Patek’s annual calendar was first introduced in 1996 as the ref. 5035, with 20 distinct annual calendar models following over the ensuing 20 years. With 2016 being the the 20th anniversary of what is now its best selling complication, Patek launched a new take on the complication — not a limited anniversary edition, but a subtly reworked and refined version that logically complements the 21 previous models: the ref. 5396 annual calendar. The two models of the new Patek Philippe Ref. 5396 Annual Calendar launched in 2016 differed not only in terms of case and dial colors, but they also project two distinctly different personalities, available in 18K white gold with a dark gray sunburst dial and in 18K rose gold with a silvery white opaline dial. The case remains the same as that on the existing version of the ref. 5396, measuring 38.5 mm in diameter and typical of Patek Philippe, a slim 11.2 mm high. Inside is the 324 S QA LU 24H, a self-winding movement with a silicon hairspring.
One of the most traditional of the brand’s annual calendar watches, the ref. 5396 is distinguished by the twin apertures for the day and month, and the moon phase display at six o’clock – a layout that is reminiscent of the refs. 3448 and 3450, two of the great Patek Philippe perpetual calendars of the late 20th century. 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. The date display of the Ref. 5396 is positioned in a large aperture at 6 o’clock. Together with the double aperture, it frames the 24-hour subsidiary dial with the moon-phase display in the lower half of the dial. This layout is reminiscent of Patek Philippe perpetual calendars from the 1940s and 1950s, Patek notes. A peripheral circle of small gold minute markers frames the sculpted applied Breguet numerals in 18K gold. They harmonize with the Dauphine-style hour and minute hands as well as with the long, slender sweep seconds hand. The sapphire-crystal glass is prominently cambered, endowing the watch with volume and a highly modern look.
The existing versions of this model, with baton-markers rather than Breguet numerals, remain in the lineup: the ref. 5396G-011 and the 5396R-011 on strap, and the 5396/1G-010 and 5396/1R-010 on bracelet.
The ref. 5396 retails at SFr42,300 including taxes, same as the existing versions of the reference.
I’m excited to see what will come from Patek Philippe in 2017.