I love the mechanics of the IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar watch, but it suffers from a serious issue for show-offs: The mechanism only works in one direction. So now I give you the ultimate perpetual calendar: H. Moser & Cie.’s Endeavour Perpetual Calendar. It’s the cleanest, simplest, friendliest perpetual calendar watch on the market, and unbelievably gorgeous besides!
Although I love the concept of mechanical perpetual calendar mechanisms, watches with this complication are usually littered with dials and windows. My ideal of an elegant watch doesn’t include four or more apertures scattered across the dial showing day, month, date, year, leap year, and so on. Wouldn’t a simple face that shows the always-correct date be enough?
And then there’s the serious issue that one can only observe a perpetual calendar in action once every four years.1 With many perpetual calendar mechanisms, one can move forward simply by turning the time until the calendar changes. But it’s not so simple going backwards, and many watches require a large number of push piece presses (or even disassembly) to roll back. Not friendly.
Along came H. Moser & Cie. who burst onto the scene in 2005 with their Perpetual 1, a unique perpetual calendar watch with an unusually clean dial and a calendar mechanism that moves forward and backward with a simple twist of the crown. This wonderful watch is one of the most understated pieces of haute horlogerie I’ve seen, with gorgeous styling, perfect craftsmanship, and true in-house everything (even hairsprings).
The Moser Perpetual dial is so clean because they don’t bother showing any extraneous information. The date aperture at 3:00 appears to be the only calendar interface, but that tiny arrow (pointing at 3:00 in the photo above) tells the month by capitalizing on the fact that there are 12 months as well as 12 hours. Flip the watch over and a simple display shows the sequence of leap years on a small wheel resembling a Maltese Cross.
The Perpetual 1 has evolved into today’s Endeavour Perpetual Calendar, available in a marvelous assortment of case and dial materials. My favorite look by far is the palladium case and midnight blue fumé dial. Blue is trendy right now, but this isn’t just any blue face. It has a lovely, deep look to it that changes in intensity with angle. The case is glorious in a classic Calatrava sort of way. Truly a sumptuous watch.
I found a fine example of the H. Moser & Cie. Endeavour Perpetual Calendar from 2008 in palladium with that blue dial on Chrono24 at The Beautiful Watch of Paris listed at $39,197. It includes the box and papers and appears to be in perfect condition. What a glorious piece! We previously listed a gold Perpetual One, and that post includes more details on the movement.
- Actually, it’s slightly less than every four years since every hundredth is skipped, except for every four hundredth. But no perpetual calendar that I know of handles the “2100” edge case. No wonder these mechanisms are complex! ↩