Earlier this year, at Baselworld 2016, Frederique Constant unveiled a new in-house manufactured perpetual calendar timepiece, created by Manuel Da Silva Matos (R&D director) and Pim Koeslag (Technical director). Coming from a brand known for accessibility, it should be no surprise that this is one of the most affordable mechanical perpetual calendar timepieces on the market.
The Slimline Manufacture Perpetual Calendar is powered by the new 4Hz (28,800 kph) automatic movement (caliber FC-775), which drives hours, minutes, moonphase, and perpetual calendar functions. The movement measures just 6.7 mm thick, and the components are rhodium plated, with chamfered edges. The main bridge features circular Geneva stripes, and the mainplate has a perlage decoration. Furthermore, the rotor is gold plated, with a straight grained finish, and a relief engraving. In total, the movement consists of 191 components, 78 of which are for the perpetual calendar. The power reserve is 38-hours.
The case measures 42 mm x 12 .4 mm and there are three options: steel with silver dial, rose gold plated steel with silver dial, rose gold-plated steel with blue dial. All models have a fully polished exterior finish. A convex sapphire crystal protects the dial side, and a sapphire caseback offers a view of the movement. Water-resistance is 30 meters.
A ridged, onion-shaped, push-in crown controls the hours and minutes, and inset buttons on both sides of the case adjust the calendar mechanism. One button near 5 o’clock advances the moonphase, while another near 8 o’clock is used for the date of the week, and the one button at 10 o’clock advances the day and date simultaneously. When you adjust your perpetual calendar, you need to set the date first and then the day. To finish, the button near 11 o’clock displays the month and the leap year at the same time. The hour and minute functions are adjustable through the crown. Once adjusted, the perpetual calendar mechanism will take into account the months with 30 and 31 days, the 28 days of February and also the leap year cycle which accounts for February 29th every four years.
Normally this watch shouldn’t require any manual correction before 400 years, but as there is an exception in the Gregorian Calendar, the watch will need to be adjusted on March 1st, 2100, which would have been a leap year.
The stainless steel model (Ref. FC-775S4S6) comes with a silver-colored dial, with applied silver indexes, hand polished silver hour and minute hands with black counter hands for $8,795. The rose gold-plated stainless steel model (Ref. FC-775V4S4) also comes with a silver-colored dial, but with rose gold-plated hands and indexes fro $8,995. The rose gold-plated steel model with a blue dial (Ref. FC-775N4S4), with rose gold-plated hands and indexes is also $8,995. There will also be a solid 18K rose gold version, with a silver dial, available towards the end of the year for $15,900.
As stated above, this is one of the most affordable in-house Swiss mechanical perpetual calendar timepieces on the market. So, if you are in the market for a perpetual, and want something under ten grand, then look no further.