In 2016, Patek Philippe’s Annual Calendar, which only needs to be corrected once a year, is celebrating its 20th anniversary. To commemorate this occasion, the manufacture has launched a new model of this complication. This watch (Ref. 5396) has been subtly reworked and refined and logically complements the 21 previous models that have been presented since 1996.
The new Patek Philippe Annual Calendar is available in white gold with a dark gray sunburst dial and in rose gold with a silvery white opaline dial. Both models look familiar yet at the same time appear to be totally new. Familiar because of the style elements that dominate the series for years, and new because these elements have never before been combined this way.
The round of the case merges gracefully with the strap lugs, and a smoothly polished bezel frames the dial. The sapphire-crystal glass is prominently cambered, endowing the watch with volume and a modern look. You can easily spot the Calatrava personality in this one, which is somewhat of the archetype of all classic round watches.
The dial features an in-line double aperture in the upper half that displays the day of the week on the left and the month on the right. The date display is positioned in a large aperture at 6 o’clock. Together with the double aperture, it frames the 24-hour subsidiary dial with the moon-phase display in the lower half of the dial to assure a visually balanced configuration.
This layout is reminiscent of Patek Philippe perpetual calendars from the 1940s and 50s. The main difference lies in the position of the analog date scale, which is occupied by the 24-hour dial, which doubles as a day/night indication in the Ref. 5396.
The time is indicated in classic fashion: A peripheral circle of small gold minute markers frames the Breguet numerals. They harmonize great with the Dauphine-style hour and minute hands as well as with the long, slender sweep seconds hand.
The heart of the Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Ref. 5396 is a self-winding mechanical movement that correctly displays the calendar information for an entire year. Much of the finesse of the caliber 324 S QA LU 24H is visible through the sapphire-crystal case back.
And: good news for everyone who fell in love with this gorgeous timepiece: This anniversary edition is not a limited one.