Meet Frederique Constant’s Slimline Manufacture Perpetual Calendar, by far the most accessible example of this high complication yet
Ah, the perpetual calendar. For this high complication, the name of the game is convenience – assuming that the watch is kept running, its calendar displays will not require any adjustment until 1 March 2100. The devil’s in the details though; like the chronograph, a perpetual calendar can be executed in varying levels of complexity, from modules tacked onto base movements to integrated ones that trade greater complexity for thinness. As modular perpetual calendars become increasingly common, much of the barriers to entry of owning such a watch have been steadily worn down. With talk of value dominating Baselworld this year, Frederique Constant’s Slimline Manufacture Perpetual Calendar was a case of perfect timing, as the most aggressively priced perpetual calendar watch on the market yet.
Visually, the Slimline Manufacture Perpetual Calendar isn’t a radical departure from the archetypal perpetual calendar, with a typical layout of three sub-dials and a separate aperture to display the moon phase. However, the perfect spacing between these elements – neither clustered at the dial’s centre nor spread too far out towards its edge – hints at a movement specifically developed for the watch, rather than an off-the-shelf solution. Indeed, the perpetual calendar module was developed in-house with a keen eye on the case and dial dimensions to achieve this balance, while also keeping its ease of assembly in mind, according to the brand’s design director Pim Koeslag. Its development has taken the brand around three years to finalise but it paid off handsomely. A typical perpetual calendar movement that can take upwards of 30 hours to put together, but the assembly of the final calibre of the Slimline Manufacture Perpetual Calendar takes just two days. Quicker assembly naturally translates to lower costs, which has allowed Frederique Constant to offer such a compelling value proposition. With options in both steel and rose goldplated steel, haute horlogerie has just gotten a little more affordable. MOVEMENT Self-winding Frederique Constant Manufacture Calibre FC-775 with perpetual calendar and moon phase display; 38-hour power reserve
CASE 42mm in steel or rose gold-plated steel, water resistant to 30m
STRAP Black, brown, or navy alligator with stainless steel or rose gold-plated steel deployant buckle
PRICE $12,800 (steel) $13,500 (rose gold-plated steel)