enowned 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.
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.
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.
Slimline Perpetual Calendar Manufacture designed by Peter Speake
RRP 11’995 CHF
Hours, minutes, moonphase, date, day, month, leap year
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
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
Water-resistant up to 3 ATM/30m/100ft
Grey color dial with matt finishing, skeleton, luminescent printed indexes
White and polished hands with luminous treatment
Moonphase with luminous treatment
Grey nylon strap with tone-on-tone stitching
“Limited Edition 135 pieces” engraved on the movement