The Different Types of Watch Calendars

By pablocruz in Watch 101
May 9, 2019
The Different Types of Watch Calendars


So we’re just going to throw this out here and let the chips fall where they may: A calendar indicator is probably one of the most frequent features of a watch and dependent on the model, a showcase for the technical flavour this industry has to offer. Who can deny the appeal of a Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Ref. 2499, the clean aesthetics of a Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Moon with its pronounced moon phase display, or the stripped down artistry of a Junghans Max Bill with a simple date indicator? All these timepieces have their individual allure. They also all share one thing in common: A calendar display. There’s a lot of diversity among watches with this horological complication. Its tech can either be run of the mill, just serve as a way for you to monitor time increments, or incredibly intricate and real eye candy for your wrist. At Montredo, we’re here to break down this precise system of timekeeping for you and give some examples of this calendar watches done right. Spend your time with us and keep on scrolling down.

Barebones: Date

The most straightforward, this is a simple complication that has a window date display around the border of the watch dial. It registers the date from day to day, meaning a manual adjustment will have to be made if a month ends before the 31st. There’s also a quickset date option, that provides a simple way of setting the date by pulling the crown out to the second position and rotating it. At the very heart of Bauhaus style from the town of Schramberg in Germany, the Junghans Max Bill has a date display that hardly eats up any space on the dial. Its indicator fits nicely into the number 3 slot above the well-known, inverted, tripod chair shaped number four. It’s got an automatic j800.1 calibre, thin luminescent hands, and a case width of 38 mm. The whole feel of the watch oozes the minimized German sophistication you’ve come to expect from this timepiece created by Max Bill.

Supersize: Big Date

The next on our list is a watch with the calendar feature of the Big or Large Date. It’s a bit more sophisticated than a normal date display with two individual wheels and larger sized numerics that provide excellent legibility. From the epicenter of the Swiss watchmaking industry in La Chaux-de Fonds, the Eberhard Extra-Fort Grande Date Reserve De Marche is a watch with a visually handsome big date indicator. With its two tone colours, a black dial that contrasts nicely with its white big date display, it’s a great addition for the more elegant affairs. It has an automatic movement, a power reserve indicator complication, and a steel case measuring in at 39 mm.

Double Down: Day Date

You guessed it. The namesake of this calendar complication is a dead giveaway for what it brings to the table (a day and a date, adding that just in case) and isn’t just a referral to the Rolex collection of watches. As with most other calendar timepieces, there’s no slim pickings when it comes to marketplace options. The Hamilton Khaki Pilot Day Date watch is a great example of what this type of calendar timepiece can offer strapped on your wrist. With a slick alphabetical weekday display slot at the top and the non-intrusive calendar day indicator located at the bottom, it’s a visually very appealing aviation watch. 42 millimetres wide, it has a substantial amount of Superluminova on its large hands and an ETA movement 2834-2, which can be admired at your discretion thanks to its sapphire glass caseback.

Combo: The Triple Date

This calendar type is a conglomeration of the day, date, and month rolled up into one package. Sometimes even a moon phase is added into the mix, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Suffice to say, it’s another practical and visual upgrade in the calendar watch complications repertoire. There’s also even a calendar week watch. However, it’s more of a rare breed where the numerical 52 weeks of the year are displayed on the dial too. Hailing from the Jura canton in Switzerland, the Maurice Lacroix Les Classiques Chronographe is a triple date watch that’s not a mechanical piece but instead has a quartz crystal regulating its timekeeping. It combines conservative looking chronograph functionality with a reasonable case measurement of 40 mm, comes ready for your wrist with a brown leather strap, and for just under 900,- EUR can be called your very own. Click here to check it out in our store.

Blinded by Science: The Annual Calendar

Now we’re getting somewhere. The Annual Calendar belongs to the more advanced categories of calendar complications and can show the time, day, date and month. The first of the month automatically adjusts when month’s end after 30 or 31 days. It’s a convenient complication, where the only time it has to be manually adjusted is March 1st, due to the 28 days in February or if leap year occurs. The price tag of an annual calendar watch is also significantly lower compared to a perpetual calendar. Developed by the International Watch Co. located in Schaffhausen, the IWC Portugieser Annual Calendar is a top notch example of an annual calendar watch. In terms of condensed specs, it’s furnished with the new IWC manufactured 52850 in-house calibre, has a 44.2 mm case size, and a rich blue dial.

Set and Forget: The Perpetual Calendar

Congratulations, you’ve reached the pinnacle of calendar complications! Not only can a perpetual calendar do everything an annual calendar watch is capable of doing, but it is also fine-tuned to know exactly how many days and months are in a year as well, no small feat. Thanks to this preconfigured mechanical expertise, it automatically adjusts for leap year with the next hand operated appointment penned into your schedule for the very near future, in the year 2100. Set it and forget it people. Since this is the epitome of everything a calendar watch can do, it also has a befitting price tag to match both the high grade craftsmanship required to create it and also its uniqueness. From the Swiss watch manufacturer in Geneva, the Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Ref. 2499 is another fantastic example of all of what this horological masterpiece is capable of doing. It’s equipped with the manual winding calibre 13, a dial bordering on near perfection, a yellow gold bezel and case, and so, so much more.

Astronomical: The Moon Phase Calendar

As a final note in our list of calendar watches, don’t think we’ve forgotten the stargazers or werewolves among you. Horologists have always been enamored with the lunar cycle, following its movement closely as a means of determining the passing of the month. This type of calendar displays the current progress of the waning or waxing moon and is a visually very pleasing addition to the face of a watch. Keeping this in mind, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Moon from the watch manufacturer based in Le Sentier, Switzerland comes fully equipped with this feature. It has an uncrowded dial with a very clean style in silver. It comes in stainless steel with a sapphire glass that shows off its movement, clocks in at a total of 39 mm, and has a watch strap made of alligator leather. At Montredo, we also offer this watch for an excellent value, click here for more info.