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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. 

The Flyback Chronograph Manufacture is powered by the in-house FC-760 flyback chronograph movement.

   

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.

New dials

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).

Gold Worldtimer 

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.

 

Specifications: 

Frederique Constant Flyback Chronograph Manufacture, rose-gold-plated steel (FC-760CHC4H4)

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

 

For many years Precision Engineering AG, a sister company of H. Moser & Cie., has been making balance springs for MB&F. These two high-profile independent watchmakers today expand their ties well beyond sharing component-makers by each launching a watch with functions and designs originally found on watches from both companies.

Thus, on the new Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon H. Moser × MB&F the wearer sees a cylindrical tourbillon and tilted dial that immediately recalls the MB&F LM Thunderdome or its Flying-T.

Likewise, on the new LM101 MB&F × H. Moser we see the highly recognizable MB&F suspended balance flying above a trademark H. Moser fumé dial with minimalized H. Moser hands indicating both time and power reserve.

Both companies have jointly created these two new watches and will make them available in several versions with each issued in a fifteen-piece limited series. Fifteen signifies the 15th anniversary of MB&F and the fifteenth anniversary of H. Moser & Cie.’s re-launch.

Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon H. Moser × MB&F

For this 42mm model, H. Moser & Cie. takes the MB&F concept of three-dimensional movements to another technical level with a one-minute flying tourbillon (with the aforementioned cylindrical balance) popping out of an aperture at 12 o’clock.

Down at 6 o’clock we see a 40-degree tilted dial, lifted directly from MB&F’s LM Thunderdome or Flying –T.  Rather than the white lacquer dial used by MB&F, here we find clear sapphire marked only by the H. Moser name, two hands and the twelve hour markers.

H. Moser CEO Edouard Meylan explains that his company has “Moserized the MB&F universe by developing a sapphire subdial, which melts into the background so as to highlight the beauty of our fumé dials.”

H. Moser will make the watch available in five different versions cased in steel and with a selection of favorite H. Moser fumé dials: Funky Blue, Cosmic Green, Burgundy, Off-White or Ice Blue.

LM101 MB&F × H. Moser

For its part in the cooperative venture, MB&F has outfitted its Legacy Machine 101 with distinctive H. Moser elements.

MB&F has retained the watch’s suspended flying balance, but has removed its own logo as well as the LM101’s white domed subdials, replacing them with an H. Moser fumé dial and three H. Moser hands showing hours, minutes power reserve.

MB&F chose four fumé dials to illustrate the watch’s cooperative nature: Red, Cosmic Green, Aqua Blue and Funky Blue. MB&F also retained the 40mm by 16mm steel case and domed sapphire crystal.

MB&F has also redesigned the LM101’s large suspended balance wheel by adding a Straumann double balance spring produced by Precision Engineering AG, the component maker that shares ownership with H. Moser. MB&F says the new spring actually improves the movement’s precision and isochronism while also reducing friction.

And there’s more ‘Mosering’ visible on this new LM101 MB&F × H. Moser. Rather than using a Kari Voutilainen finish, MB&F has supplied a contemporary NAC treatment to the movement, which is visible from the clear sapphire caseback.

Moser CEO Edouard Meylan and MB&F founder Maximilian Büsser compare their new creations to a “duet recital in the form of an exceptional concerto for devotees of fine watchmaking.”

Clearly, the two independent watchmakers are making beautiful music together. 

The two models are available in several versions, each issued in a fifteen-piece limited series. Prices: $79,000  (Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon H. Moser × MB&F) and $52,000 (LM101 MB&F × H. Moser).

 

 

 

Parmigiani Fleurier launches two slate-dialed complicated watches as part of its Watches & Wonders 2020 debut lineup. Each model includes a thin tourbillon and each is also being made as part of a very limited edition.

The new Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Tourbillon Slate.

On the new Toric Tourbillon Slate, Parmigiani Fleurier integrates its extra-thin flying tourbillon into the movement’s main plate, which helps to maintain the watch’s thinness. Parmigiani Fleurier places the tourbillon here at the 7 o’clock position as a nod to the brand’s founder, Michel Parmigiani, who was born at 7:08 am on December 2, 1950.

That tourbillon, the focus of the brand’s ultra-thin PF517 movement, is powered by a platinum micro-rotor. Its bridges have been decorated with côtes de Genève.  

The Parmigiani Fleurier ultra-thin PF517 inside the Toric Tourbillon Slate features a platinum micro-rotor.

And while the tourbillon itself is a focus, so is the handcrafted barley grain guilloché pattern on the slate-colored dial.

The Toric collection is possibly Parmigiani Fleurier’s most classically styled collection, and this model underscores that history with its rose gold case inspired by Greek Doric columns. You might recall that the Toric was Michel Parmigiani’s first case, which debuted in 1996 when the master watchmaker launched his watch brand following many years restoring watches and clocks.

Parmigiani Fleurier will make the watch, which comes with a Hermès Havane leather strap, as a limited edition of twenty-five pieces. Price: $130,000.

Tondagraph Tourbillon

Parmigiani Fleurier also debuted this Tondagraph Rose Gold Slate as part of its Watches & Wonders 2020 collection.

The Tondagraph Rose Gold Slate

The Tondagraph represents a more contemporary styling within the brand’s multi-complication collections, though this model is a bit more classical (with its rich guilloché dial) than earlier examples within the collection. The Tondagraph’s teardrop lugs, round case and prominent displays are slightly muted when compared to earlier examples thanks to the addition this year of the rich guilloché dial, which here echoes the watchmaker’s now-characteristic slate hue.

The 43mm watch shows its thin tourbillon and prominent bridge at the bottom of the dial while the counter at 3 o’clock shows chronograph minutes. Nicely balancing those displays you’ll see the small seconds at 9 o’clock and the power reserve at the top of the dial.

This display also differs from previous incarnations with its fully skeletonized delta-shaped hour and minute hands and its switch from large Arabic hour markers to more subtle minutes track with two gold appliques at 3 and 9.

Parmigiani Fleurier’s handsome PF354 manually wound mechanical caliber is a treat to view through the clear sapphire caseback.

Inside Parmigiani Fleurier’s beautifully designed PF354 manually wound mechanical caliber is a treat to view through the clear sapphire caseback. It offers a power reserve of 65 hours. Price: $199,000, with limited production.

 

Specifications: Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Tourbillon Slate

Movement: Automatic PF517, extra-thin flying tourbillon displaying hours, minutes, seconds, tourbillon (60 seconds), 48-hour power reserve, 
21,600 vph frequency, Côtes de Genève décor, beveled bridges, platinum micro-rotor with “Grain d’Orge” guilloché

Dial: Slate finishing with guilloché Grain de Riz Indexes in 18-karat rose gold

Hands: Javelin-shaped with luminescent coating

Case: 42.8mm by 9.45mm polished red gold. Caseback: Engraving w/individual number and EDITION LIMITEE XX/25

Strap: Hermès Havana alligator strap with 18-karat gold pin buckle.

 

Specifications: Parmigiani Fleurier Tondagraph Rose Gold Slate

Movement: PF354 
manual winding, 21,600 vph frequency, 65-hour power reserve

Functions: Hours, minutes, small second, tourbillon, chronograph, power reserve

Case: 43mm
 by 13.4mm
 rose gold with 
30 meters water resistance, sapphire crystal  

Dial: Slate
 with rose-gold-plated appliques, “Guilloché Grain de riz” Skeleton Delta-shaped hands

Strap: Hermès Alligator Havana with pin buckle 18-karat rose gold

 

Few watch functions are as dramatic as a jumping hand. Chronoswiss takes full advantage of its twice-per-minute jumping hand by placing it just above the 6 o’clock spot on the new, metallic blue and gold Open Gear ReSec, a new 44mm regulator watch.

 

The watch is a new limited-edition model within the Lucerne-based watchmaker’s existing Open Gear ReSec collection. Named for its premier function (ReSec stands for Retrograde Seconds, the more technical name for the over-active hand), the watch gleams with a particularly rich blue 44mm CVD-coated case accented by gold hands and markers. Chronoswiss wisely mounts its gold-colored jumping hand on a nicely hand-finished straight-grained bridge with smartly polished edges. The jumping hand itself operates in a half-circle, leaping from the thirty seconds position back to start its arc to complete counting each minute.

As Maik Panziera, Chronoswiss Head of Design, explains in a press release: “This ‘jump back in time’ takes a millisecond, and the precision of the watch is well within ±5 seconds per day.” He adds that the invention of the retrograde display dates from 17th- century pocket watches.

To add even more visual punch, Chronoswiss has finished the bridges that hold the retrograde complication in place with three different finishes: sandblasted matte, chamfered edges and polished surfaces.

And there’s more to treat the eye. Chronoswiss contrasts the dial’s metallic blue sheen with easy-to-read luminous hands framed in gold plate, including the large minute hand that circumnavigates the dial and the smaller hour hand at the 12 o’clock position. Chronoswiss then adds hour indexes made of white cylinder-shaped blocks of SuperLuminova to ensure visibility.

Chronoswiss has skeletonized a few of the gears visible through the hours subdial.

To add texture to the already multi-layer dial, Chronoswiss has skeletonized a few of the gears visible through the hours subdial. On the exterior, Chronoswiss also mixes it up with matte-finished, channeled case-sides, a shiny bezel and polished lugs.

The caseback dispays the Chronoswiss Caliber C.301 automatic movement with skeletonized blue rotor with Côtes de Genève finish.

All told, there’s a lot to please a collector searching for a distinctively finished watch that won’t hide on the wrist. The bonus here is that Chronoswiss adds two unusual functions: a regulator dial featuring a time-honored, action-packed retrograde seconds hand.

Price: $9,900 (limited edition of fifty).

Specifications: Chronoswiss Open Gear ReSec

Limited Edition of 50 (Reference:CH-6926-BLGO)

Dial: Off-center hours at 12, central minutes, retrograde seconds at 6.  Elaborate 42-part construction on two levels: bottom level hand- guillochéd, upper level featuring screwed-on skeletonized train wheel bridges and funnel-like construction for hour display, as well as a retrograde seconds display and cylinder shape SuperLuminova indexes, ‘Trigono’-shape hands, red gold-plated and polished with SuperLuminova inlays and tips.

Case: 44mm by 13.35mm solid 17-piece stainless steel case with blue CVD coating, with satin finish and polished, bezel with partial knurling and curved, double coated anti-reflective sapphire crystal, screw-down case back with satin finish and sapphire crystal, onion crown, water resistance to 100 meters, strap holders screwed down with patented Autobloc system

Movement: Chronoswiss caliber C. 301, automatic, with stop seconds and 42-hour power reserve, skeletonized blue rotor with Côtes de Genève and ball bearing; polished pallet lever, escape wheel and screws; bridges and plates with perlage

 Strap: Hornback crocodile leather, hand-sewn

 

De Bethune marks the tenth anniversary of its DB28 by re-interpreting the 43mm titanium-cased, top-crown watch in three extra-thin versions. All three timepieces re-imagine the DB28 in slightly different ways, but all utilize a new, thinner case with newly designed – but still floating – lugs.  

One of the three celebratory DB28XP debuts flouts a highly polished example of the new ultra-thin case with the prominent De Bethune delta mainplate, one presents a De Bethune Starry Sky design on its dial and the third is equipped with a De Bethune ultra-light tourbillon set in a stunning hand-engraved “barley grain” guilloche pattern.

The Ultra-Thin DB28XP

To create this ultra-thin (measuring 7.2mm compared to 9.3mm in previous models) evolution of the DB28, De Bethune re-designed the case, lugs and the case band, adding a more pronounced curvature.

New finishing needed to reflect the new, thinner profile, according to De Bethune, which is why the new model features highly polished titanium bridges and satin-finished bevels, a visual treat that enhances the thinness of the new watch. Likewise, De Bethune mirror-finishes the emblematic delta-shaped mainplate and with its dial offers a modern take on traditional guilloche technique.

The new ultra-thin titanium case on two of the new watches measures 7.2mm compared to 9.3mm in previous models.

De Bethune of course fits the watch with its own balance-spring with a flat terminal curve, silicon escape wheel and De Bethune triple pare-chute shock-absorbing system. De Bethune has also increased the efficiency (by twenty percent) of its self-regulating twin-barrels to ensure that the hand-wound movement delivers a full six days of power reserve.

DB28XP Starry Sky

Here, De Bethune creates its first-ever blued Microlight dial, comprised of a blue titanium base with applied microgrooves, to deliver a celestial dial show. Those ‘stars’ on the dial are actually white gold pins placed with precision and as requested by the customer.

As you may know, De Bethune allows the customer to select a date, hour and location so that it can create a night sky exactly as desired by the watch’s owner.

The DB28XP Starry Sky features the hour circle in silver, the minutes in Arabic numerals, the De Bethune signature at 12 o’clock and rose gold hands designed especially for the new watch.

DB28XP Tourbillon

With this third interpretation of the DB28 theme, De Bethune rearranges the movement’s architecture by placing an exceedingly lightweight (0.18 grams-which De Bethune calls “the lightest ever”) 30-second, 36,000-bph tourbillon at 6 o’clock. De Bethune notes that the dial of the DB28 Digitale inspired the new design.

Offering hour, minute and seconds indications, the DB28XP Tourbillon’s white dial with silver reflections is stunning indeed. It provides an enthralling hand-engraved “barley grain” guilloche pattern, highlighted by a blued hour circle with polished marker dots.

If you can bear to turn the watch to its caseback, there’s another reward to viewing the DB28XP Tourbillon: a representation of our solar system that references the Aiguille d’Or – the highest distinction of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) – awarded to the first DB28. The position of the planets is that of the evening sky over Geneva when the prize was presented on November 19, 2011.

The position of the planets is that of the evening sky over Geneva when the GPHG prize was presented to the first DB28 on November 19, 2011.

Prices:

DB28XPTIS1, Polished Titanium:  $79,900

DB28XPTIS3v2, Titanium Starry Sky: $79,900

DB28XPTTIS1, Tourbillon with Titanium Barleycorn motif:  $198,000