INTRODUCING: Patek Philippe Aquanaut Luce Annual Calendar Ref. 5261R-001
The “modern casual chic” collection gains one of Patek Philippe’s most useful complications.
Created as a feminine reinterpretation of the perpetually in-demand Aquanaut in 2004, the Aquanaut Luce has been enriched with several complications of late, such as dual time zone in 2021 and self-winding chronograph last year. Continuing its efforts to offer ladies solid mechanical timepieces that are no mere froufrou wrist accessories, Patek Philippe has unveiled the Aquanaut Luce Annual Calendar Ref. 5261R-001, touting probably one of the most useful complications in the Manufacture’s repertoire.
Though officially billed as a ladies’ timepiece, we reckon the Ref. 5261R-001 is a watch that men would clamour to ‘borrow’ from their partners in a heartbeat. For starters, the 39.9mm (measuring from 10 to 4 o’clock) 18K rose gold case, absent of any sparkling adornments, practically makes this a shoo-in for masculine wrists as well. In addition, the blue-grey dial embossed with the signature Aquanaut pattern, as well as the matching strap in a composite material, provides a cool contrast to the warm hue of the precious metal and boosts its sporty, unisex appeal.
That said, the main draw of the Ref. 5261R-001 is, of course, the famous patented Annual Calendar mechanism, which has graced various iconic Patek Philippe models since its debut in 1996. An annual calendar complication occupies the sweet spot between a conventional calendar and a perpetual calendar. While the former requires adjusting for months with less than 31 days (five times annually), and the latter only needs to be corrected after every full century when the Gregorian calendar omits a leap year, an annual calendar can account for months with 30 and 31 days, and, therefore, requires only one manual correction per year, at the end of February.
Powering the Ref. 5261R-001 is the new self-winding 26-330 S QA LU calibre with the additional Annual Calendar module with moonphases. Keen watch lovers will undoubtedly be intrigued by the unusual dial layout of the watch, which is due to the inversion of the Annual Calendar module. The extremely precise moonphase indication, which deviates only one day in 122 years, is given more prominence here, at the top of the dial, obscuring part of the ‘12’ index, while a date window can be found at the 6 o’clock position. Meanwhile, the day of the week and the month are displayed via sub-dials at 3 and 9 o’clock, respectively.
Based on the Calibre 26-330, which was introduced in 2019 in the Calatrava Weekly Calendar Ref. 5212A-001, the 26-330 S QA LU also features several technical innovations, including a patented anti-backlash wheel that prevents the seconds hand from vibrating and a patented clutch wheel that improves the efficiency and longevity of the self-winding function. The breathtaking architecture of the movement, along with its 21K gold central winding rotor, can be admired via the sapphire crystal caseback.
Our one quibble of the Aquanaut Luce Annual Calendar Ref. 5261R-001 is the aforementioned seemingly arbitrary labelling of it as a ladies’ timepiece. Technically brilliant and dashingly handsome, this is a watch whose appeal truly transcends gender.
Patek Philippe, Aquanaut, Aquanaut Luce, annual calendar
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