Gateway to the stars

For some considerable time, the simple calendar was considered an ancillary function; a necessary “gash” in the face of the watch. Until, that is, watchmakers realised how a large date could distinguish a dial, going on to make the annual calendar a carefully crafted focal point. The Perpetual Calendar‘s unloved little brother now has a horological pedigree of its own.

At the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, Jaeger-LeCoultre jumps straight in: “Calendar-related indications are among the most useful a fake Breitling watches can offer, and calendar functions have long been part of the watchmaking culture of the Grande Maison, admirably complementing other complications such as the tourbillon or the minute repeater. This year they are expressed in their own right.” As the Manufacture from La Vallé de Joux rightly reminds us, “the sky harbours the origins of time, while the sun, moon and stars are the keys that enabled humankind to tame this impalpable phenomenon. They are the be-all and end-all of horology“.

Leaving the fine points of astronomy to the experts, suffice to note that the natural rhythms of daylight and dark, the passing seasons or the phases of the moon were Man’s first references and the basis for calculations made possible by the invention of writing. The Mesopotamians devised a unit of measure that served to calculate both distance and time. More than four thousand years later, it remains at the heart of the sexagesimal system that we use to calculate degrees of an angle and minutes. As Jaeger-LeCoultre explains, every aspect of time originates in astronomical measurements, transcribed first by rudimentary instruments such as the gnomon, then more elaborate tools such as the sundial and the astrolabe. The calendar is another remarkable invention, almost as old as human civilisations themselves.

A skip of the heart

These early instruments were succeeded by mechanical clocks, in the thirteenth century. The Mastery of Time, a reference work on the history of timekeeping, notes that “of all the inventions born of the inventive genius of the Western world, it is probably the Clock that has exerted the strongest influence on the way people think and behave.” The high quality Montblanc Replica watches that grace our wrists today are the direct descendants of these first mechanisms, which imposed the concept of time as linear; a succession of discrete and now calibrated intervals. Yet while one can imagine the enormous knowledge required to harness time’s astronomical origins within the confines of a wristwatch, it appears equally evident that the simple “telling of time” cannot adequately do justice to such an extraordinary genesis. If not overwhelmed with emotion, we shall content ourselves then with a skip of the heart at the sight of the calendar indications that connect us with our origins.

Or so watchmakers hope. From a design angle, large dates have “taken over” dials, perhaps nowhere more than at A. Lange & Söhne. Equally imposing, this time from a mechanical point of view, is the perpetual calendar, a complication so challenging that it is reserved for Best Breitling Replica Watches whose intricacy is matched only by price. The annual calendar, which indicates the date, day, month and in certain instances moon phases, and which must be manually adjusted once a year, is the bastard child that grew into the prodigal son. Jaeger-LeCoultre presents its version in the Master Calendar whose dial is crafted from meteorite stone. IWC‘s Portugieser Annual Calendar has a seven-day power reserve. Audemars Piguet‘s Millenary Quadriennium is unusual in that it requires manual correction just once every leap year. Over at Officine Panerai, the Luminor 1950 Equation of Time 8 Days displays the date in an aperture and the month on a counter to judiciously complement the equation of time indication, a seasonal variation due to the inclined plane of the Earth’s orbit. Such is the magic when watchmakers have us seeing stars…