A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar and Patek Philippe Ref. 5004

One of my favorite elements of watch design is the myriad ways in which a given complication can be formatted onto the surface of a dial. It’s what draws me to the many permutations of multiple time zone watches, and it’s something that is also highlighted by the not-so-humble perpetual calendar. Sure, the standard format is a host of tiny subdials that breakdown the date and phase of the leap year – but that’s far from your only option.

A. Lange & Söhne makes one of my favorite re-thinkings of the QP in the charming Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar. It’s a design that completely subverts the traditional layout of the QP but manages to do so while also respecting the specific design language of the Lange 1. The dual-digit grand date is complemented by a retrograde hand indicating the day of the week (with the weekend at the top, as it should be). Then, the months are displayed at the dial’s edge via a rotating ring that shows the active month at six o’clock. Finally, nestled just above the indicator for the month, there is a tiny aperture for the leap year. Chef’s kiss https://www.highluxurystore.ru.

With a quick glance, you might not even notice it’s a QP as the complication takes a backseat to the Lange 1’s beloved asymmetry. While I wouldn’t call a 42mm platinum-cased watch specifically subtle, this is a very low-key take on a traditionally flashy complication, and I just love it.
It’s the Patek 5004. Need I say more? Apparently, I’m told I do, but I’ll keep it brief.

Split-seconds. Perpetual calendar. Lemania-based movement. Take your pick of metals or dial indices: this is the ultimate Patek Philippe of the last thirty-odd years, bridging the gap between vintage and modern. Many people call it “the last great Lemania-era Patek.” But what does that even mean? It wasn’t until 2009 that the great Patek Philippe launched their first in-house chronograph wristwatch caliber. Before that, they only used three chronograph calibers as a base. The caliber 27-70, based on the Lémania 2310 ebauche, was the last of these three and, with the introduction of the 5004, brought the rattrapante and perpetual calendar together in a Patek wristwatch for the first time. And if you can count on one thing from watch lovers, even if something new is “technically better,” they certainly miss “the good old days.”
The only real complaint I’ve ever heard about this watch is it’s a bit thick, but that doesn’t stop it from being an incredible piece. It’s been my number-one grail for a long time, though I’ll probably never afford one. I got to test drive that experience, however, for about eight hours last spring, and I still think about it – and how uncomfortable I was with everyone asking me about my (very expensive) watch. That’s what happens when you wear an icon.

There’s something so nostalgic about a watch that innovates as the 5004 did while sticking to a core of the brand’s history: using someone else’s quality work and taking it to a new, nearly perfect level. And to top it all off, Patek gave the watch a perfect production send-off in 2011 with a steel case model, ref. 5004A (only 50 of them planned in total), and a unique piece in titanium for Only Watch. I’ve also been lucky to handle the ref. 5004A a few times, and it feels smaller because the case is much lighter than the precious metal versions. There are around 250 of the reference 5004 made, and if I had to pick one, you could do far worse than the rare few with Breguet numerals, like Eric Clapton’s or Roni Madhvani’s, but beggars can’t be choosers. Like Ben said, in platinum, white, yellow, or rose, you can’t go wrong https://www.highluxurystore.ru.