By Frank Geelen
The perpetual calendar is one of the most important horological complications, both for its complexity and for its purpose, keeping correct time for (almost) eternity. Most large manufactures have a perpetual calendar (quantième perpetuel in French, and often abbreviated to QP) in their catalogue. Today we’re going to have a look at QPs from small independent manufactures, and how they display this complication.
F.P. Journe Quantième Perpétuel
Besides being very classical in its display, the QP from F.P. Journe is a highly technical watch that took Journe many years to develop. Why? Because he wanted to make sure that all the displays changed not just instantly, but at exactly the same time. This isn’t easy because both the large date, the day of the week and the month need to to jump simultaneously, and that requires a lot of energy that has to be released at exactly the same moment.
The rest of the watch is pure horological beauty, with a 120-hour power reserve automatic movement, made in 18K rose gold, and an extremely elegant design. And all the adjustments are made via the crown. A discreet masterpiece.
De Bethune DB25 QP
You might wonder what is so special about the De Bethune DB25 QP, besides its three-dimensional moon indicator? The perpetual calendar is discreetly displayed via a date sub-dial, and two small apertures for the day and the month. The dial features a stunning guilloche pattern, masterfully made; however the true beauty lies beneath. The DB25 QP’s movement features a patented titanium and platinum balance wheel, a self-regulating twin barrel and a triple pare-chute shock-absorbing system. The movement is extremely modern and superbly finished. A classical looking watch that secretly hides a racing engine beneath its stunning dial.
The MB&F Legacy Perpetual
MB&F usually emphasises the beauty of the display rather than on the classical horological complications. And that’s an approach they also applied on their first perpetual calendar, and they have done it with grace. Implementing such a feature in a Legacy Machine wasn’t easy, mainly because Max and his friends wanted to keep the original concept of the central and floating balance wheel. To make things even more complex they choose for an entirely skeletonized dial and movement. For that, they teamed up with Irish watchmaker Stephen McDonnell, who redesigned the way a perpetual calendar works, with the help of a clever “mechanical processor“ that makes the mechanism easy to set and robust. The result is a proper Legacy Machine with a highly complex movement.
Frank Geelen – The Netherlands
Frank Geelen is an expert on Haute Horlogerie and beautiful hand-finished mechanical movements make his horological heart beats faster. He loves to explain all technical details of complications like tourbillons, minute repeaters, constant force escapements and column-wheel chronographs and he has been doing that for more than seven years. Besides publishing daily at Monochrome Watches (monochrome-watches.com) , Frank also writes for several other publications, both online and offline.