Collaborations are the name of the game these days and some watch brands have tapped into the potential of working with independent watchmakers to refresh their portfolios or show off some horological muscle. But things can also work in the other direction and Peter Speake, aka The Naked Watchmaker, has taken the Frederique Constant Slimline Perpetual Calendar Manufacture and stripped it down. As our readers know, the mind behind The Naked Watchmaker website is master watchmaker Peter Speake who dissects complex mechanical movements in great detail. The deconstruction of the perpetual calendar by Peter Speake gives the watch a radically different identity with a view of the technical aspects, improved readability of the indications and a more contemporary leap year indicator. Released as a limited edition of 99 pieces, the deconstructed QP adheres to Frederique Constant’s affordable luxury tenet and retails for under EUR 10,000.
An affordable QP
The watchmaking world was taken by surprise when Frederique Constant launched its first perpetual calendar in 2016 for under EUR 10,000. Fitted with a new in-house movement with a QP module, the Slimline Perpetual Calendar Manufacture stuck firmly to the brand’s philosophy of “affordable luxury”. Revisited over the years with different coloured dials, the latest Slimline Perpetual Calendar gets a radical makeover in the hands of Peter Speake. According to Peter Speak, “we saw that the intrinsic horological interest of the watch was hidden by the dial and our wish was to open up the dial in order to place in value the mechanical elements of the QP mechanism”.
The most obvious modification performed on the QP is the removal of the dial revealing an attractive combination of blue bridges and brown sub-dials for the indications. Compared to the classic version of the QP, the day and date sub-dials and their hands are much larger with white inscriptions on the brown rings and white lacquered skeletonised hands with red tips. In a similar manner, the hour and minute hands have also been enlarged and skeletonised to avoid obstructing the view. The sub-dial with the day of the week on the left reveals the seven-point star driven by a 24-hour wheel; the sub-dial with the date exposes a 31-point star wheel and its corresponding snail cam. Another modification concerns the moon phase aperture. The original bosom-shaped aperture with a golden moon has been discarded and replaced with two exposed white moons set against a blue background and framed by a brown ring. The months are housed in a counter below noon and reduced to JA, MR, JY and NV, and the leap year has been redesigned with an opening between JA and MR that turns red when it is a leap year.
Viewed in the dark, the dial comes alive with the luminous green accents on the two moons, the tips of the hour and minute hands and the peripheral minute track. Despite increasing the thickness of the dial by adding complexity and a 3D view, the original case size of 42mm and height of 11.3mm height have been respected, and the stainless steel case features the classic onion crown. Polished throughout, the case has a see-through caseback and is water-resistant to 30m. Picking up on the brown colour scheme of the dial, The Naked Watchmaker x Frederique Constant comes on a casual brown fabric strap.
The reverse side reveals the manufacture FC-775, a calibre created by Manuel Da Silva Matos, R&D director, and Pim Koeslag, technical director of Frederique Constant. One of the most innovative yet easy to assemble QPs produced, the movement beats at 4Hz and delivers a relatively limited 38-hour power reserve. Just 6.7mm thick, the finishing of the 191 parts is done with CNC machines to ensure exact tolerances. The button in the caseband at 5 o’clock advances the moon phase, the one at 8 o’clock is for the day of the week, and the one at 10 o’clock advances the day and date simultaneously. The movement features perlage and Côtes de Genève decoration on the blued bridge below the golden rotor.
Availability and Price
The Naked Watchmaker x Frederique Constant is limited to 99 pieces and retails for EUR 9,995. The watch can only be ordered on the dedicated Frederique Constant website with a downpayment of EUR 5,000.
Update: if you visit the website today, you might see an OUT OF STOCK notice. More details about the watch at frederiqueconstant.com.