, but where would be the fun in that? Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to see if anyone in the office wants a half-eaten Twix bar. 

Watch Finder

Search by:

Find your watch >


Breguet’s archives, kept in Switzerland and in Paris, record the developments that have sustained Breguet watchmaking for more than two centuries. The firm is committed to remaining ahead of its...

Find out more >

De Bethune embraces the wealth of the watchmaking knowhow of the past in order to design the watches of the future. This combination results in timepieces with all the attributes and technical...

Find out more >

Jaeger-LeCoultre: HOME OF FINE WATCHMAKING SINCE 1833. Located in the serene setting of the Vallée de Joux, our Maison radiates a unique sense of belonging. The soul of La Grande Maison is formed...

Find out more >

One of the more recent success stories of the Swiss watchmaking industry, Parmigiani Fleurier emerged from the close relationship between watchmaker Michel Parmigiani and the Sandoz Family Foundation.

Find out more >

Patek Philippe enjoys outstanding renown and rare prestige, due to the constancy with which the Manufacture has applied its philosophy of excellence ever since it was founded.

Find out more >

An exploration of the history of Vacheron Constantin is a voyage of discovery, revealing the excellence of age-old watchmaking. Each timepiece is the result of the creative inspiration of the...

Find out more >

Each of Van Cleef & Arpels’ creations is imbued with jewelry and watchmaking excellence, drawing inspiration from whether nature, couture or the imagination. Its creations evoke a timeless world of...

Find out more >