Collector’s Guides • 12 Dec 2015

4 Reasons Why Audemars Piguet Is The World’s Leading Perpetual Calendar Innovator


The first wristwatches with functional perpetual calendars were only introduced in the early 20th century. However, these wristwatches lacked an important element that all watchmakers of that time had difficulty innovating, the elusive leap year indicator which perpetual calendar pocket watches then had. Audemars Piguet has always been at the forefront of perpetual calendar innovation, and this was a challenge taken in stride by this watchmaker, who is also known for being the first to stylize unique perpetual calendar pocket-watches. Here are 4 reasons why Audemars Piguet is still the world’s leading perpetual calendar innovator.

1. The Perpetual Calendar laid the cornerstone for the founding of Audemars Piguet

Watch legends Jules Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Piguet.
Watch legends Jules Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Piguet.

The design and production of calendar-equipped watches was the cornerstone of the 1875 founding partnership between Jules Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Piguet. Such timepieces are to this day a specialty of the company. This founding passion and partneship was ignited with Jules Louis Audemars’s first school pocket watch creation.

The 1875 trailblazer, Jules Louis Audemars’ 18K gold school pocket watch.
The 1875 trailblazer, Jules Louis Audemars’ 18K gold school pocket watch.

The perpetual calendar complication by Audemars Piguet not only displays the day, month and year, it is able to take into account the different days of the months and adjust accurately to leap years. Certain models feature the moonphase complication too. Audemars Piguet’s perpetual calendar complication is truly one of the horological world’s greatest innovations and a hallmark of the company.

 

2. Audemars Piguet was the first to fit and feature the leap year indication
Audemars Piguet was the first in 1955 to introduce the first series of perpetual calendar wristwatches with the leap year indication, the Audemars Piguet Reference 5516. This was a technological breakthrough as Audemars Piguet was able to fit such a complication into the already small and tight wristwatch casing.

The original Audemars Piguet Reference 5516 Circa 1955, one of three built.
The original Audemars Piguet Reference 5516 Circa 1955, one of three built.

 

3. Audemars Piguet was the first to create the world’s thinnest perpetual calendar wristwatch
The defining moment for Audemars Piguet which helped the company overcome the Quartz Crisis era in the late 1970s was their ability to fit a perpetual calendar complication into the thinnest of casings. This innovation essentially sealed Audemars Piguet’s place as the leading watch innovator in perpetual calendar technology. In 1978, Audemars Piguet officially unveiled its secretly developed watch, the groundbreaking world’s thinnest perpetual calendar wristwatch at 3.95mm thin. No other watch could come as close to this.

The 1978 world’s thinnest Perpetual Calendar wristwatch unveiled by Audemars Piguet.
The 1978 world’s thinnest Perpetual Calendar wristwatch unveiled by Audemars Piguet.

 

4. The New Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar
The New Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar is truly a testament to the depth and emphasis that Audemars Piguet has always placed in the continuous pursuit of perfecting the perpetual calendar complication. Audemars Piguet’s 140 year journey in pursuing such a perfection culminates in this beautiful piece, which features the new selfwinding calibre 5134 based on its calibre 2120 predecessor. The innovative people at Audemars Piguet packed the highly finished calibre featuring a perpetual calendar with indicators for week, day, date, leap year, hours and minutes and an astronomical moonphase indicator, into just 4.31 mm of thickness with 40hr of power reserve, beautifully visible through the Royal Oak’s glareproofed sapphire crystal caseback. That is a lot of mechanisms cramped into a space just slightly thicker than the size of a dime!

The beautiful epitome of 140 years, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar.
The beautiful epitome of 140 years, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar.

 

Don’t you agree that we could just stare at the Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Gold’s beautiful tourbillon spinning all day…

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon

 

Now that’s Audemars Piguet’s way of breaking rules by first mastering them, and they have been mastering them for the past 140 years.

 

The Hour Glass is an official retailer of  Audemars Piguet Timepieces.

All images are courtesy of their respective owners and linked to their source.



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