I always have a special, warm and fuzzy place in my heart reserved for the last day of February…
Why is that?
Watches with simple calendar date wheels (e.g. your typical Rolex) have calendar that go to the 31st for every month, and require the owners to manually adjust the date setting at the end of every month that has less than 31 days.
A notch above that is an annual calendar complication which can distinguish months with 30 days and 31st days, and requires an adjustment at the end of every February, when annual calendar would deficiently categorize it as a month with 30 days.
Sitting on the top of this date complication hierarchy is the perpetual calendar movement, which, with a set of additional gears, knows that February has 28 days. Not only that, a true perpetual calendar would have a leap year indicator and can figure out that every 4 years, the leap year February has 29 days. Assuming that the watch is kept running all the time, the date on the perpetual calendar would only need to be set every 100 years (when years that are evenly divisible by 100, but not by 400, do not contain a leap day; thus 1900 did not contain a leap day while 2000 did, and 2100 will not contain a leap year… not that it really matters for us anyways…).
Hence, around midnight of February 29, while most layman watches would point to the imaginary February 30th, perpetual calendars would proudly jump to March 1st. This is a day that pays homage to perpetual calendars, high complication mechanical watches, and human ingenuity with regard to micromechanics. This is the day for purists who appreciate these things.
What better excuse to to celebrate! Traditionally, on this day, I would partake in a get-together with a group of like-minded watch aficionados, have a fun time, and in our collective drunken stupor “watch” the date hand jump to March 1st!
It is with utmost excitement that I report to you the event in 2012 in Seattle. It is a particularly exciting for me because it is our lovely Emerald City’s first Perpetual event, and the first one that I organized, after I moved here from New York.
Without further ado, here’s the event!
6:30pm, walking over to the venue. Here’s a photo of two of Seattle’s local brands – the flagship Nordstrom department store, and Starbucks.
The venue is set at Steelhead Diner – a famous restaurant situated at Seattle’s historic Pike’s Market – America’s oldest fish market and a landmark of the city.
Even though it’s a first event in Seattle, the mutual passion for high end mechanical watches made it feel just like home.
George admiring an IWC Portuguese perpetual in rose gold.
Trevor intensely examining the intricate inner workings of the Glashutte perpetual.
Curiosity and passion
Here’s the line-up of the evening.
Langematik Perpetual in Rose Gold
IWC Portuguese Perpetual in RG
Glashutte Original Perpetual Navigator on a bracelet
Glashutte Perpetual Senator
Girard Perregaux Seahawk in YG
Moster Perpetual 1 – you don’t see this every day
Beautifully finished movement, with a curved crystal on the backside for comfortable wearability.
On the wrist of the owner.
Roger Dubuis Golden Square in WG and Diamond Bezel.
Franc Vila Perpetual GMT with black carbon fiber dial – another rare bird in the wild. Limited edition of 48
Two drastically different styles of watches, but both with the curved crystal – an elegant design and comfortable curve yet very expensive to create.
Another Franc Vila perpetual GMT with the red carbon fiber dial
GP Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Moonphase – special Ferrari F50 edition in platinum
FP Journe Zodiaque in platinum – limited edition of 150
Beauties on the wrists of the ladies
Dinner is now served – a selection of the few dishes featuring local ingradients.
I just noticed the Pellegrino tonight is a special Bvlgari edition – how fitting for a watch dinner!
Lively conversations continues… Steve demonstrating how to set the perpetual calendar date mechanisms using a pushpin.
After the dinner, we set our perpetuals a few hours ahead, to observe the jump to March 1st.
Moser has the instantaneous “flash” jump. At 11:59, it still says Feb 29th…
At 12:00am, calendar moves to March 1st.
The other perpetuals have the more gradual shift from 10:30pm to 1am.
At 11:30pm, both the IWC and Franc Vila have the date displaying 31st…
Both successfully went over to March 1st, a little bit after 12am.
The family portrait.
Thank you guys, it’s been a fun evening. The watch community in Seattle is getting bigger and soon it will becoming a hot spot, brimming with watch enthusiasm, just like NYC, LA and Singapore. =)
Cheers and good night, from Seattle!