This week, we’re shining a light on some of the more intricate dials in the HODINKEE Shop’s pre-owned watch collection. Intricate, thanks to the complications reflected in the indications on the dial, but also because of patterns or simple design flourishes. An austere enamel number has its moments, but this isn’t one of them.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Moonphase
The Tappisserie dial is an essential part of the Royal Oak design. Its angular pattern stands up to the Royal Oak’s famous case and tapered bracelet, providing texture and sophistication to a watch that’s rightly regarded as iconic.
AP is one of the big three for a reason. There isn’t a complication the company can’t do. So it’s little surprise that calendar watches have become one of the signatures of the Royal Oak over the years. The ne plus ultra of Royal Oak Calendar watches is the perpetual, but this simpler version with day, date, and moonphase gets you a lot of the way there without the higher cost associated with the most complex of calendar mechanisms.
Omega Speedmaster Day-Date Chronograph
The Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch is a design that feels immutable and classic. There are many versions that tell the story of movement innovation at Omega, right up to the present with the Master Co-Axial cal, 3861. But the Speedmaster itself is also a tree with many branches, including additional complications and displays.
This calendar version preserves the essential style of the classic Speedmaster while incorporating extra displays for the day and the date.
Patek Philippe 3940 German Dial
With few exceptions, the perpetual calendar tends to have one of the more lively and complex displays in watchmaking. Typically showing the date, the day of the week, the month, the phase of the moon, and the leap year. All of this intricacy is a reflection of the complexity that takes shape under the dial.
This 3940, which features the days of the week and months in German, has a little bit of extra complexity for the English speaker. But in truth, the 3940 is an absolute classic of discretion, even with all of those displays. It’s the kind of watch that one could build a collection around. And it’s the reference that author Gary Shteyngart can’t stop thinking about.
Jaeger-LeCoultre AMVOX 5 Chronograph Limited Edition
JLC’s partnership with Aston Martin in the 2000s resulted in some incredibly cool watches, from a vertically triggered chronograph in which the crystal itself started and stopped the chronograph to this multifunction worldtimer. The watches leaned into the unabashedly sporty side of JLC, a brand that tends to be better known for its dressy Reverso and Master Ultra-Thin models.
But this 500-piece limited edition is a reminder – as if we needed one – that Jaeger-LeCoultre contains multitudes, and can make all kinds of different watches, from world time mechanisms to chronographs and beyond. There is a lot going on on this watch’s dial, no doubt about it, but it’s presented in a legible and straightforward way.
Glashütte Original Senator Perpetual Calendar
Having an intricate dial doesn’t always mean departing from classic looks. Take the Senator Perpetual Calendar from Glashütte Original, which balances large legible displays for the day, month, moonphase, and date with traditional Roman numerals for the hours and a railroad minute track.
The Swatch Group’s high-end German marque makes watches with an identity and ethos that are distinct from its Swiss counterparts. The big-date display is a huge part of this, of course, but with this design the date stands out a little bit less because of the dial design’s intricacy.
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