I’ve spoken before about one of the simplest complications, which just so happens to be the date function. I’ve also spoken about the super-complicated minute repeater, with calendar and chronograph functions too. However, when I think of complications, one of the most usable complications for day-to-day wear is the triple calendar. Why? Well, because using your phone to look at the day, date, and month is so passé nowadays. So, we are going to look at three triple date timepieces in the form of three triple calendars from Patek Philippe, Girard-Perregaux and Blancpain.
Blancpain are probably better known for their diving timepieces. After all, they excelled at creating timepieces that were able to withstand depths of up to 90 meters (which was a lot in 1953)—hence the name Fifty Fathoms. However, when Jacques Piguet and Jean-Claude Biver revived the brand, they wanted to bring more in the way of finesse to Blancpain and did so by producing complicated pieces and bestowing upon them the name of Villeret.
The name Villeret is sacred to Blancpain because this is the brand’s native village. The Villeret collection is where the brand goes back to its roots, to where it believes the art of true watchmaking lies. All Villeret models have a few things is common, most notably their double-tiered bezels, the use of Roman numerals, and their extremely elegant cases.
The Quantieme Complet sports a dial with a very simple layout: two apertures just under 12 o’clock that display the day and month, an outer date scale, and a traditional moon phase at 6 o’clock, with running seconds. Leaf-shape hands mark the hours and the minutes, with an additional hand to mark the date.
Next up, we have the Girard Perregaux 1966 Full Calendar, which looks more like your traditional triple calendar wristwatch. Unlike Blancpain, Girard Perregaux are well-known for their more complicated dress watch timepieces. The 1966 collection, named for the Neuchatel Observatory’s Centenary Prize, which was awarded to GP in 1966, is very popular among fans and collectors of the brand. It is a line that is stylish yet classic and which includes in-house movements at reasonable values.
The 1966 Full Calendar houses the automatic-winding calibre GP033M0, which can be seen through the case back. The dial, as mentioned, sports a more custom layout than that of the Blancpain Villeret above, but there are a few traits that are clearly noticeable. The dial makes use of stick hour markers and features leaf-shaped hands. Just below 12 o’clock are the day and month apertures, with the date scale at 6 o’clock, alongside the moon phase. The case on the GP measures 40 mm which is a modern size but not too big for an elegant watch like this.
Last but not least is the Patek Philippe Annual Calendar ref. 5396. Of the three watches I’ve highlighted above, the Patek probably sports the purest design of the lot. Why? Well, the now 176-year-old watch manufacturer have a long history in creating complicated timepieces, especially those featuring day, date, and month complications.
The 5396 is just classic Patek and features many similarities to its predecessors. I guess you could also say it sports the quintessential triple calendar design. Like the timepieces I’ve already mentioned, it features a day and month aperture at 12 o’clock, but it also features a date aperture at 6 o’clock. Instead of running seconds at 6 o’clock (which is placed centrally), it features a 24-hour indicator and a moon phase. The 5396 features a manufacture movement that is housed in a classically sized 38 mm case. It’s available with a leather strap or a bracelet in white or rose gold.
Not all watches are created equal, as you can see from these three examples of triple calendars, although they do share many similarities, which gives collectors and even the occasional watch buyer more food for thought.