The beginning of a new year is also the perfect time to look back at what happened in the year that just ended. It allows remember all the great (and not so great) things that we might have now forgotten. Looking back at all the models that Frederique Constant launched in 2021, it reminded me how well the brand has performed during the past year. Too many people think about luxury-looking, simple automatic watches when the brand is mentioned. But that would be extremely reductive. Frederique Constant has far more to offer, and even by respecting its motto of accessible luxury, it has shown that it is one of the most productive watchmakers (and not assembler of watches) in this price range… From a tourbillon QP priced at a fraction of the price of an unattainable luxury sports watch, to a very cool worldtimer or one of the most impressive new technical development of the year, indeed, Frederique Constant has some truly impressive new models in 2021!
Frederique Constant Slimline Monolithic Manufacture
An authentic horological breakthrough! Period. Frederique Constant started the year by presenting what is a true innovation, a new oscillator that relies on the principle of compliant mechanisms, and challenges the way mechanical wristwatches are regulated has barely changed in centuries. Meet the Monolithic, a revolutionary flexure pivot oscillator created together with Dutch company Flexous, beating at an impressive frequency of 40Hz. Instead of an assembly of over 20 parts, it features a one-piece silicon oscillator fitted with two regulation weights working in conjunction with the escapement wheel, with a low amplitude of only 6 degrees and an ultra-fast frequency of 40Hz. And the best is that it is adapted to an almost classic automatic movement, and is accessible at a relatively fair price… And it will be industrialised in the near future. We’re talking relevant innovation here, and not just a concept to please the ego.
Quick facts: 40mm diameter – stainless steel or 18k pink gold case – silver-coloured or blue dial with hobnail pattern – Manufacture calibre FC-810, self-winding, Monolithic oscillator, 288,000 vibrations/hour or 40Hz frequency, 80-hour power reserve – alligator strap – limited edition of 810 pieces in steel/silver – EUR 4,495 in steel
Frederique Constant Highlife Automatic Skeleton
The focus for Frederique Constant in 2020 was the launch of its sporty watch with integrated bracelet, the Highlife collection. Following the initial range of models, the brand continued to develop this lineup in 2021, with new additions playing on complications, looks and bolder designs. One of them is the Highlife Automatic Skeleton, a watch that adds a sense of extravagance to this usually classic model. First, the dial is dominated by the globe-shaped mainplate of the openworked automatic movement, just to stay in line with the design of the rest of the collection. Second, it is available in a matte black PVD-coated edition, which gives the watch a much more modern, bolder and sportier appeal. Finally, as often with the brand, it is offered at a very decent price, which includes an additional rubber strap next to the metallic bracelet. Note that a more traditional steel edition with blue dial is also available.
Quick facts: 41mm diameter – steel case, matte-finished with black titanium PVD coating – openworked dial with movement partially visible – calibre FC-310 (base Sellita SW 200-1), openworked, automatic – integrated steel bracelet with easy-change system, additional black rubber strap included – limited to 888 pieces – EUR 2,395 in black PVD
Frederique Constant Highlife Worldtimer Manufacture
Frederique Constant is a watchmaker with over 30 manufacture movements in its portfolio. Naturally, we were expecting its hot Highlife collection to develop and to receive some of the brand’s own-developed complications. Following the Automatic COSC and Perpetual Calendar versions, Frederique Constant presented its vision of a traveller’s sports watch with the Highlife Worldtimer Manufacture. Instead of a classic GMT version, the brand has opted for something more complex, a worldtime display, using a 24h disc to indicate the time in most cities around the globe. As practical as good looking, the Highlife Worldtimer retains the modern and dynamic look of other models and adds a sense of complication and watchmaking content, without making this watch a formal option. Nicely balanced, mechanically interesting and fully equipped with a steel bracelet and two straps included (one in rubber, one in nubuck leather), including the brand’s clever interchangeability system.
Quick facts: 41mm diameter – stainless steel case – Blue dial, globe decoration and silver-coloured applied indexes – Manufacture Calibre FC-718, automatic world time with date-by-hand indication – stainless steel 3-link bracelet, rubber strap and leather strap included – EUR 3,795
Frederique Constant Highlife Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar Manufacture
We give an end to this selection with sort of a “tour de force”. If you were asked to put a price on a watch with in-house Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar, I’m sure most of you would go well over 50k. Well, not at FC, which has presented its truly accessible Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar movement in the Highlife case… And yes, it’s once again a watch at a highly attractive price – just below 23k – for what you’ll get. Combining the sporty look of Highlife with the complex and mechanically appealing Calibre FC-975, it comes with an openworked dial revealing its tourbillon regulator at 6 o’clock, 3 sub-dials for the perpetual calendar and underneath, some of the parts that actuate the QP. The automatic movement, designed in a clever way to reduce the costs, remains nevertheless highly capable and does exactly the same as a 100k euros watch… Minus hand-finishing. Still, the Highlife Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar remains an impressive watch. Also available in 18k rose gold on leather strap.
Quick facts: 41mm diameter – stainless steel case – openworked dial with navy blue chapter ring and sub-dials – Calibre FC-975, in-house, automatic, tourbillon regulator with silicon escapement wheel and anchor and perpetual calendar – stainless steel bracelet with an additional navy blue rubber strap – Limited Edition of 88 pieces in steel – EUR 22,995 in steel
For more information, please visit FrederiqueConstant.com.