Photographer: Stephen Pulvirent/Bloomberg

The Five Best Perpetual Calendar Watches to Tackle Leap Year 2016

From $20,000 to over $300,000, these are the most luxurious tools for the job.

Since 2016 is a leap year, all but the most complicated calendar watches are going to be flummoxed come the end of February. The perpetual calendar (also called a QP, an abbreviation of the French term quantième perpétuel) is the tool for the job, seamlessly counting everything from seconds to leap-year cycles so you never have to fiddle with it. Since we know you've read our complete primer on the perpetual calendar, we'll stop here and just show you the five best new QPs for 2016. 

IWC Pilot's Watch Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month Spitfire

The IWC perpetual uses a different style of display, with both date and month windows.
The IWC perpetual uses a different style of display, with both date and month windows.
Photographer: Stephen Pulvirent/Bloomberg

As part of the newly revamped pilot's watch collection, IWC added this $31,900 big gun as the crown jewel. It's the rare perpetual calendar that doesn't try at all to be a dress watch. If you wear a suit to work, keep this one (on a watch winder) for the weekends. The movement has been used in previous models, including an Ingenieur and a Portuguese, showing the date and month, each with oversized windows instead of small hands. The 46-millimeter case is massive; IWC also fit a chronograph in there, for good measure.

 

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Perpetual Calendar

Price and style find great balance in the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Perpetual.
Price and style find great balance in the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Perpetual.
Photographer: Stephen Pulvirent/Bloomberg

There is no better deal in perpetual calendars than this Jaeger-LeCoultre, period. It's that simple. For $20,400, you get a fully integrated in-house movement with automatic winding and a moonphase indicator on a sleek, brushed-black dial, all packed in a slim, stainless steel case. The 39mm case is only 9mm thick so you get the right balance of comfort and legibility; there is a lot of information to parse. It's a real stunner. Showing the full year on the dial is a little novel and divides collectors into two camps. I could probably do without it, but it doesn't detract from this otherwise immaculate watch.

 

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Ultra-Thin Perpetual Calendar 

Thin, beautiful, and extremely versatile. Vacheron Constantin created a real winner.
Thin, beautiful, and extremely versatile. Vacheron Constantin created a real winner.

For its latest perpetual calendar, Vacheron created an elevated take on a simple daily-wearer. The case looks like that of the simpler steel Overseas watches, but it's much slimmer, at 8.1mm, and it's white gold instead of the more utilitarian steel. The gray and blue dial looks just modern enough to balance the extremely traditional dial layout, with the months for all four years in the cycle in that top register. You get a metal bracelet, alligator strap, and rubber strap that can all be swapped without tools, so you can keep it fresh. Sure, the $91,400 price tag puts it in the upper echelon of QPs, but that's right where it belongs.

 

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar

The Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar got a serious overhaul.
The Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar got a serious overhaul.
Photographer: Stephen Pulvirent/Bloomberg

The Royal Oak was the original luxury sport watch. This version dials back the sport and amps up the luxury in a package that's still pure Audemars Piguet. The solid yellow gold case and integrated bracelet look extremely fresh against a sea of rose gold watches (contributing to the $95,700 price tag), and the deep blue dial displays the day, date, day of the week, week in the year, year in the leap year cycle, and phase of the moon, not to mention, the time. Bonus: The movement is new and completely in-house.

 

A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar

A. Lange & Söhne quietly issued one of the most impressive watches it has ever made.
A. Lange & Söhne quietly issued one of the most impressive watches it has ever made.
Photographer: Stephen Pulvirent/Bloomberg

This is what watch aficionados knowingly refer to as "serious business." For years one of Lange's most complicated watches, this version—priced at €315,900 ($345,000)—is also one of the most expensive. The display is unique, with the month around the edge, the day of the week as a retrograde scale on the left, the big date, a small window at the bottom for the leap year counter, and a discreet moonphase in the seconds register. This new combination of gray dial and white gold case breathes life into a true modern classic.

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