Frederique Constant strikes again and is proud to present its novelty: a Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon Manufacture edited in a limited series of 30 pieces which embodies the brand’s visionary spirit, determination and passion for watchmaking know-how. For the past 30 years, Frederique Constant has been offering high quality manufactured Swiss watches in the “Accessible Luxury” segment, fully developed in-house in its manufacture workshops in Plan-les-Ouates, Switzerland.
In 2004, Frederique Constant introduced – after three years of research and development – the first in-house patented manufacture movement: the award-winning Heart Beat Manufacture Caliber. Four years later, the brand unveiled its first in-house manufacture Tourbillon based on the Heart Beat Manufacture. In 2016, Frederique Constant created another grand complication: the manufacture Perpetual Calendar. In honour of the brand’s 30 years anniversary, the Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon Manufacture represents the outcome of all the knowhow the Brand gathered during the development of its in-house manufacture movements resulting in this grand complication.
The Art of Precision
Frederique Constant’s Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon Manufacture contributes to the quest for ultimate precision. The primary function being to counterbalance the errors due to the effect of the Earth’s gravity on a movement in a vertical position. The titular mechanism of the timepieces is the new automatic FC-975 in-house movement.
A breathtaking mechanism
This grand complication bears simultaneously: a silicium escapement wheel and anchor, a smart weight balance wheel, and a Tourbillon cage. These timepieces are impressive in horological terms as the Tourbillon has been developed in an industrialised process to the last detail. It’s the accumulation of watchmaking knowledge over the years which allowed this timepiece to emerge. The Perpetual Calendar Manufacture Tourbillon guarantees an exceptional level of performance and the highest standards of craftsmanship distinguished by the features mentioned above.
Innovative techniques overcame the obstacles of using traditional escapement wheels and anchor with the use of materials such as silicium. It benefits the mechanism of the Tourbillon, enabling good friction properties and a gain in efficiency for the energy required in the caliber. This type of material is light, durable, antimagnetic and extremely resistant to temperature changes and achieves a remarkable progress in precision. The friction property is so high that the oil becomes irrelevant. As the escapement wheel activates the “ticking of the watch” and controls the release of energy stored in the mainspring. A lighter escapement wheel enables a reduced inertia and guarantees a greater reliability and accuracy. This ensures an increase of chronometric results over time.
Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon perfectly balanced cage
Frederique Constant patented the perfectly balanced cage composed of 80 components all produced with a precision of 1-2 micron (0.001-0.002 mm) by the CNC machine in the Manufacture’s ateliers. In order to achieve the highest degree of precision, small weights are added in the Tourbillon’s cage to obtain a perfect balance. When the Tourbillon is constructed, the balance in the cage is slightly unequal, as the escapement wheel and anchor are decentered. Frederique Constant added a “smart screw” system on the outer edge of the Tourbillon to equalise the weight and deliver a perfect balance in the cage. This results in a more stable amplitude and rate.
Frederique Constant’s Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon mechanism holds a 38 hours power reserve, while running at 4 Hertz with its balance wheel beating 28’800 times per hour. The Tourbillon consists of a mobile cage, driven by a gear train carrying the balance wheel and its escapement. At each impulse received by the balance wheel, the cage rotates slightly with all the components. The gear train moves forward 691,200 times in four years which represents over one billion impulses. This is in high contrast with the Perpetual Calendar system of our movement, which has a wheel turning only once in the same period of four years.
The Perpetual Calendar complication also displays the day, date and month and requires even less adjustment than an annual calendar. This highly sophisticated complication not only acknowledges the number of days in each month, it also displays the year and will automatically adjust itself for the leap year. Once adjusted, it will take into account the months with 30 and 31 days, the 28 days of February and also the leap year cycle with the return of 29th of February every four years. The Perpetual Calendar shouldn’t require any manual correction before 400 years. Although there is an exception in the Gregorian Calendar, the watch will need to be adjusted on March 1st 2100. The hour and minute functions are adjustable through the crown. The dial presents at 12 o’clock the months and leap year, at 3 o’clock the days and at 9 o’clock the week days.
The tourbillon’s cage sits resplendently in an aperture on the dial visible at 6 o’clock, with its incorporated hand acting as a second indicator as it rotates once per minute. Each cage is sequentially numbered on the top plate in the centre of the cage, matching the limited edition number on the case. This combination showcases the limited edition of 88 pieces for the stainless steel version and 30 pieces for the 18k rose gold case and displays a unique timepiece number for each collector. The limited 30 pieces edition reflects on the 30 years of the manufacture’s history.
The timepieces range are presented in a substantial 42mm diameter 3 part case, available either in polished stainless steel, in 18k rose gold plated stainless steel or in 18k rose gold with a see through case back. The Swiss-made calibers include 33 jewels and the movements are protected by a 5 ATM case for the stainless steel versions and a 3 ATM case for the 18k gold cases. Two of the timepieces display a breathtaking skeleton silver colour dial which boast the aesthetic of a bold design with printed roman numerals. The watch owner can glance at the elegant perlage hand decorated components of the Perpetual Calendar through the skeleton dial. To complete the look of these timepieces, they bear a brown alligator strap with the rose gold plated stainless steel 3 part case or in a polished stainless steel case with a black alligator strap. The sapphire see-through case back allows the watch owner to admire the delicate Côtes de Genève decoration.
The other two versions display a very clean and refined silver coloured dial, with Clous de Paris guilloché decorations and printed Roman numerals. These magnificent timepieces are available in 18k rose gold plated and stainless steel case with a brown alligator strap or in a polished stainless steel case with a black alligator strap.
What makes Frederique Constant’s timekeepers memorable is the fully in-house developed, produced and assembled movements at a competitive price range. The Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon manufacture timepieces represent the essence of grand complications by their manufacturing process which requires extensive work, precision and complexity in high quality watchmaking. It epitomises the tradition of horological complications in a vibrant expression of watchmaking knowhow distinctive to the brand’s vision. These exceptional timepieces represent the peak of Peter and Aletta Stas vision for accessible luxury.