WHAT A YEAR!
Watch Time|February 2021
In 2020, our extended test examined an annual calendar from Longines, a mix of elegance and superior functionality at a great price. Our test of the Annual Calendar from the Longines Master Collection took place over a period of several months.
Martina Richter

Some people, due to superstition, regard leap years as catastrophic. Better to wait before building a house or getting married. For them, a leap year, like anything deviating from the norm, is unlucky. Some rogue, then, must have scheduled our photo shoot for the Annual Calendar from the Longines Master Collection, our test watch, for leap day — Feb. 29, 2020.

But a so-called “annual calendar” has nothing to do with a leap year and day. In contrast to a perpetual calendar, it does not recognize the length of the month of February in any year, whether it’s a leap year or not. But for the rest of the year — from March 1 to February 28 or 29, depending — it does everything right. So, it’s a practical and, not least of all, a more economical alternative to a perpetual calendar.

The Annual Calendar from Longines is priced at $2,425. Omega’s Aqua Terra Annual Calendar is $8,400; IWC’s Portugieser Annual Calendar is $20,900; and Patek Philippe’s Nautilus with Annual Calendar can be had for $50,270. The most economical perpetual calendar appears to be the Slimline Perpetual Calendar Manufacture from Frederique Constant at $8,795. Jaeger-LeCoultre offers its Master Ultra Thin Perpetual for $21,100 and other brands are more expensive.

The Annual Calendar Year Begins on March 1

It’s Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, and it’s not yet clear what this leap year might bring. It’s springtime in southern Italy. On this day — or no later than the next — an annual calendar needs manual correction. No problem at all with the Longines Master Collection Annual Calendar. Simply pull out the fluted crown to the middle position and turn the quick-date adjustment counterclockwise. When advancing the date from (nonexistent) February 31 to March 1, the month indication will also advance automatically. This is surprisingly easy and convenient. If you’ve set aside the watch for a period of time and need to reset the calendar, the month can be adjusted independently of the date by pulling the crown to the middle position and turning it clockwise. This operation is simple and safe to do at any time.

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