Frederique Constant unveils a perpetual calendar in a collaboration with Peter Speake.
Press Release information with commentary in italics.
New: Frederique Constant Slimline Perpetual Calendar
Frederique Constant Slimline Perpetual Calendar Manufacture retails for SGD 20,970 including tax. Limited edition of 135 pieces.
In a rather surprising move to us, Swiss manufacturer Frederique Constant partners with Peter Speake to design a new perpetual calendar in their Slimline Manufacture collection. Looking through the Frederique Constant catalog reveals that two openworked novelties are available under the Slimline collection. However, this release only covers the standard steel cased version. There appears to be another novelty with a black DLC treatment on the steel case. Curiously, it bears the same Ref. FC-775PS4S6. The release information and pricing on the blackened model is not available yet.
The collaboration of this novelty appears only to tap on Peter Speake’s expertise in skeletonising the dial. Peter Speake was formerly of Peter Speake-Marin and Speake-Marin fame, is now independent again. From the press release photographs we have seen, this openwork design is judiciously and meticulously performed. The movement – the FC-775 caliber is almost completely visible from the dial side. The movement has an interesting quirk in that it does not have a seconds hand, which improves legibility on the otherwise the rather busy dial, made more busy looking by the skeletonising. From our perusal, only the dial has been open worked, and the movement remains not skeletonised.
The movement’s rotor, visible from te ecase back is now in a blue hue, something which Frederique Constant tells us is a rare occurrence for them to tint the rotor.
The movement, the caliber FC-775 is an in-house manufacture automatic perpetual calendar movement. This is an existing model which has appeared in the Highlife series as a luxury steel sporty watch with integrated bracelet. We do note that the Highlife Perpetual Calendar Manufacture using the same movement currently retails for SGD 14,770 and is available in several dial variants as well as in a two tone bracelet.
Also interesting is that the watch carries a price tag of SGD 18,790 on the Frederique Constant website. This works out to SGD 20,481 with the current 9% GST. The Hour Glass is the exclusive dealer for the Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Vietnam and lists the watch at SGD 20,970.
In a continuation of their close relationship, British watchmaker Peter Speake and Geneva-based manufacture Frederique Constant proudly unveil an exceptional timepiece for 2024. Housed in a 42-millimetre steel case, this Perpetual Calendar joins the Manufacture collection, where it offers a subtle balance between style and technical prowess. Thanks to judicious use of openwork, the design yields centre stage to the inner workings of the Manufacture Perpetual Calendar – precise and precious. This contemporary creation is limited to just 135 pieces.
Renowned for its highly refined styling, slim dimensions, and unashamed classicism, Frederique Constant’s iconic Manufacture collection now welcomes a bold new addition. Indeed, the Geneva-based brand has joined forces with British watchmaker Peter Speake to produce a highly distinctive timepiece limited to 135 pieces and featuring a decidedly strong stylistic approach that’s anything but commonplace. The piece’s imposing personality will appeal to collectors seeking a perpetual calendar complication with a difference.
Laying bare the perpetual calendar
If there’s one word that sums up the Slimline Perpetual Calendar Manufacture Designed by Peter Speake, it’s ‘openwork’. The British watchmaker has brought an ethereal, contemporary touch to Frederique Constant. Solid surfaces have been cut away to reveal the innermost workings of the Manufacture movement. All of the displays have been skeletonised, as have the hands (to which a luminous coating has been applied), revealing the mechanical ballet of the FC-775 calibre in all its glory; the seconds hand has been done away with altogether to preserve the assertively functional ethos.
The piece adopts the same minimalist approach when it comes to colours: just two have been used, white and matt anthracite grey – a combination offering perfect contrast – plus a dash of red at the end of three of the five hands to add a final touch of clarity to the related reading. A restrained, contemporary approach chosen by Peter Speake, an independent watchmaker of discreet, personal designs that have proved their worth over the past 25 years of his career.
The movement, meanwhile, bears all the hallmarks of the Frederique Constant Manufacture. Each component boasts its own lined finish; the gears of the perpetual calendar feature a circular satin finish and blued screws in the best traditions of fine Geneva watchmaking. The transparent caseback reveals the openwork oscillating weight characteristic of the Maison’s Manufacture movements – charging up to a 38-hour power reserve. In a rare move for Frederique Constant, the rotor has also been coloured blue, echoing the blued screws. The words ‘Limited Edition 135 pieces’ are engraved on each timepiece; each comes on a grey nylon strap with matching overstitching.
A paragon of readability
Like the tourbillon, the perpetual calendar is one of the crowning complications of Fine Watchmaking, allowing wearers to read off all calendar information in a single glance and catering for the historic vagaries of the Gregorian system. Indeed, no manual correction is required for February when, once every four years, it has 29 and not 28 days as usual due to it being a leap year.
The design of a perpetual calendar dial is critical given how many indications need to be displayed. It must be both readable and functional, and Frederique Constant’s Manufacture Perpetual Calendar achieves just that. The day and date – the two most important items of information required on a daily basis – are displayed along the horizontal axis of the dial in that order, so as to be read off in a simple and intuitive manner, from left to right. Additional information is displayed along the vertical axis: the month at 12 o’clock and the moonphase at 6 o’clock.
That only leaves an event that affects the wearer just once in every four years on February 29th: the presence of a leap year. Since this detail is not needed for everyday use, it has been moved over to the month display at 12 o’clock. Here, it can be housed intuitively together with February, the month affected by leap years. A discreet red dot appears for the month in question when the year has 366 days; at all other times, the window remains white.
Frederique Constant Slimline Perpetual Calendar Manufacture Specifications
Slimline Perpetual Calendar Manufacture
Designed by Peter Speake
Functions Hours, minutes, moonphase, date, day, month, leap year
Movement FC-775 in-house caliber, automatic, perpetual calendar
Perlage decoration on movement
Satin finishing on all springs
Circular finishing on perpetual calendar wheels
26 jewels, 38-hour power reserve, 28’800 alt/h
Case Polished stainless steel 3-part case
Diameter of 42mm
Height of 12,05 mm
Anti-reflective convex sapphire crystal
See-through case back
Water-resistant up to 3 ATM/30m/100ft
Dial Grey color dial with matt finishing, skeleton, luminescent printed indexes
White and polished hands with luminous treatment
Moonphase with luminous treatment
Strap Grey nylon strap with tone-on-tone stiching
Limited Edition “Limited edition 135 pieces” mention engraved on the movement