Triple Calendar wristwatches are the simplest form of calendar watches. They display the day, date and month, and usually the moon phase as well, but unlike annual or perpetual calendars, they require date adjustment for every month which has less than 31 days.
The triple calendar complication existed in pocket watches, but its heyday in wristwatch form as we know it today came in the mid-twentieth century. This was when the quintessential triple calendar watch – featuring windows for the day and month, and a pointer hand for the date – was common. During that period, brands as diverse as Movado, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Rolex and Vacheron Constantin had triple calendar watches in their offerings.
But the complication is no longer as common as it once was. In fact it is less widely found than its more complicated cousins, the annual and perpetual calendars. Often the triple calendar is regarded as a retro wristwatch, since it is so reminiscent of watches from the last century.
A perfect example of the retro style triple calendar is the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Calendar. It breaks no new ground technically, but has a classic style that is easy to like.
In the same vein is the Girard-Perregaux 1966 Complete Calendar, a conservatively styled watch with the usual calendar functions.
And at a much lower price point there is the Montblanc Star Quantième Complet, which has the exact same functions, but with an ETA movement.
Elegant as they are, these triple calendar have little that’s new in terms of technical progress. There has been scant innovation in the triple calendar space, with one prominent exception, Blancpain.
Arguably the brand most closely identified with the triple calendar in modern times, Blancpain played a key role in helping revive the triple calendar format when it introduced its Six Masterpieces of watchmaking in 1991, one of which was the triple calendar with moon phase. The triple calendar has been a constant in Blancpain’s catalogue since then, most recently in the form of the Villeret Complete Calendar 8 Days.
Though it has the same functions as all other triple calendar watches, the Villeret Complete Calendar 8 Days is much more than a basic calendar watch. Featuring a grand feu enamel dial, the Villeret Complete Calendar 8 Days has an automatic movement with an eight day power reserve, as well as Blancpain’s patented under-lug pushers for the calendar. Those allow the calendar to be adjusted with the fingertips, instead of requiring a style to operate pushers as is convention.
And thanks to a safety mechanism, the calendar can be adjusted at any time of the day without damage, unlike most other complete calendar watches. That is a surprising number of features for what is a basic calendar watch, but it also puts the Blancpain at a price point far higher than its competitors. (www.blancpain.com)
Though most triple calendar watches have the same general design, there are exceptions. The most unusual is the Maîtres du Temps Chapter Two. Developed by Peter Speake-Marin with input from Daniel Roth, the Chapter Two displays the month and day, spelled out in full, on a pair of rollers. And it has an oversized date display. In addition, all the calendar indications jump instantaneously at midnight, instead of switching over gradually, making it one of the most elaborate triple calendar wristwatches. (www.maitresdutemps.com)