When it comes to the various complications that exist in watchmaking, few are as widely admired for their mechanical ingenuity as the perpetual calendar. It’s hard to think of a complication that better represents the possibilities of mechanical timekeeping than a creation consisting of hundreds of tiny parts all working together in perfect harmony, which collectively can keep track of even leap years and will (at least in theory) never need to be reset. With that in mind, perpetual calendars have historically been reserved for only the most exclusive levels of watchmaking, and they were typically accompanied by an entry price that was deep into the five-figure territory.
Frederique Constant is a Swiss manufacturer known for its value-picked offerings, and the brand’s original Slimline Perpetual Calendar model is often considered to be one of the best perpetual calendar watches for under $10,000. Frederique Constant’s latest release is in collaboration with The Naked Watchmaker, an educational resource founded by Peter Speake and Daniela Marin that is famous among enthusiasts for its complete tear downs of famous watches and their movements, all from the perspective of Peter Speake as a master watchmaker. The new collaboration piece, which is officially called The Naked Watchmaker x Frederique Constant Perpetual Calendar Manufacture Limited Edition offers a striking twist on the brand’s famous budget-friendly perpetual calendar watch, which aims to reveal the movement and showcase its design and complexity — just like goal of The Naked Watchmaker project itself.
The 42mm stainless steel case of The Naked Watchmaker x Frederique Constant Perpetual Calendar Manufacture Limited Edition features polished surfaces and follows the same design as the original Frederique Constant Slimline Perpetual Calendar Manufacture watch. Fitted to the top of the case is a domed sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating, which is surrounded by a thin fixed bezel with a smooth high-polished finish. A series of small push-buttons sitting flush with the side of the case and a rounded winding crown with prominent fluting grant access to the movement, while a screw-down display caseback fitted with a large sapphire crystal covers the reverse side of the watch. Offering users 30 meters of water resistance, the case itself is about as classic and traditional as you can get, and since it already offered a fairly unobstructed view of both the dial and movement, virtually no significant updates were needed.
When it comes to the dial, The Naked Watchmaker edition offers a radically different appearance compared to the original Frederique Constant Slimline Perpetual Calendar Manufacture watch. The brown skeletonized dial offers a view into the movement, and it features larger day and date subdials compared to the original Slimline Perpetual Calendar, which provides the dial with improved legibility and increased balance. Similarly, the month indicator at 12 o’clock has been redesigned to be more legible, and the hand for the leap year indicator has been removed and replaced by a small window that changes color and turns red once every four years. The skeletonized design extends to the long, sword-shaped hands, which feature a white lacquered finish and have luminescent tips that point out the time against a luminescent minute track surrounding the periphery of the dial. Additionally, the luminescent treatment extends to the two moons printed upon its moonphase disc, which sits completely uncovered at the 6 o’clock location and serves as an abstract display of the passage of time, rather than a practical way of tracking the lunar cycle.
Powering The Naked Watchmaker x Frederique Constant Perpetual Calendar Manufacture Limited Edition is a custom finished version of the same in-house FC-775 self-winding perpetual calendar movement that can be found inside the standard-production model. On The Naked Watchmaker edition, the bridges on the dial side are finished bright blue, which contrasts against its interconnected steel and gold-colored components and sits fully visible through the watch’s significantly open-worked dial. The blue finish is mirrored on the automatic bridge located on the opposite side of the watch, which also features a custom engraving that denotes the collaboration with The Naked Watchmaker and the model being a limited edition of 99 pieces. Since the movement is functionally identical to the standard version of the FC-775 , it beats at a frequency of 28,800vph (4hz) and offers users a 38-hour power reserve.
This is the first collaboration piece by The Naked Watchmaker, and it perfectly embodies the company’s mission to bring a greater understanding of watches to the masses by revealing their inner beauty and showcasing the technology behind them. By skeletonizing the dial that previously concealed the movement, the limited edition model is the physical representation of the goal of The Naked Watchmaker platform and it reveals the inner workings of the timepiece to shine some light on one of watchmaking’s most prestigious complications. The Naked Watchmaker x Frederique Constant Perpetual Calendar Manufacture Limited Edition will have an official price of €9,995 EUR and production will be limited to just 99 pieces worldwide. The watch is currently available for pre-order until July 5, with half the cost due at the time of ordering and an expected delivery date of November 2022. For more information, please visit the brand’s official website.