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This summer sees the release of a fresh dial variant for the Frederique Constant Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon Manufacture, which debuted to great acclaim last year. With the new dial available in two different case materials, this limited-edition release looks to extend the reach of what turned out to be one of the most popular new calibers of 2018.
The Frederique Constant Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon Manufacture watch features the brand’s most complex movement yet, effectively merging the tourbillon and perpetual calendar releases that preceded it, and bringing to market a dual-complication watch at under $20,000 in steel. The new navy blue dial changes the look of the watch entirely and is available in the skeletonized format from 2018 (omitting the solid dial option that came out last year) in both stainless steel and 18-karat rose gold. Both cases retain the robust character of the previous models to grace this collection and measure 42mm in diameter, and the dial is, once again, incredibly legible considering the amount of information on display.
The sub-dial at 12 o’clock shows the months and the leap year (indicated by a stubby but effective snub-nosed syringe-shaped hand), the 3 o’clock register indicates the date via pointer, while the uncluttered sub-dial at 9 o’clock shows the day. Simple perlaging can be seen through the dial cut-outs, which do not, thanks to the style of finish chosen, distract from the display at all.
Powered by caliber FC-975, this remarkable in-house automatic movement boasts a silicon escapement wheel, a silicon pallet, a 28,800vph operating frequency, and a 36-hour power reserve. The watch displays the hours, minutes, seconds, date, day, month, and leap year, while a 60-second tourbillon cage rotates constantly at 6 o’clock. Ever since Frederique Constant launched its first in-house caliber in 2004, open-work dials revealing the oscillator have been something of a signature of the brand. Here, the silicium-core tourbillon offers perhaps the finest dial-side view of the movement the brand has yet produced.
The tourbillon cage itself is a notable feat. As part of the Frederique Constant’s cost-suppression strategy, a new way of building the tourbillon that would save time and reduce failures was conceived and patented by the brand. Witha precision of 1-2 microns (0.001-0.002mm), the 80 components used to build the tourbillon cage are produced by CNC machines at the manufacture’s workshop. This method improves the speed and accuracy of production and, when teamed with the brand’s “smart screw” system, results in a reliable, highly replicable, and easy-to-poise tourbillon system that offers a more stable amplitude and rate than many of its peers.
The brand’s journey towards such a complex caliber began around the turn of the century. Research and development for the company’s first in-house caliber (launched in 2004 and known as the Heart Beat Caliber) took three-and-a-half years. Since then, the brand has released 26 further movements, with the tourbillon and perpetual calendar movements that form the base of the caliber FC-975 arriving in 2008 and 2016, respectively.
The Frederique Constant Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon Manufacture watch will be limited to 30 pieces in each case material. In stainless steel (FC-975N4H6), the price will be €20,995, while the 18-karat rose gold option (FC-975N4H9) will retail for €29,995. All products come with a two-year international warranty and are available to buy online or from one of Frederique Constant’s authorized dealers around the globe. Learn more about caliber FC-975 and the brand’s background at frederiqueconstant.com.
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