Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Retrograde Date Review

Get an up-close and personal look at the Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Retrograde Date in 18kt Yellow Gold.

Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Retrograde Date Review

Patek Philippe has always been a brand that catches people's attention. While it partially has a lot to do with their status as a watchmaker, sometimes it's what they do with the attention to detail that they put into their watches; both in the design phase as well as in craftsmanship.

One thing that always gets me is all the meticulous finishing and engraving on their calibers. This painstaking process is done by hand and causes the various plates on the movement as well as the rotor to shine and refract light in a way that turns a mechanical watch into a piece of jewelry.

Caliber 324 S QR

Caliber 324 S QR

  • Contains 30 Jewels
  • Beats at 28,800 VpH
  • Comprised of 361 parts
  • 35-45 hour Power Reserve
  • (Click image to zoom in)

Let's take a close look at the dial of this watch. You can clearly see a few things. Some seem normal but others appear quite unconventional. For example, the combined use of both Roman numerals for the hour markers as well as Arabic numerals for the five-minute increments for the minutes' markers... stacked one on top of the other. That's not something you see every day but clearly has a practical purpose and some added design value.

The retrograde date uses Roman numerals in a classic serif font and allows the red-tipped date hand to travel across a track on an inner ring that starts at the 7 o'clock position and ends at the 4 o'clock position.

To the right of the retrograde date at the 3 o'clock position is a month window. To the left at the 9 o'clock position is a window that shows the day of the week.

Just above the 6 o'clock position is the moon phase which shows the moon and stars in gold with a midnight blue background.

One interesting thing about the moonphase complication is that it is accurate for up to 122 years and 45 days. After that point, it would only require a 1-day correction to be all set for another 122 years and 45 days. Essentially the moonphase complication on this watch should work longer and more consistently than any of us!


Patek Philippe stands out and amongst only a few watchmakers that can really flaunt their experience in many areas of fine watchmaking.

Namely, in terms of Haute Horlogerie (high-horology) such as their various Grande Complications watches. This segment of watchmaking is reserved for only the finest of watchmakers.

The watch features here is reference number 5159j-001 which uses the new Spiromax® Balance Spring rather than the older models which use the same caliber 324 S QR but use the Gyromax® balance spring.

Why is the Spiromax better? The Spiromax is made of Silinvar®  and uses a patented proprietary terminal curve.

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Patek's Perpetual Calendar Retrograde Date gets fastened to the wrist via a solid 18kt yellow gold folding clasp with the signature Calatrava cross; the hallmark of Patek Philippe. This particular model comes on a brown crocodile leather strap.

The 18kt yellow gold case is 38mm in width with a case thickness of 11.8mm and beautifully polished. The strap can be seen fastened to the golden lugs with solid gold screws.

The ornate solid gold crown can be seen in this image and juxtaposed to it is the recessed pusher that requires Patek Philippe's tool to make adjustments.

Case with hinge back of watch

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