Sven Andersen: a legendary genius in the world of the complication watch and a pioneering presence who has inspired countless independent watchmakers over the decades.
Born in 1942 in Denmark, Andersen completed a four-year qualification at watchmaking college before moving to Switzerland in 1963. He found work at the distinguished watch purveyor Gubelin, where he quickly established his credentials in the restoration and repairs workshop before being head-hunted by Patek Philippe to develop complications for their watches. He further broadened his expertise by working with watch case manufacturers, until finally he was ready to set up as an independent watchmaker. In addition to creating many of his own striking designs, he has provided specialist advice and consulting services to leading brands on complication mechanisms such as perpetual calendars and retrograde functions, as well as a number of specially-designed pieces. Andersen was a leading figure in establishing the position of independent creators in the watchmaking industry, and also has a strong commitment to passing on his expertise and experience to the next generation of watchmakers. with Many of the independent watchmakers that he has supported over the years are active in the Swiss watchmaking industry today. Andersen is something of a father figure in the world of independent watchmaking.
Secular Perpetual Calendar (Released 2005)
Perpetual calendar function
Another acknowledged masterpiece from Andersen
This piece represents a tour de force from Svend Andersen, the acknowledged master of the mechanical complication.
Sven Andersen has designed a great many complicated mechanisms, but he is perhaps best known for his outstanding perpetual calendars where the leap years are incorporated into the mechanism. The Sven Andersen perpetual calendar will accurately indicate the date for a hundred years without any manual correction.
Released in 2005, this model features a clean, minimalist exterior that belies the technological wizardry within. It is nothing short of a masterpiece from the maestro of the perpetual calendar, Sven Andersen.
The Gregorian calendar is internationally the most widely used calendar in the modern world, and is a modified form of the Julian calendar initiated by Julius Caesar in 45 BC. Proclaimed by the Vatican’s Gregorius XIII in 1582, the Gregorian calendar defines secular (normal) years as having 365 days, with a 366-day leap year occurring every four years. The extra day is added on 29 February. This is common knowledge for most people.
There are, however, two important exceptions to the leap year structure of the Gregorian calendar. Where the leap year is a multiple of 100, it is deemed to be a secular year with 365 days, except for multiples of 400, which remain leap years. (Thus the year 2000, for example, was a leap year.) The vast majority of perpetual calendar watches available today are not designed to accommodate either the 100-year or 400-year exceptions, and will therefore require adjustment at every turn of the century, in other words, in the year 2100.
At first glance, this particular piece from perpetual calendar maestro Sven Andersen looks like little more than a basic three-handed watch with date function.
But looks can be deceiving: it is in fact a revolutionary timepiece featuring a perpetual calendar with automatic correction for the 100-year exception to the leap year rule.
In other words, the date will not need to be readjusted in the year 2100.
The watch also features a secondary dial on the back.
At the top left of the secondary dial is the standard leap year indicator. The long hand sweeps around the dial at 50 years per rotation, as denoted by the circumference markings.
At the top right is a convenient century indicator that indicates the approach of the year 2400, when finally, manual correction the mechanism will be necessary to accommodate the 400-year exception to the leap year rule.
The secondary dial on the rear enables the watch to tell us much more than the time of day. This unobtrusive addition to the timepiece aptly illustrates the legendary dedication of the watchmaker to the noble art of marking the passage of time.
The Gregorian calendar represents the culmination of human knowledge accrued in the effort to understand the laws of space and time. This is an exceptional watch based on the bold concept of showing only the year.
It is certainly a hidden gem among the prodigious output of Sven Andersen.
Secular Perpetual Calendar Platinum
This watch is available for viewing in the Gallery.
*Gallery viewings by appointment only
Double face dial