For seventeen summers Frederique Constant has released a new Vintage Rally limited edition series, which the Geneva-based watchmaker dedicates to collectors of classic Austin-Healey vintage automobiles. The annual debut rarely disappoints, and this year’s releases are no exception.
This year’s highlight is an all-grey Vintage Rally Healey Automatic Small Seconds, with a range of the contemporary color on its dial, strap, steel case, index hour markers and hands.
The dressy 40mm watch sports the original Healey logo on the dial, just adjacent to the off-center small seconds hand at 9 o’clock. Around the decidedly matte dial is the flange displaying the sixty-minute scale. Frederique Constant has engraved each watch’s caseback with a Healey automobile in action. (See below for additional technical details).
Frederique Constant will make 888 examples of the grey-dialed Vintage Rally Healey Automatic Small Seconds, with each arriving in a gift set alongside a miniature replica of a vintage Austin-Healy automobile.
For buyers outside the United States, or by special order in the United States, two additional Vintage Rally watches are also available.
For these ‘international models” Frederique Constant offers a green dial and a blue dial, both colors that allude to the Austin-Healey company. One model features British racing green while the other offers a dial in navy blue within a rose gold-plated case. This model’s hour markers, hands and crown are also navy blue, which is hinted on the leather strap as well.
Only the grey model ($1,595) is available in the United States. As noted, the two “international” models are available here only by special order. Prices: $2,175 (Blue dial/rose-gold plated case) and $1,957 (Green dial, steel case).
Specifications: Frederique Constant Vintage Rally Healey Automatic Small Seconds (Limited edition of 888.)
Movement: ETA-based FC-345 automatic caliber with 38-hour power reserve.
Case: 40mm by 11.15mm polished steel, two-part case, convex sapphire crystal, engraved case-back with Healey Noj 393 vintage car. Water resistant to 50 meters.
Dial: Grey with matte finishing, white inner ring with printed seconds graduation , silver color applied indexes with white luminous treatment, hand-polished silver color hour and minute hands with white luminous treatment, small seconds counter at 9 o’clock w/red hand , date window at 3 o’clock.
Strap: Grey calf leather with light grey stitching.
Frederique Constant this week unveiled a groundbreaking one-piece silicon oscillator that effectively replaces the traditional mechanical movement’s twenty-six-piece escapement assortment, and has developed a new movement around the high-tech component. The new movement, automatic Caliber FC-810, will power the Slimline Monolithic Manufacture Collection of 40mm watches, available this September.
Debuted after three years of research and development, Geneva-based Frederique Constant’s new oscillator beats at the ultra-high rate of 288,000 vibrations per hour, or 40 Hz, about ten times faster than traditional mechanical movement oscillators. And since it is created as a single friction-free, anti-magnetic, lightweight component, both the oscillator and the movement demonstrate ultra high efficiency.
As a result, when teamed with a standard winding spring in the new movement, watches in the new Slimline Monolithic Manufacture collection realize a full eighty-hours of power reserve.
Frederique Constant teamed with Nima Tolou, CEO of the Netherlands-based micro-engineering firm Flexous, to develop the silicon oscillator. Frederique Constant’s watchmaking department asked Flexous to develop a unique, flexible oscillating system in a size comparable to a traditional balance. Furthermore Frederique Constant set specifications, including: the highest possible frequency; an 80-hour power reserve; and a cost-effective formula allowing the manufacture of significant quantities at a reasonable price.
Flexous met the requests, devising a component that measures 9.8mm in diameter and 0.3mm thick, approximately the size of a conventional regulator. As noted above, the new oscillator incorporates all twenty-six components that make up the typical assortment, including the traditional balance, spring, anchor and rubies. And, echoing the traditional escapement, the new oscillator’s frequency can be fine-tuned by adjusting two tiny weights.
The first collection Frederique Constant is fitting with the new movement is the Slimline Monolithic Manufacture, a three-hand watch with a pointer date. The 40mm round watch offers a classic Swiss dress dial with a central guilloché hobnail pattern, printed Roman numerals and Breguet-style hands.
The design of the Slimline Monolithic Manufacture echoes the brand’s pioneering use of open dials that expose portions of the movement. When it debuted in 1994, the Frederique Constant Heart Beat was the only serially produced non-skeleton Swiss-made collection that boasted an open dial.
Where that collection displayed the automatic caliber’s escape wheel at the 12 o’clock position, the new collection displays the new pulsating silicon oscillator through an aperture at 6 o’clock.
On the reverse side, a clear sapphire caseback offers an unimpeded view of the automatic FC-810 caliber, which is Frederique Constant’s thirtieth in-house movement. The brand decorates the movement with traditional Geneva stripes with perlage; the oscillating weight is open worked.
Frederique Constant will make the Slimline Monolithic Manufacture in three limited editions, projected to be shipped starting in September. The editions include 810 pieces in stainless steel with a blue dial ($4,795) and 810 pieces in a steel case with a silver color dial ($4,795). Also, an 18-karat gold model with a silver-colored dial will be made as a limited edition of 81 pieces ($15,995).
After updating its world timer and its Highlife collections in recent months, Geneva-based Frederique Constant now refreshes three models with the most basic time displays within its Classics collection.
Specifically, Frederique Constant has updated its Classics Index Automatic, Classics Quartz GMT and Classics Quartz, expanding these collections with eleven newly detailed models.
Classics Index Automatic
This collection now includes five new models. Frederique Constant has replaced two-part guilloché dials with cleaner, matte-finished blue, white or black dials. Instead of Roman numerals you’ll see applied hour markers, all of which have been bevelled and tinted with luminescent material. Formerly thin hands are now sword-shaped in an attempt to portray a geometric purity on the dial.
Four of the 40mm Classic Index Automatic models are cased in steel while one is made with rose-gold-plated steel (and a blued steel seconds hand). Frederique Constant powers all these new models with an automatic Sellita-based FC-303 caliber offering a power reserve of 38 hours. While one full-steel model features a blue dial and steel bracelet, the remaining watches are fit with a nubuck-finish leather strap in brown, black or blue. Prices start at 850 euros, or about $1,100.
Classics Quartz GMT
These travel-ready GMT models retain their easy-to-read dual-time dials. Three new 40mm steel-cased models now include a sunray-brushed dial and the required three hands for the hours, minutes and centrally set GMT hand. That second time zone indicator is tipped with a red arrow and points to the second time zone at a glance, calibrated to a 24-hour marker track encircling the dial.
These watches also make it easy to adjust both the local time and the second timezone. The wearer simply turns the activated crown in one direction to adjust the time zone and in the other direction to adjust the date.
Frederique Constant offers three new Classic Quartz GMT models: one with a gray dial and a brown nubuck-finish calfskin strap, another with a blue dial and a blue strap and a third, sportier variation with a black dial on a steel bracelet. Prices start at 695 euros, or about $830.
Finally, Frederique Constant now offers its most basic 40mm two-hand watch, with date, in a new blue or black dial model. Except for the lack of a seconds hands, these watches echo the look and finish of firm’s mechanical models with a sunray-brushed dial, polished case, applied hour markers doubled at 12 o’clock and nubuck-finish leather strap or three-link steel bracelet. Prices start at 595 euros, or about $700.
Frederique Constant this week brings back its Highlife collection, one of the Geneva watchmaker’s earliest lines, updated with an integrated steel bracelet and a contemporary dial design. The watchmaker debuts the newly returned collection with three new models: The Highlife Perpetual Calendar Manufacture, Highlife Heart Beat and Highlife Automatic COSC.
All three new Highlife models display the same 41mm case as the original collection from 1999, but the new dials feature a globe design that the Geneva brand says is “intended to unify the collection and symbolize the Earth, harmony, and perfection of the circle.”
While not Frederique Constant’s first integrated bracelet, these Highlife debuts mark a premiere of a newer, interchangeable bracelet that allows the wearer to swap the bracelet without additional tools by pressing on the two pushpins at the end of the bracelet or strap to disconnect it from the case and click a new one into place.
Versatility is a focus here. Each watch will come with an additional leather strap and a rubber strap, and Frederique Constant is also offering a set of three additional crocodile calf suede straps in brown, blue, and black (purchased separately).
When it made its first perpetual calendar four years ago, Frederique Constant stuck to its mission of offering a high value-to-price ratio across all its collections. That premier Slimline Perpetual Calendar model wowed collectors and critics alike with its thin Caliber FC-775 movement, attractive dial layout and a double-take price (less than $9,000 for the steel-cased model).
With this latest example, the Highlife Perpetual Calendar Manufacture, Frederique Constant’s continues that mission. The watchmaker’s starts with that in-house FC-775 perpetual calendar caliber and places in the newly integrated steel case/bracelet, fronted by the globe design on the dial.
As with previous examples, the new Highlife Perpetual Calendar Manufacture features three counters: day at 9 o’clock, month and leap year at 12 o’clock, date at 3 o’clock and moon phase at 6 o’clock. The watch’s polished hands and all the index hour markers are topped with a luminescent material.
Frederique Constant is making three different variations of the watch. One (pictured above) offers a very cool two-tone style that combines steel and rose gold plating on the bezel, bracelet, and crown. For added luxury you’ll also get a textured black rubber strap with a rose gold-plated buckle.
The second version features a blue dial with silver hands and index hour markers and comes with a blue rubber strap and a steel pin buckle. The third version comes with a white dial, silver index hour markers, a black leather strap and a black rubber strap. Prices start at $9,095.
The new Highlife Heart Beat collection revisits this brand’s initial ‘iconic’ design.
When it debuted in 1994, the Heart Beat was only serially produced non-skeleton Swiss-made collection that boasted an open dial, displaying the automatic caliber’s escape wheel at the 12 o’clock position. Frederique Constant kicked off a design trend with that original Heartbeat collection, and today regrets the fact that it never protected the initial design, an error the brand says was “rooted in the brand’s youthful inexperience.”
The new versions retain that open window into the movement at the top of the dial, which here appears at the pole position on the globe dial design. Portions of the automatic Sellita-based FC-310 caliber are visible from both front and back through the sapphire crystal.
The new Highlife Heart Beat is now available in three different steel versions. The first offers a white dial and rose gold-plated case with only a brown leather strap and a brown rubber strap. The second features a blue dial with a steel bracelet, complemented by a blue rubber strap and the third features a black dial with a steel case and bracelet and arrives with a black rubber strap. Prices start at $1,995.
New and Certified
As the first COSC-certified watch from Frederique Constant, the new Highlife Automatic COSC (Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute) echoes the original Highlife collection from 1999.
The simplest design of the new globe-dial Highlife collection, this time-only series combines the hands seen on the Heart Beat and the date from the Perpetual Calendar Manufacture, but powers them both with its automatic Sellita-based Caliber FC-310.
Look for four models: one with a two-tone steel bracelet and a white dial, one with a steel bracelet and a blue dial, and a model with a black leather strap and a white dial. The fourth design offers a variation with a rose gold-plated case and a black dial, all set with a brown leather strap and shipped with a rubber strap in the same shade. Prices start at $1,895.
In its annual ode to the Italian boat maker Riva, and its sporty wood Runabout, Frederique Constant this year re-introduces a chronograph to the collection. The new Runabout RHS Chronograph Automatic celebrates the partnership between Riva and Frederique Constant and will be made as two limited series each composed of 2,888 pieces. The limited editions will feature a tri-compax chronograph dial layout (12 o’clock – 6 o’clock – 9 o’clock) powered by Geneva watchmaker’s ETA Valjoux-based automatic FC-392 chronograph caliber.
Two new 42mm steel-cased Runabout RHS Chronograph Automatic models will share all their specifications internally, but will differ by dial hue, seconds hand coloring and a matching strap.
One model will offer a guilloché anthracite grey dial with grey strap while the second model will feature silvered guilloché dial and blue strap. Similarly, the grey-dialed model will sport a large central seconds hand in light blue steel while the silvered dial model will offer a seconds hand in dark blue.
Frederique Constant has always been careful to treat its limited editions with traditionalmarkings expected by collectors. That’s why it marks each case with its individual serial as well as the total production number (2,888).
But in addition to these markings, collectors will find original imprint representing the official Riva Historical Society flag on the sapphire crystal of the watch.
The Geneva-based watchmaker says that the choice to revisit the chronograph with this year’s special edition Riva collaboration is meant to echo that fact that starting in 1962 Riva produced certain boats with a powerful dual-motor (2 x 185 bhp) outfitted to enjoy water sports on Lake Iseo, birthplace of the Riva.
Frederique Constant will present each watch in a special case with a miniature replica of the legendary Riva moored alongside it.
Among its early 2020 debuts, Frederique Constant this week adds karat gold to its Classic Worldtimer Manufacture and adds sportier dials to its Flyback Chronograph Manufacture, both among the Geneva-based brand’s best-known collections that also happen to be made with in-house-designed movements.
Additional 2020 debuts (to be detailed in future posts) include new Art Deco-style watches for women and an updated smartwatch called Vitality.
Flyback Chronograph Manufacture
This watch has earned accolades as possibly the best-value flyback chronograph watch on the market with a manufacture movement (FC-760). The 42mm watch debuted in 2017 priced less than $4,000, and still might one of the few such flyback chronographs available at such an attractive price ($4,295 and $4,595 for the current offering).
With the flyback, the chronograph’s hand can be stopped, reset to zero, and restarted with one push of a button. The function allows for timing an elapsed interval of events during races. Frederique Constant spent six years developing the caliber prior to its debut, when the brand touted the modular design as one of the most efficient available as it requires only 96 of its 233 components to be dedicated to the flyback function.
But it’s not simply the watch’s ultra-efficient star-shaped column-wheel flyback chronograph caliber that draws enthusiasts. The Frederique Constant Flyback Chronograph Manufacture’s retro-inspired dial and case design also plays a role in advancing the watch’s popularity.
Initially offered with a more classical Roman numeral dial, the watch is now being offered with its first two-tone dial variations, though still retaining the applied, beveled hour markers we’ve seen on this watch in recent years.
Frederique Constant is unveiling the two new options with silvered counters and darker (blue or brown) surrounding dials, echoing the contrasts seen on many chronographs of the 1960s and 1970s.
The sportier treatment sets the dial’s three-counters (date, 30-minute counter and small seconds) in stronger contrast to the dial, which also features baton indices and luminous hands.
On the gold-plated version, the three counters are set against a chocolate-colored dial with a 42mm rose-gold-plated case. The second model features a blue dial with a stainless-steel case. All are fitted with an alligator strap with a deployant clasp. Price: $4,295 (steel case) and $4,595 (rose-gold-plated steel case).
Available for the first time with a rose gold case, Frederique Constant’s Classic Worldtimer Manufacture is also now offered with a new blue, grey and red dial. This newest edition (limited to eighty-eight watches) still reveals a familiar world map on its dial with world city times indicated via two separate discs.
In its steel-cased edition, the Classic Worldtimer Manufacture remains among the most affordable (at $3,995) full-featured Swiss-made world-time watches available.
The watch’s functions are just as useful now as they were ten years ago when Frederique Constant released the very first Classic Worldtimer. On the dial, twenty-four world time zones, indicated by cities, rotate around nicely detailed continents and oceans seen in the center of the dial.
For this special limited-edition karat gold version, the watchmaker has colored the twelve daytime hours in red while the nighttime hours appear in grey. Frederique Constant continues to nicely decorate the date counter at 6 o’clock with a particularly fetching sunray guilloché pattern.
Frederique Constant has designed its FC-718 movement to be quickly and easily adjusted via the crown, thus requiring no additional pushbuttons on the case. Price: $14,995.
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, flyback chronograph, date adjustable by hand, tachymeter
Movement: FC-760 Manufacture caliber, automatic, flyback chronograph with date adjustable by the crown, perlage & circular Côtes de Genève decoration on the movement, 32 jewels, 38-hour power reserve, 28,800 vph
Case: 42mm rose-gold-plated, polished and satined stainless steel three-part case, glass box sapphire crystal, see-through case-back. Water-resistant to 50 meters
Dial: Brown with applied rose-gold-plated indexes, hand-polished rose-gold-plated hands
Strap: Dark brown alligator leather strap
Frederique Constant Flyback Chronograph Manufacture, steel case (FC-760NS4H6)
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, flyback chronograph, date adjustable by hand, tachymeter
Movement: FC-760 Manufacture caliber, automatic, flyback chronograph with date adjustable by the crown. Perlage and circular Côtes de Genève decoration, 38-hour power reserve, 28,800 vph
Case: 42mm polished and satined stainless steel three-part, glass box sapphire crystal, see-through case-back. Water-resistant to 50 meters
Dial: Navy with applied silver indexes, hand-polished silver hands
Strap: Blue alligator leather
Specifications: Frederique Constant Rose Gold Classic Worldtimer Manufacture,(FC-718NRWM4H9)
Movement: FC-718 Manufacture caliber, automatic with all functions (time and world timer) adjustable by the crown, perlage & circular Côtes de Genève decoration on the movement, 38-hour power reserve, 28,800 vph
Case: 42mm polished 18-karat rose gold with convex sapphire crystal, see-through caseback, water-resistant to 30 meters
Dial: Navy blue color dial with grey world map in the center and luminous indexes, hand-polished rose-gold-plated hands with white luminous treatment; date counter at 6 o’clock, 24 hour disc with day (red) & night (grey) indication, city disc with 24 cities
Strap: Navy blue alligator leather strap with off-white stitches
Among the many watches for women we’ve seen released in the early weeks of 2020, here are a seven that would make a perfect Valentine’s Day gift.
Zenith Defy Midnight As we’ve shown you in multiple posts since the event, the LVMH Watch Week in Dubai was a big one for women’s watch debuts, with both Zenith and Bulgari in particular focusing on feminine styles. Impressed as we are with Zenith’s reworked Elite Classic and Elite Moonphase models, those models will appeal to men and women. However, Zenith’s entirely new Defy Midnight is designed from scratch to be the Le Locle-based watchmaker’s collection for women. Its 36mm size and star-centric diamond dial convey Zenith’s ‘time to reach your star’ tag line with glittering aplomb while the trio of additional straps seals the deal. Prices start at $8,600 (without diamond bezel).
Bulgari Serpenti Seduttori (103361) Steel and Diamonds While the Serpenti Seduttori Tourbillon highlights Bulgari’s 2020 offerings for ladies, the ongoing Serpenti Seduttori collection includes five new models, many of which mix diamonds and rose gold with steel. This 33mm steel and diamond watch features an opaline silver-toned dial and a very Valentine cabochon pink rubelite crown. These hexagonal bracelets lay particularly well on any wrist. Price: $6,850
Frederique Constant Classics Art Déco Round This Geneva-based watchmaker always offers an enviable collection of nicely priced watches for women, and its newest Classics Art Deco models nicely underscore that focus. Three of the five new 30mm models combine a guilloché sunray center with a mother-of-pearl outer dial within a first-ever (for this collection) round case. This steel-cased version pops with its guilloché center and blue mother-of-pearl dial, with a perfectly polished steel case and bracelet reflecting the light. Price: $850 euros, or about $930.
Alpina Alpinar Comtesse Sport Quartz Frederique Constant’s sister brand adds three new models to its Alpiner Comtesse Sport Quartz, a set of 36.5mm quartz-powered models we first saw in 2015. In black, blue and white, each watch offers matching bezel and a steel bracelet, with the black-dialed model set with a blackened steel case and bracelet.As with previous models, the markings on the dials are studded with eight diamonds and include large luminescent hands and the date at 6 o’clock. Pricing starts at 695 euros, or about $760.
Blancpain Valentine’s Day Marilyn Monroe Blancpain is debuting an evening watch based on a Blancpain watch once owned by Marilyn Monroe. The small rectangular white gold watch features an Art Deco style case set with 84 diamonds, sometimes in superposed rows, including two marquise-cut gems. The mother-of-pearl dial, inlaid with two hearts, is adorned with two brilliant-cut diamonds and two butterflies made of diamond and ruby hearts. Inside is an all-new rectangular caliber 510, a major new addition to the Blancpain collection. Issued in a 14-piece limited edition, the Blancpain Valentine’s Day 2020 watch is available with a calf leather strap secured by a pin buckle set with a brilliant-cut diamond.Price: $37,400.
Breguet Classique 9065
As we first showed you earlier this year, the newest Breguet Classique 9065 takes on a new, darker look with a stunning Tahitian mother-of-pearl dial. Also new is the rich red heart on the seconds hand, possibly employed by Breguet to remind the wearer of the passing time.The new 33.5mm rose gold watch stands apart from earlier examples not only due to the new dial and rotating heart, but also for its red ruby crown, a garnet-colored date window (framed in rose gold) and an iridescent red satin strap. For enhanced glamour, Breguet also sets eighty-eight brilliant-cut diamonds along the bezel and on the lugs. Inside you will find Breguet’s automatic 591A caliber. Breguet is offering the watch as part of a series of twenty-eight numbered timepieces to be sold at certain Breguet boutiques.
G-Shock Transparent Rose Gold
An finally, take your pick from this all-new trio of G-SHOCK 1990s-inspired women’s watches, just in time for Valentine’s day. This clear-cased series includes a range of timepieces from G-SHOCK’s popular GMAS110, GMAS120 and GMDS6900 models that also add clear resin bands and rose-gold-colored metallic accents. Two models feature circular cases with large side buttons, while the third boasts the classic three-eye G-Shock digital LCD display.
The GMAS110SR-7A and GMAS120SR-7A sell for $140 each, while the GMDS6900SR-7 is priced at $110.