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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.

The gold-cased model of the new Frederique Constant Slimline Monolithic Manufacture collection.The silicon oscillator appears at 6 o’clock.

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.

The 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.

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.

High-tech team

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 watch

 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.

The new Frederique Constant Classic Index Automatic.

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.  

The new Frederique Constant Classic Index Automatic, here with rose-gold plated steel case.

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.

The new Frederique Constant Classic Quartz GMT, here on a steel bracelet.

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.

Classics Quartz

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.

The Frederique Constant Classics quartz, on a steel bracelet.
Frederique Constant Classics quartz.

Patek Philippe this week enhances dial color options and adds metal choices within its feminine Twenty-4 collection. Three new Twenty-4 models, one a quartz-powered cuff model and two round-cased automatic editions, now offer new dial colors within the collection’s steel and rose gold offerings.

One of two new Patek Philippe Twenty-4 Automatic watches, here with a rose-gold sunburst dial.

The manchette, or cuff-style Twenty-4 with a Patek Philippe quartz movement, which last year was updated with Arabic numerals, now includes a new version in rose gold with a chocolate-brown sunburst dial. The watch, Ref. 4910/1201R-001, has two rows of diamonds, applied Arabic 12, 6 and trapeze-shaped markers, and a hand-polished rose gold bracelet. Price: $44,947.

The newest Patek Philippe Twenty-4, with chocolate brown dial and diamonds.

And within the Twenty-4 Automatic collection, Patek Philippe now offers two new 36mm round models, one in steel set with an olive-green sunburst dial (Ref. 7300/1200A-011) and the other in rose gold with a rose-gold sunburst dial (Ref. 7300/1200R-011).

Both dials are notably vibrant. The olive-green edition is particularly eye-catching, especially as framed by the two rows of diamonds. The olive-green dial Twenty-4 Automatic joins existing steel models set with gray sunburst and blue sunburst dials.

The Patek Philippe Twenty-4 Automatic, now with an exceptional sunburst olive green dial.

Patek Philippe fits both these Twenty-4 Automatic watches with its top-notch automatic caliber 324 SC, visible through a sapphire caseback and offering up to forty-five hours of power reserve.

If these dials look particularly luxurious, I commend your perception. Patek Philippe uses gold to build the Arabic numerals or markers on all the Twenty-4 models. The numerals and markers are then filled with a luminescent material. The date frames on the automatic models are also made from white gold.

The new watches join the other rose-gold Twenty-4 models (with two-rows of diamonds) with a chocolate-brown sunburst dial or a linen pattern dial.

Like the rectangular Twenty-4 watches, the round automatic models are fit with hand-polished bracelets in the same metal as the case. And both include Patek Philippe’s simple, secure (and patented) fold-over clasp, which is built with four independent catches.  Price: $27,796 (steel) and $48,495 (rose gold).

Franck Muller’s new Vanguard Line Cut emphasizes lightness and curves with a micro-blasted matte gray titanium case, dial and bracelet.

The new Franck Muller Vanguard Line Cut.

As the latest model within Franck Muller’s winning Vanguard collection, the Line Cut offers collectors a matte-finished contemporary option within Vanguard, known for its wrist-hugging tonneau-shape and trademark elongated numerals.

The new collection broadens the appeal of Vanguard, which Franck Muller has expanded considerably in recent years with racing designs, skeleton models, gem-set editions and several seriously complicated calibers.

Time-only

Franck Muller equips the new Vanguard Line Cut with a simple two-hand time-telling function, which serves to emphasize the sleek, curved matte gray case and its curved black ‘line cut” along the sides.

Furthermore, Franck Muller then matches the cut to the black outline of each of the dial’s long, hand-applied numerals.  Ironically, while the dial projects depth, the case remains relatively thin, here measuring only 9.8mm from front to back. By Franck Muller standards, that’s ultra-thin.

Franck Muller watchmakers have fit the new watch (which is still in limited release) with an extra-flat automatic movement.

 

Specifications: Franck Muller Vanguard Line Cut

Reference: V 41 S AT REL LINE CUT FM 708

Movement: Franck Muller Automatic, 21,600 vibrations hour, 
42 hours power reserve, 
Côtes de Genève, circular graining, rhodium plating.

Case: 41mm by 50mm by 9.10mm micro-blasted grade 5 titanium, water resistant to 30 meters.

Dial: Gray titanium PVD, matte gray hand-applied numerals with black contours.

Bracelet and buckle: Micro-blasted grade 5 titanium.

Price: 9,820 Euros, or about $11,920.

 

By Laurent Martinez

For most collectors, there’s always one coveted piece that stands above the rest—the so-called grail, if you will. And in the world of vintage watches, most would agree that the Patek Philippe Reference 2499 holds that honor.

Widely regarded as one of the greatest timepieces designed by the renowned Swiss watchmaker, Reference 2499, a manual-winding Perpetual Calendar Chronograph with Moonphase produced in very low quantities, is the quintessential Patek.

When a Patek Philippe ref. 2499, comes to the auction block, the vintage watch world pays attention.

Few have had the privilege to see a Reference 2499 in real life, let alone touch one. Watch experts recognize this very special timepiece as one that perfectly combines incredible exterior design with a masterful internal movement.

Given the rarity and collective fascination with the Patek Philippe ref. 2499, when one comes up to the auction block, the vintage watch world pays attention. Collectors won’t want to miss the chance to see it, study it, and most importantly, share a room with other fellow enthusiasts whilst witnessing the inevitable bidding battle that will ensue to claim this watch as his or her own.  

Sotheby’s New York on December 15th will be hosting a holiday season watch auction with a magnificent example of the revered Patek Philippe Reference 2499 as the star of the event.

Few were made

Succeeding Reference 1518 and preceding Reference 3970, Patek Philippe produced Reference 2499 from 1950 until 1985. Despite only 349 pieces ever made, there are four distinct series of the ref. 2499 to note.

The first series was in production from 1950 until the mid-1950s and features square chronograph pushers, applied Arabic numerals, and a tachymeter scale on the dial. There are less than four-dozen of these ref. 2499 watches in existence. The second series, manufactured from 1955 until 1966, include round chronograph pushers, applied baton or Arabic numerals, and a tachymeter scale on the dial.

Next in line was the third series, made from 1960 until 1978, with round chronograph pushers, applied baton indexes, and no tachymeter scale on the dial.

Finally, the fourth and last series of the Reference 2499 is dated from 1978 to 1985 (with later examples taking on the reference 2499/100) and the watches have round chronograph pushers, applied baton numerals, no tachymeter scale, and sapphire crystals shielding the dials.

Fourth series star

The Patek Philippe Reference 2499/100 coming up for sale on December 15 in New York at Sotheby’s belongs to the fourth series family. And it is simply a magnificent piece manufactured in 1981. While the creamy dial is in very good condition it is not perfect.

A closer look at the dial reveals the coveted “Tiffany” branding, which makes this example of the Reference 2499 even more exceptional.

The dial does have some discoloration owing to the humid conditions of the Southern United States, where its owner resides. The customary applied gold batons mark out the hours while the three subsidiary dials for minutes, date/moonphase, and running seconds sit at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock, respectively. The double windows displaying the day and month are placed at 12 o’clock while the gold hands at the center are in the “Dauphine” style.

Tiffany branding

A closer look at the dial reveals the coveted “Tiffany” branding, which makes this example of the Reference 2499 even more exceptional and rare. Sotheby’s consulted with Patek Philippe to see how many Tiffany marked examples were made but there are no records in-house.

The winding crown is furnished with the Patek Philippe logo and of course, the chronograph pushers are round in shape. The interior of the yellow gold case back is engraved with Patek Philippe Co – Genève – Swiss – 2499 – 100 – 2.779.174.” Housed inside the yellow gold case is the manual-winding Caliber 13-130, featuring 23 jewels and numbered 869.425. Potential bidders will be happy to know that the watch keeps very good time.

Housed inside the yellow gold case is the manual-winding Caliber 13-130, featuring 23 jewels and numbered 869.425.

This Patek 2499 is fitted with a brown lizard Patek Philippe strap with a gold Patek Philippe buckle. The width in between the lugs is 20mm and 14mm at the buckle end. The interior of the buckle is engraved with “To AIL – Love – BKL – 7-5-96” and both the case and buckle include all the required poinçons or hallmarks. 

Under the sofa 

The watch was first appraised 20 years ago but it was lost for some time inside the estate. After a long period of searching, this superb Patek Philippe 2499 was finally found inside the house, underneath the sofa. No one knows quite how long it had been lying there, hidden from the world.

As a one-owner Patek Philippe Reference 2499, this is the first time this watch comes to auction. The estimated price is between $500,000 and $800,000, even though I think it is a conservative figure.

For any inquiries about the watch, please contact Richard Lopez, SVP, Senior Specialist, and Head of Online Sales at Sotheby’s at [ Richard.Lopez@sothebys.com ]

The Patek Philippe Reference 2499/100 will draw bids at the December 15 Sotheby’s auction in New York.

Wishing you a safe, happy, and joyful season.

Laurent Martinez is the proprietor of Laurent Fine Watches, Greenwich, Connecticut. Read more by him at blog.laurentfinewatches.com or visit his store’s site at www.laurentfinewatches.com

Patek Philippe this week launches a platinum-cased Grand Complication, the Ref. 6301P Grande and Petite Sonnerie, Minute Repeater with Jumping Seconds, the Geneva watchmaker’s primary technical watch debut for 2020.

Patek Philippe’s new platinum-cased Grand Complication, the Ref. 6301P Grande and Petite Sonnerie, Minute Repeater with Jumping Seconds.

With its black grand feu enamel dial, slanted Breguet numerals and relatively unadorned time and power reserve indications, the new watch understates its impressive and complex chiming mechanism. While eyeing a classically presented time display, a wearer can also place an ear to the 44.8mm case and enjoy a rarely orchestrated symphony of three gongs: a grande sonnerie (full strike), petite sonnerie (small strike) and an on-demand minute repeater.

Patek Philippe has also added an unexpected layer of complexity to the new watch by incorporating a jumping seconds indicator, prominently displayed at the 6 o’clock position on the dial. Patek Philippe looked to its Reference 5275 from 2014 for inspiration on this complication, as that chiming model boasted jumping hours, minutes and seconds.

Patek Philippe opted to place the strike mode selector at 6 o’clock on the case.

New slide

Patek Philippe watchmakers, well-versed in designing and building the brand’s highly regarded and extensive range of chiming watches, developed the new caliber GS 36-750 PS IRM movement directly inspired by Caliber 300 used in the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300 from 2014.  

Unlike most chiming watches from Patek Philippe and elsewhere, the new watch’s chime control center is located below the 6 o’clock position rather than on the left side of the case. On this watch, the selector can be adjusted to petite sonnerie mode (left side), grande sonnerie (center) and silence (right). The user activates the minute repeater on request with the pusher in the winding crown.

Because Patek Philippe opted to place that strike mode selector at 6 o’clock on the case, the watchmaker needed to move its traditional small-diamond platinum case indicator to the side of the case at the 12 o’clock position.

The diamond, here at 12 o’clock, indicates that the case is platinum.

Two barrels

Two series-connected twin mainspring barrels power the new caliber GS 36-750 PS IRM movement. One assures a power reserve of 24 hours for the striking mechanism while the second ensures a 72-hour power reserve for the movement.

New the new caliber GS 36-750 PS IRM is inspired by Caliber 300 used in the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300 from 2014.

All this chiming and timing occurs within a platinum case that may look familiar. Inspired by the Ref. 5370 split-seconds chronograph Patek Philippe presented in 2015, the case features rounded contours, a concave bezel and a slightly cambered sapphire crystal.

Details of the striking mechanism with three gongs.

In summary, the new Patek Philippe Ref. 6301P Grande Sonnerie includes these six complications:

  1. Grande sonnerie
  2. Petite sonnerie
  3. Minute repeater
  4. Movement power-reserve indicator
  5. Strikework power-reserve indicator
  6. Jumping seconds

In addition, the new watch offers unique technical achievements that have resulted in the Geneva watchmaker earning three patents, which Patek Philippe describes below:

  • Isolation of the grande sonnerie in the silence mode (Patent CH 704 950 B1). In the silence mode, this mechanism totally isolates the grande sonnerie from the power flow and eliminates energy consumption.
  • Selection of the strike work mode (Patent CH 706 080 B1). This mechanism enables the selection of the strike work mode (petite sonnerie, grande sonnerie, silence) with a single lever and a single slide switch. Two slide switches were formerly required for this operation.
  • Jumping display with a jumping seconds wheel (Patent CH 707 181 A2). This innovative mechanism for jumping displays does not require springs and levers but instead uses wheels and a release lever that instantaneously unblocks the wheel train every second, and features a coiled return spring as the only power element. The advantage of this system is that it makes energy consumption easier to regulate and control.

Patek Philippe will offer the new Ref. 6301P Grande Sonnerie  on a shiny black, hand-stitched alligator leather strap with square scales, secured with a fold-over clasp. The price for the limited production watch is available upon request.

 

Specifications: Patek Philippe Ref. 6310P Grande and Petite Sonnerie, Minute Repeater with Jumping Seconds

Movement: Patek Philippe Caliber GS 36-750 PS IRM, manual winding, minute repeater with 3 classic gongs, grande sonnerie, petite sonnerie, jumping small seconds at 6 o’clock, power reserve indicators for the movement 
(72h) and for the strike work (24h), frequency of 25,200 bph 
(3.5 Hz), power reserve of 72 hours, strike work power reserve of 24 hours.

Dial: Grand Feu black enamel with glazed finish, gold applied Breguet numerals, 18-karat gold dial plate, white gold leaf-shaped hands 
with luminescent coating.

Case: 44.8 mm
 by 12mm platinum, humidity-and dust-protected only 
(not water-resistant), interchangeable solid and sapphire crystal 
case backs.

Strap: Alligator leather with square scales, hand-stitched, shiny black, fold-over clasp.

 

Zenith continues to place its Defy collection on the cutting edge of high-end, serially produced horology with the addition of the Defy Classic Carbon, which finds the automatic Zenith Defy Classic cased in solid carbon fiber and connected to the wrist with a fully integrated carbon fiber bracelet.

The new Zenith Defy Classic Carbon.

The carbon fiber packaging means that the new model weighs a wispy sixty-five grams, about half the weight of an equivalent 41mm Defy Classic with a titanium case and bracelet. Like other Defy Classic models, Zenith fits the watch with its Elite skeletonized movement with a silicon escape wheel and lever.

While carbon fiber is not unheard of today as a case material in high-end watchmaking, the addition of a carbon fiber bracelet is rare and seen only on pricey, extremely limited editions such as Bulgari minute repeater or a Richard Mille offering.

Zenith explains that the new bracelet required new expertise at cutting, molding and milling the carbon fiber so that it highlights its layers, known technically as strata. The Le Locle watchmaker is touting this knowledge as another aspect of its ability to create serially produced watches infused with new materials (at least within watchmaking) and avant-garde techniques.  

Unexpected

The lightness and the marbled, layered look of a carbon fiber bracelet looks unusual and feels unexpectedly light on the wrist, especially when it clasps a highly complicated automatic watch. While I haven’t worn the new Zenith Defy Classic Carbon, my experience briefly wearing Bulgari Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater Carbon in 2018 was educational in this regard.   

The material is warmer and almost friction-free on the skin, quite unlike the sensation when wearing a steel watch or a gold watch. As an added bonus, the layering of the carbon fiber within such construction results in a different visible pattern every time. As a result, each Zenith Defy Classic Carbon will exhibit a unique appearance.

Zenith has created an all-carbon bracelet with carbon clasp for the new watch.

Zenith also offers a black rubber strap with a carbon and titanium folding buckle for those who prefer a more familiar attachment to their watch. While the price difference between the rubber strap and the carbon fiber strap is high, only one model will suffice for those in search of the truly unusual, and potentially ground-breaking, with their haute horology.

The Zenith Defy Classic Carbon with carbon bracelet is price at $19,500. The model with the black rubber strap is priced at $11,600.

 

Specifications: Zenith Defy Classic Carbon

References: 10.9001.670/80.M9001 (carbon bracelet) and 10.9000.670/80.R795 (rubber bracelet)

Movement: Zenith Elite 670 SK, automatic, 28,800 VpH, 48-hour power reserve, special oscillating weight with satin-brushed finish.

Case: 41mm carbon with sapphire caseback, water resistant to 100 meters, 65-gram total weight (watch with carbon bracelet).

Dial and functions: Openworked with hours and minutes in the center, central seconds hand, date at 6 o’clock, hour-markers and hands ruthenium-plated, faceted and coated with Super-LumiNova SLN C3.

Bracelet: Full carbon. Also available on rubber bracelet, with carbon folding buckle.

Alpina this week revives a regulator dial design with the new Alpiner Regulator Automatic, a successor to the Geneva-based watchmaker’s Avalanche Regulator, which debuted in 2003.

The new Alpiner Regulator Automatic, from Alpina.

As is the case with all regulator dials, the hands rotate within separate subdials, all dominated by the central minutes hand. Alpina echoes its first regulator watch from by setting the subdials amid vertical Côtes de Genève stripes. However, Alpina has replaced the original’s baton hour markers with triangle-tipped markers lined with luminescent material.

Alpina’s choice of dial décor is meant to enhance the dial’s visibility.  Traditionally, watchmakers apply a Côtes de Genève (Geneva Stripes) finish not to dials, but to movement bridges and rotors. The stripes distribute reflected light from the dial, which reduces reflections.

Now in a round 45mm steel case, the new Alpiner Regulator Automatic sets its hour subdial at 10 o’clock and its seconds subdial at the 6 o’clock position.

Modern look

While Alpina offers a broad range of vintage-styled watches, here the watchmaker offers a contemporary look to what is a classical regulator dial layout.

For the United States, collection includes two models with blue dials, which are available on a brown calfskin strap or a steel bracelet. A third model, offered as a limited series of 883 pieces, features a blue dial on a black calfskin strap with red stitching (pictured above).

Alpina has placed its ETA-based AL-650 automatic movement inside the new Alpiner Regulator Automatic. This differs from Alpina’s earlier regulator watches, many of which were powered by manual-wind movements. And unlike many of those earlier models, the new Alpiner Regulator Automatic features a close, engraved caseback rather than a clear sapphire back.  

The watch, available on us.alpinawatches.com, is nicely priced at $1,895 to $1,995, depending on the version.

With this launch, Alpina continues its support of the National Park Foundation as an official partner. For every Alpiner Regulator Automatic purchased through the United States website, Alpina will donate $100 to the parks.

 

Among Rolex’s 2020 debuts, the watchmaker’s colorful additions to the Oyster Perpetual lineup will likely attract more new fans to the brand (if that’s possible) than will be drawn by Rolex’s updates to the latest Submariner.

The new Rolex Oyster Perpetual, now with a 41mm size option.

Where Rolex altered the case size by one mm (to 41mm) and updated the caliber on this year’s Submariner and Submariner Date, the Geneva giant matched these for the new Oyster Perpetual collection, but also included a wider range of dial hues, brighter dial luminescence and the premiere use within the Oyster Perpetual line of the excellent folding Oysterclasp and the Easylink extension link.

The Rolex Oyster Perpetual 41

New size & colors

Echoing the new Submariner size, Rolex adds a 41mm case size to the Oyster Perpetual lineup in 2020, replacing the 39mm models. This means that the collection’s other 2020 debut, a new lineup of the already popular 36mm models, will be even more in demand by those who prefer a smaller size.

Oyster Perpetual 41, showing updated luminescent Chromalight. 

Rolex also expands the fun factor of this relatively affordable collection (the starting price is $5,600, compared to $8,100 starting price for the Submariner) with a slate of eye-catching colorful lacquer dials for the Oyster Perpetual 36. The include candy pink, turquoise blue, yellow, coral red and green.

A colorful Rolex Oyster Perpetual 36
Oyster Perpetual 36

But these aren’t the only dial options that will attract new fans. One version of the Oyster Perpetual 41 sports an interesting silver, sunray-finish dial with hands and hour markers in 18-karat yellow gold. A second version offers a bright black sunray-finish dial with white gold hands and hour markers.

Throughout the Oyster Perpetual collection Rolex updates the hands and markers with its own luminescent formula called Chromalight, which emits a long-lasting blue glow.

Upgraded caliber & bracelet

The Oyster Perpetual 41 and the new versions of the Oyster Perpetual 36 are equipped with its also-new Caliber 3230 (which powers the new, date-free 41mm Submariner as well).  This caliber enhances the Oyster Perpetual considerably, upgrading and already solid technical resume by adding Rolex’s own ultra-efficient and anti-magnetic Chronergy escapement and the brand’s Paraflex shock absorbers, increasing the movement’s shock resistance.

Oyster Perpetual 41

For collectors who like to swap their wrist wear frequently, the new seventy-hour power reserve that comes along with the new caliber might be the most useful enhancement with the 2020 collection.

The Oyster Perpetual 41 and the new versions of the Oyster Perpetual 36 are equipped with Caliber 3230, now with a 70-hour power reserve.

And finally, this newest Oyster Perpetual will secure to your wrist with the Rolex Oystersteel bracelet fitted with Rolex’s folding Oysterclasp and the Easylink comfort extension link. This allows the wearer to adjust the bracelet length by five millimeters. This is the first time that this extension system has been used on a bracelet for the Oyster Perpetual range.

You can learn more about all Rolex’s 2020 debuts here.

 

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.

One model from Frederique Constant’s new Highlife Perpetual Calendar Manufacture collection.

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).

Perpetual Calendar

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.

Open Heart

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.”

From the new Frederique Constant Highlife Heart Beat collection.

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.

This Highlife Heart Beat model offers a variation with a rose gold-plated case and a white dial, set with a brown leather strap and shipped with a rubber strap in the same shade.

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.

A two-tone model from Frederique Constant’s new Highlife Automatic COSC collection.

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.