Patek Philippe has developed a broad spectrum of calendar functions, from the simple aperture date to the extremely complex secular perpetual calendar that is preprogrammed into the 28th century. For quite some time, the perpetual calendar has established itself as a genuine specialty of the manufacture. The patented Annual Calendar, launched in 1996, triggered a small revolution as a full calendar that only needs to be corrected once a year on March 1. In 2013, the Ref. 5200 Gondolo “8 Days, Day & Date Indication” was welcomed as a fascinating innovation with its instantaneous day-of-week and date display.
Now, Patek Philippe is taking a step forward by expanding its collection of “useful complications” with the addition of a weekly calendar that displays the current week number. It is a decidedly practical function in a globalized world, even in the smartphone era.
An easily legible and unmistakable face
The new Ref. 5212A-001 Calatrava Weekly Calendar expresses its uniqueness with a silvery opaline dial and the unusual layout with five hands from the center – quite a rare configuration. The hours and minutes are indicated with elegant Dauphine hands in blackened white gold. They feature two lapped facets, a perfect match for the applied baton indexes in blackened white gold with four lapped facets each. A slender counterbalanced hand tracks the seconds. The day of the week is displayed by a hammer-shaped hand with a red hammer head on a circular scale in the middle of the dial.
A second hand of the same design delivers week number and month readings on two concentric scales at the periphery of the dial. These calendar indications are complemented by an aperture date at 3 o’clock. Another special feature: The typography created explicitly for this watch is based on the handwriting of one of the manufacture’s designers; its letters and numbers are absolutely unique. Carefully printed in black, they add very personal and poetic notes to the dial of the Ref. 5212, recalling an epoch in the not too distant past when notes were still written by hand in paper diaries.
A case of timeless elegance
With a diameter of 40 mm and a thickness of 11.18 mm, the stainless steel Calatrava case – a rarity at Patek Philippe – also stands out on account of the finesse of the bezel that extends over the two-tiered, gently curved strap lugs. The case is cold-formed in the manufacture’s ateliers with high-tonnage presses and then meticulously hand-polished by experienced artisans – a highly complex undertaking given the many sharp edges and angles.
Its aesthetic appeal is inspired by the Ref. 2512, a one-of-a-kind piece made in 1955 and held in safekeeping by the Patek Philippe Museum. This kinship is emphasized by the reference number of the new Calatrava Weekly Calendar that consists of the same numerals in a different order. The vintage aspect is amplified by a box-type sapphire-crystal glass with a slightly cambered profile. The stainless steel snap back has a sapphire-crystal inset that allows the movement to be observed at work.
Optimized automatic winding
The self-winding mechanism was also completely reworked and refined. The most prominent change involves the shape of the winding rotor that now has two rounded recesses on both sides of its axis of rotation. This is an unmistakable characteristic feature of the new caliber 26-330. Further substantial modifications improved the efficiency and longevity of the unidirectional winding mechanism.
The first optimization of the automatic winder with the centrifugal mass replaces the traditional uncoupling yoke with a pinned spring by introducing a new patented clutch wheel that is manufactured with a highly complex process. It drives the mainspring barrel in one direction and uncouples it in the other direction. The second optimization consists of a reduction wheel that is uncoupled from the automatic winder when the watch is manually wound. When parts that generate friction and need to be tweaked are replaced with high-tech components, this improves the performance and dependability of the movement.
With its 304 parts (including those for the weekly calendar mechanism), the all-new caliber 26-330 S C J SE is a perfect manifestation of Patek Philippe’s tradition of innovation. The sapphire-crystal case back of the new Ref. 5212A-001 Calatrava Weekly Calendar reveals the refined architecture and painstaking finissage of the movement as prescribed by the Patek Philippe Seal.