Mayan calendar vs Perpetual calendar: Ancient Maya descendants demand inclusivity

Descendants of the Ancient Maya are Upset at the Watch Industry’s Perpetual Calendars, Demanding More Inclusivity

They’d had enough. Ancient Maya descendants had finally grown weary of it. Tired, even. Tired of the big watch brands of the world accepting glorification without so much as a shoutout; a nod to those who came before. Tired of seeing the GPHG, year after year, give out awards in the Calendar and Astronomy category – LARGELY to brands making Perpetual Calendars. And why is everyone speaking French at the GPHG, anyway? It’s not like Switzerland has a language of its own! Why not have a portion of the ceremony spoken in Huaxtec or Mopan? Heard there’s this fantastic joke about a watchmaker who gets a visit by the medicine goddess Ix Chel that would be HILARIOUS to tell at the event, although, that was originally written in the Chicomuceltec language in the 1960s so it may not be deemed appropriate to use in this day and age.

Yes, it was time the descendants of the Mayan tribes that guided the world in viewing how modern calendars today are seen were, well, seen, themselves. They wanted in. They deserved a portion of the praise, and they (meaning, the eleven WIS community descendants who have been trying to get a RedBar Yucatan Instagram group going) unanimously decided it was time they called a meeting.

The place? Belize.

The rules? BYOC (Bring Your Own Calendars.)

The Requested Keynote Speaker? Maximilian Büsser.

(Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, Mr. Büsser could not be present at the event in person, so instead, via a PowerPoint presentation, images were shown of Mr. Büsser speaking at other events; a part of the one-day program that received numerous “ooohs” and “aaahhs”.)

Max Busser_Founder of M&BF_Grinding Gears_Dubai Watch Week.jpg
Max Busser_Founder of M&BF_Grinding Gears_Dubai Watch Week.jpg

Max Busser, requested keynote speaker to inaugurate the Yucatan Red Bar Group

Max Busser, requested keynote speaker to inaugurate the Yucatan Red Bar Group

For those out there wondering what exactly a perpetual calendar is and why the descendants of Mayan civilizations feel snubbed by their growing popularity as it pertains to the watch world, there are two words you should know: WIKI IT. But for those concerned only with what a Perpetual Calendar watch does, the Fondation Haute Horlogerie gives this definition on its website: “A perpetual calendar watch gives the date, day, month and usually moon phases while automatically taking the number of days in the month, and the cycle of leap years, into account.

A Lange e Sohn Perpetual Calendar_Dubai Watch Week.jpg
A Lange e Sohn Perpetual Calendar_Dubai Watch Week.jpg

A. Lange & Söhne perpetual calendar watch

A. Lange & Söhne perpetual calendar watch

The majority of calendar watches feature simple calendars, which must be manually, corrected five times a year, after each month with fewer than 31 days. Compare these with the Perpetual Calendar, one of the culminations of the watchmaker's art whose origins go back to the end of the eighteenth century. It will continue to show the correct date by adjusting to the variable number of days in the month and by taking the cycle of leap years into account. To accomplish this exploit, the movement draws on a "mechanical memory" of 1,461 days or four years. Most perpetual calendar mechanisms use a differential gear mechanism from the hour wheel and can comprise several hundred wheels, gears, levers and other parts.

And frankly, with all the calendars the Mayan civilization is responsible for, they probably do deserve to be included more. Let’s hear your thoughts!

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