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Patek Philippe - Annual Calendar Ref. 5396

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In 1996 Patek Philippe was granted a Swiss Patent for an Annual Calendar mechanism automatically indicating the correct date for months date with 30 and 31 and only needing to be corrected once a year at the transition from February to March.

The first Patek Philippe model equipped with an Annual Calendar was the Reference 5035. Since then other 20 models, in various case metal and dial variations, have been presented.

This year, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its patented Annual Calendar, Patek Philippe has launched a new model of this convenient and user-friendly complication.

The new Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Ref. 5396, housed in a classic 38.5 mm round case with a smoothly polished bezel, is available in rose gold with a silvery white opaline dial and in white gold with a dark gray sunburst dial.

The prominently cambered sapphire-crystal glass protects a dial featuring familiar elements which are here recombined in an unusual way.

The in-line double aperture in the upper half of the dial displays the day of the week on the left and the month on the right while the date display is positioned in a large aperture at 6 o'clock. Here we also find the 24-hour subsidiary dial with the moon-phase display.

The layout is somehow reminiscent of Patek Philippe perpetual calendars from the 1940s and 1950s with a big difference: on the face of the new reference 5396, the position of the analog date scale in the historic models is now occupied by the 24-hour dial, which doubles as a day/night indication.

The time is indicated by Dauphine-style hour and minute hands pointing the applied Breguet numerals and a peripheral circle of small gold minute markers.

The heart of the new Ref. 5396 Annual Calendar is the self-winding Calibre 324 S QA LU 24H beating at 28,800 vibrations per hour with a power reserve of 35 (minimum) to 45 (maximum) hours.

Visible through the sapphire-crystal case back, the movement is beautifully finished with rhodiumed bridges with Geneva striping, round-chamfered edges and gold-filled engravings, a large rotor in yellow gold with an engraved Calatrava cross, Geneva circular graining, perlage in the center and gleaming red bearing jewels.

It features a patented Spiromax balance spring made of Silinvar, a derivative of silicon which is extremely hard, extremely light and anti-magnetic. It also reduces the need for lubrication.

The corrections at the transition from February to March can be performed quickly and easily thanks to the small correctors in the caseband. Once this is done, the calendar is calibrated for another year.

Thanks to its precise reduction wheel train, the moon phase display requires an adjustment by one day only once every 122 years, of course assuming that the watch runs continuously.

The price of the new Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Ref. 5396 in rose gold (ref. 5396R-012) or in white gold (ref. 5396G-014) is Swiss Francs 42,300. The Annual Calendar Ref. 5396 remains available also with baton-type hour markers.

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