My final Pick for Baselworld 2016 is the Frederique Constant Slimline Manufacture Perpetual Calendar. This full perpetual calendar timepiece will soon become the most affordable perpetual calendar watch in the market.
Perpetual calendar timepieces have always been a whole new level for a regular Joe like me—No need to correct the calendar until 1 March 2100?! Great, how much does it costs? Hmm ok, skip!
To benefit readers who are new to perpetual calendar timepieces, here are some pricing for your info: Most recent Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar ref. 5327 in white gold costs a whopping US$85,000 (~S$115,000). The most affordable? Montblanc Meisterstuck Heritage Perpetual Calendar in stainless steel, retailing at US$12,800 or a little over S$17,000. Well, they are simply too expensive.
Good news! Frederique Constant has the perfect solution, the FC-775 calibre.
Having developed 19 different in-house calibres since 2004, Frederique Constant finally launched their own in-house perpetual calendar movement. An inevitable step upwards.
At just 6.78mm thick, the FC-775 calibre is a full perpetual calendar movement beating at 28,800bph with a power reserve of about 38 hours. This new calibre is an automatic movement featuring a gold plated rotor decorated with Côtes de Genève, and presents a pretty nice finishing with perlage, anglage and rhodiage decoration.
Moving on to the watch…
The Frederique Constant Slimline Manufacture Perpetual Calendar, housing the FC-775 calibre, measures 42mm in diameter with convex sapphire crystal on the dial side and also on the case back for a clear view of the movement. My only qualm about this watch is the size of the case. I find it to be rather large for a dress watch; 39mm in diameter would have been much better in my opinion!
Upon close inspection, the dial design appears to be quite similar to the Montblanc Meisterstuck Heritage Perpetual Calendar—three sub-dials featuring day, month, leap year and date, plus a moonphase indicator above the 6 o’clock marker. Those polished slim leaf hands pair well with the applied baton markers. Unfortunately, the lack of second hand and markers for the minutes can be quite unnerving for some people including myself.
On both sides of the case, you will notice four small pushers.
Pusher at 10 o’clock: Rapid date correction
Pusher at 10:30 : Rapid month and leap year correction
Pusher at 8 o’clock: Rapid day correction
Pusher at 4 o’clock: Rapid moonphase correction
Rounding up: Interesting movement, timeless design and nice finishing. So how much is it?
Inclusive of 19% euro VAT, the Frederique Constant Slimline Manufacture Perpetual Calendar will retail at €7995 in stainless steel and €8295 in rose gold plated steel. This means we are looking at around €6720 (~S$10,000) for the stainless steel version, almost half the price of that Montblanc!