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Watch functions explained: How a perpetual calendar works

Watch functions explained: How a perpetual calendar works

In 2016, we experienced a leap year, granting us the gift of an extra day in February, extending it to 29 days instead of the typical 28. While this extra day is a welcome novelty, it often brings a minor inconvenience – adjusting our watches manually to reflect the change on March 1st. However, did you know there are watches that seamlessly handle this transition without requiring any intervention?

In most analog watches, a date disk manually counts from 1 to 31, necessitating adjustment when shorter months roll around, like February's 29 or 30 days. This small effort can be easily forgotten, leading to incorrect dates on your timepiece. But there exist watches equipped with perpetual calendars, ensuring they perpetually display the correct date.


The perpetual calendar complication is not only immensely practical but also exudes a sense of romance in the world of horology. While many watches feature basic date displays, a perpetual calendar goes beyond, providing day of the week, month, year, leap year, and in some exceptional cases, even the century and millennium. Such watches typically house a complex clockwork mechanism that adjusts itself, often requiring manual intervention only once every century. The elegance and classic appeal of perpetual calendar watches, though often accompanied by a higher price tag, make them highly coveted pieces, with Patek Philippe's perpetual calendar chronographs standing as some of the most sought-after timepieces in the world of watches.