It’s no mystery that I worship at the altar of the Patek Philippe perpetual calendar chronograph. That when it comes to this magnificent combination of my two favourite complications, there is none better than Patek who was the first to produce this type of watches in series. Indeed I have always admired that each time the world has faced any form of inclemency, the Stern family who took the reins of Patek Philippe in 1932 has responded with the creation of sublime acts of horological magic. And this was certainly the case with the reference 1518 that was launched in 1941 amid the full maelstrom of the Second World War. This watch driven by the Valjoux calibre 13 base (also featured in the reference 130 launched in 1936) forged the aesthetic blueprint of the modern perpetual calendar. Two windows at 12 o’clock just above the Patek signature provided day and month. Date was told from a subdial at six o’clock which also provided a reading for phase of the moon. In both the 1518 and its iconic successor, the 2499, there is no leap-year indicator — that would only emerge in 1985 with the 3970.

The unbroken chain of Patek perpetual chronograph majesty goes as follows: the 1518 (1941–1954), the 2499 (1950–1985), the 3970 (1985–2004), the 5970 (2004-2010) and then the fantastic 5270

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