Triple Date Calendar (with Moon)

And no it’s not a mistake in your social calendar unless you’re VERY optimistic!  It does of course refer to the description of my favorite type of watch, which shows “at a glance” (and that’s important) not only the time, but additionally, the Day, the Date and the Month – and crucially all at the same time.  An example of a quartz Triple Date Calendar is the Dugena Moon phase shown here –

Dugena Moonphase Triple Date Calendar

Dugena Moonphase Triple Date Calendar

For me the Triple Date Calendar function really means I should look at just two types of watch –  Quartz Analogue and Mechanical.  The true Triple Date Calendar model was of course a term used to describe this complication in mechanical movements, but technical advances mean quartz can now also provide the same function.  However regardless of watch type one of the important aspects of triple Date is the dial, because that must be clear enough to allow you to glance at it and quickly determine Triple Date information.  Just one glance and you should know not only the Time, but also the Day, the Date and the Month – instantly.  However, this is most certainly not always the case and if nothing else the Triple Date function shows up who can or cannot design a watch dial.

Android Ambassador Triple Date Calendar - with sub-dials

Android Ambassador Triple Date Calendar – with sub-dials

The quartz Android Ambassador model as shown above is a most stylish modern model.  It doesn’t however use apertures, using sub-dials instead, which I’m pleased to see are a decent size and very clear to read.  The sub-dials show the Day and Date, the Month this time being indicated by the center pointer to the outer Month track.  In addition and unusually this also indicates the year/week number.  The hands may obstruct sometimes, but this is a consequence of analogue hands and these are particularly good, as they are luminescent, which I’ve discovered are in fact surprisingly rare in a Triple date Calendar watch.

Remember what I said about dial design.  The two models illustrate this pretty clearly – both may show the same information but the Android is certainly much easier to read.  Had the Dugena larger apertures it would have been so much better.  I have to hand it to Android though as there are not that many good quartz Triple Date Calendar models around the low £100’s which it is (or was).
The concept of the Triple date is all about information – what do we want to see on our watch?  or maybe what do we need to see?  The answer for me is a practical one really and Time, Day, Date and Month just about says it all.  If I don’t know the year, then maybe I have other issues to worry about and my General Practitioner may be able to help!  😉

Here’s some Triples that I personally like –

Jaeger LeCoultre Master Calendar vintage

Jaeger LeCoultre Master Calendar vintage

An absolute Classic Triple Date Calendar is this Jaeger LeCoultre and this is a vintage one – as I said these are easier to come by than modern, though you will be surprised at the high prices these can command.  This is a mechanical movement of course, so the workmanship required to manufacture such a complication is considerable and Jaeger LeCoultre are in a class of their own.

Interesting Mercedes Chronograph Triple Date Calendar

Interesting Mercedes Chronograph Triple Date Calendar

Another rather rare vintage model is the Mercedes Benz Chrono and for me one that I dearly love to own.  Mechanical of course with an automatic caliber Valjoux 7751 with a full Calendar (perpetual).  Looks like a sub-dial Triple Date until you spot the 2 apertures in the sub-dial @12, a Date pointer center driven, 24hr time, Moon phase etc. and yet totally readable – one of my favorite models.

Classic vintage Movado Triple Date Calendar

Classic vintage Movado Triple Date Calendar

One of the most iconic Triple Date Calendar watches in my opinion is this classic vintage Movado, which is as good as they come.  I actually had two some years ago, but sold one on – (I know I was ill at the time!) and now these are becoming more difficult and more expensive to find.

So what type of watch can be called Triple Date Calendars –

Digital? – No – not strictly Triple Date Calendar of course – but today with the digital revolution, to find a model that displays all this information and almost anything else you want to know is common.  Most Digital models do show the 3 basics, such as the low priced Timex AE1200W (shows time, Day, Date, Month in standard view AND features a Perpetual Calendar till the year 2100).  Radio Controlled quartz models of course are Perpetual by default.  But Digital models in general can be the cheapest option of all if what you want is data overload.

Quartz – Yes – Analogue models are becoming more common now especially from mainstream Brands such as Casio, Seiko and Citizen.  But on modern analog models, unlike the classic vintage models must be looked at carefully for good dial design, which is paramount.  All too often they seem tempted to display in a “new” way – often with silvered hands and indices, poor layout and poor clarity as a result.

However there are a few decent ones around including the Dugena and the Android already featured.   Quartz Ana-Digi may models again have the data, but not always presented simultaneously and a push button selection may have to be made, such as Calendar.  More often than not the standard view will feature a 24hr time sub-dial (goodness knows why?) World Time, a selector dial and so on, which for me just adds to the dial clutter.  The whole point of Triple Date Calendar dials is their readability.
And that is a real bugbear of mine – so many quartz analog models seem to go out of their way to make the dial cluttered and virtually unreadable.  And if we’re talking about Triple Date Calendar “at a glance” – then forget it!

Mechanical – Absolutely – When it comes to mechanical Triple Date Calendar watches however, these are not quite so common, and in fact there are more vintage models than modern ones.  And this is simply because technology overtook the very skilled and technically difficult process of manufacturing them and offered a cheaper electronic alternative.  It’s all about cost and also whether the Brand has the technical skill even to make such a model.

So all that said, foe me the Mechanical Triple Date model is almost the ultimate – almost – except for one small problem.  Most models don’t have compensation for the short months. In other words – they don’t have a Perpetual Calendar – So every so often unlike the digital models, you have to reset your Date depending on the month (also on leap years).  UNLESS of course you start looking at the very best classic Brands.

Wonderful Patek Philippe 2499 Triple Date Perpetual Calendar

Wonderful Patek Philippe 2499 Triple Date Perpetual Calendar

As in the case of the Patek Philippe shown above, it also features a Perepetual Mechanical Calendar as well.  BUT unfortunately these are really NOT common – no Sir!  And if you do see one, you’ll need to make a choice between it and that new car!  I think the Patek Philippe models starg at around shown is around $15k to “the sky is the limit” – so not your everyday model.
Here are a few more models I like –

Unusual Jaquet Baume Triple Date vintage model

Unusual Jaquet Baume Triple Date vintage model

Vintage Eloga Triple date Calendar model

Vintage Eloga Triple date Calendar model

This Eloga model is particularly special and rare, in that it has incorporated a disk with the Date printed.  The crown @10 is used to manually align the day against the date and the progressing pointer then reads the Day and date correctly – a wonderfully elegant solution (I’ve also seen a Landau with the same dial system).

Blancpain Villeret Triple Date Calendar

Blancpain Villeret Triple Date Calendar

Then there is the classic 3 sub-dial configuration of the Blancpain above, one of my favorite Makers and kept just about as simple as possible to aid clarity – I love it.

I think I prefer the aperture display system I suppose owing to age – the older you get sub-dials become tricky to make out, whereas windows with words within them are certainly easier – if large enough of course.  And this year I hope to get myself 2 Triple Date Calendar watches – or that’s my aim anyway – as I believe these are the most wonderfully artistic of all the models out there, especially if mechanical and include the Moon phase as well.   And of course they tell you what you really want to know – “at a glance”

What else?

Elegance revisited

Yesterday was a busy day here in the UK as any watch collector might tell you.  It was – put the clock back day! – Where BST or British Summer Time ( Summer has to be a joke right?) officially ended on Sunday morning at 2am.  So a good part of the day was setting the quartz clocks and watches and one or two mechanical watches that I wear through the week.  Now trying to remember how all these different movements like to be changed can sometimes be a bit of a challenge.  Especially on some of the Moonphase or Complication movements, where you definitely end up rummaging around for either the instructions or those “notes” you took all those years ago.

Anyway it was during this “changing the clock” business that I came across my lovely and elegant Dugena Triple Date Calendar Moonphase.  And OK I’ve posted much of this information in a previous post, way back in March 2009, but I felt I had to feature it again and as I thought I’d have trouble setting it, I might have to feature an instructional post.

Dugena Moonphase

But no as fortunately I didn’t get round to altering the time until today.  Could be a problem I thought as it also had not been worn for a few months and the date was out by some margin (I think it was at the 25th) plus the moon was nowhere in sight!  BUT I say fortunate – as today is a full moon and this is SO useful when adjusting a Moonphase watch.

Moonphase close up – Dugena

So all I had to do was change the Moonphase to the top position and that was it really, then alter the date as the Day and the Month were still OK.  I remember that this Dugena uses the Miyota 6P80 movement and as with quite a few of this series you have to be careful as to when you set anything.  For example the Date can change anywhere between midnight and about 5.30am and can’t set the Date between 9pm and midnight and as for the month – well you can’t set it between the 26th and the 31st, or certainly not the quick set feature.  So a tricky watch usually to remember what you’re doing, but fortunately this time not only did I have the original instruction booklet, but it was also a Full Moon – so easy!

Anyway at 10:30am this morning I pulled the crown out to the 1st position and clockwise turned the Moon to the top position, then in the same crown position turned it anti-clockwise to set the date pointer to the 29th.  Pulling the crown out further to the 2nd position adjusted the hour and that was it!  I didn’t set everything with the second hand at 12 however, as I simply don’t need to be that accurate.  One of the side effects I think of now owning a One Hand watch (a very recent acquisition) which I hope to review in a future post.

The elegant Dugena Moonphase

For those unfamiliar with the name “Dugena” I repeat my old post information here – The watch Brand of DUGENA has its origin in the Union Horlogre, a coalition of Swiss watchmakers in 1900.  Some 17 years later watch manufacturers Biel-Genf and Glashuette joined to form the Vereinigten Glashuette ALPINA, which quickly started producing in Germany under the name of “Alpina Deutsche Uhrmachergenossenschaft”.

In 1942 Berlin, Alpina was finally changed to DUGENA, and since then the triangle-in-circle logo has stood for watch manufacture of the highest standard in Germany.

I note that looking at the various Dugena models available today, whilst there are some very smart watches there, none appear to match the sheer elegance of this model with it’s sleek and rounded case and Moonphase.  Such a real pity as it is a really beautiful watch and one of my very favourite Quartz dress watches.

When I first started collecting I wanted a watch that was absolutely accurate and to the second – so a Radio Controlled one it had to be, then I got the mechanical bug and accuracy went out the window (well almost) and now I’m “estimating” with One Handed watches.

How times change!

Deutsche Uhremacher-Genossenschaft Alpina

A nice new aquisition to my collection – the Dugena Calendar Moonphase.  For those unfamiliar with the name “Dugena” it was established in 1917 in Eisenach as a branch of the Swiss brand Alpina.  The name is an acronym of “Deutsche Uhrenmacher-Genossenschaft Alpina“ (German watchmaker association Alpina) and soon became a brand in it’s own right.  A somewhat fragmented ownership over the years in 2009 it became part of the the newly founded “Nova Tempora Uhren und Schmuck GmbH” and is becoming a collectible brand worldwide.

Dugena Calendar Watch

Dugena Calendar Watch

40mm x 9mm so nice and slim, elegant too with its beautifully formed gold plated stainless steel case. With a silver dial and separate Month and Day windows, a Day pointer in blue. The hour, minute and centre seconds hands are polished gold and the moonphase a colourful sight which matches the deep blue cabochon inset to the gold knurled crown.

This is what they call a quartz analogue – with mechanical month and day wheels plus the moon-phase.  The quartz movement used is the Miyota 6P80 and I have found it to be accurate and very reliable.  It has a recessed pusher to adjust the month and the crown has two pull-out positions for setting the time, day and moon indicator.
Don’t confuse the moon-phase with a day and night indicator.  It works on a 29.5 day cycle and is normally set either at new or full moon.  Setting the watch is quite tricky as the different parameters have to be set within certain times.  The Month and Date are neatly synchronised too, which makes it quite a careful process.

Polished gold back

Polished gold back

On the wrist

On the wrist

The solid case back is polished gold and engraved with the serial number and water resist info – the watch is 5 bar resistant, so not for swimming. The crystal is sapphire so pretty scratch resistant.

It comes with a nice soft matte reptile strap of 19.5mm length and 20mm ( at the lug) tapering to 16mm at the polished Dugena gold engraved buckle.

All in all a rather elegant watch with a beautiful case design reminiscent of Jaquet Droz and it makes for an excellent addition to my collection.

The style of this particular Dugena model is very pleasing though perhaps sadly may not be available now and I don’t see it in todays line-up, which will be a real shame in my opinion.  But as the company will once again soon be fully German owned and driven, they are certainly worth a look.