Twenty-two years after Frederique Constant debuted its first mechanical regatta countdown watch, the Geneva-based manufacturer is re-releasing that distinctive timer, with a modern update, in the Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown, the lead model for a new Yacht Timer collection.
The regatta timer has long been a niche countdown complication, essentially a short-timing chronograph, made by a few manufacturers. We’ve seen, for example, Rolex, Corum, Louis Vuitton, Panerai, Maurice Lacroix, Omega, TAG Heuer and even Frederique Constant’s sporty brother Alpina offer a regatta timer in recent years.
The new Frederique Constant Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown is distinctive with its five large dot displays that change color each minute during the critical ten minutes before the start of the race. Yacht skippers seek to be in position, both in relation to competing boats and to the starting line, just as the ten-minute countdown ends.
With the new watch, Frederique Constant has retained the same display as the original model from 1997. Each dot at the top of the dial represents one minute. When the skipper presses the top pusher it activates the first countdown that, minute by minute, turns all the points from white to blue.
In five minutes, when all dots are blue, the second countdown starts to mark the final five minutes before the race begins. All the indicators then turn orange, and when the final fifth dot is orange, and the second hand reaches 12, the regatta begins.
Naturally, the 42mm Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown focuses the eye on its countdown timer. But Frederique Constant has updated the watch’s dial with newly faceted, extra-long indexes to constantly display a polished side that can be seen at any angle. The hands and indexes are filled with luminescent material.
Look for four models in the Yacht Timer Regatta collection, each powered by the ETA or Sellita-based automatic FC-380 movement.
Two watches are cased in rose-gold-plated steel with a blue or silver-plated dial on an alligator strap.
The third one features a blend of steel and rose gold on a two-tone steel bracelet.
The fourth model has a steel case and silver-plated dial on a black alligator strap.
Frederique Constant also includes a black rubber strap with all these new watches. Prices: $3,195 to $3,495.
New GMT dials
In addition to the new Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown, the star of the Yacht Timer collection, Frederique Constant is placing an existing automatic GMT model into the collection, rebranding it the Yacht Timer GMT.
With a new dial treatment, and set into either a two-tone or a rose-gold-plated 42mm case, the Yacht Timer GMT displays the local time on a central hand while the time at the home base (or any second time zone) can be read on the inner ring marked with a 24-hour display. The Sellita-based Caliber FC-350, an automatic movement with a Frederique Constant GMT module, powers the watch.
The GMT time has a red tip to make it easier to distinguish. And there is no need for a day-night indicator since the dark half of the GMT's ring marks nighttime while the light side indicates daytime. The date is paired with the local time on the central hands.
The Frederique Constant Yacht Timer GMT is offered with a steel bracelet (two-tone model) or dark brown alligator strap (rose-gold-plated steel model). The Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown watch and the Yacht Timer GMT each arrive with an additional black rubber strap. Price: $1,995 and $2,095.