Posted on


At SIHH 2018 Parmigiani Fleurier debuted two new Kalpa collection watches, with a $50,000 price gap, separated by the level of luxury and exclusivity one might be interested in. The more accessible of the two is the Parmigiani Kalpagraphe Chronometre and the more exclusive of the two is the Parmigiani Kalpa Chronor. What really separates these two very similar watches? The amount of gold and to a degree decorative effort. Both will likely make owners quite happy, while the Kalpagraphe Chronometre (relatively speaking) is a good value for the money. Parmigiani Kalpa KALPAGRAPHE CHRONOMETRE
The Kalpa case is among the first that made the Parmigiani brand stand out. Its combination of elegant curves (based on Fibonacci sequence numbers-based curves) and tear-drop style lugs offered a new perspective on a tonneau-style case design. Over the years Parmigiani has played with the Kalpa design, along with many others – helping it to stand out as being one of the most easily distinguishable, albeit still “insider crowd” luxury watch brands around. One of Parmigiani’s goals over the last few years was to step in the direction of a bit more mainstream style appeal. They’ve done this mainly in regard to the dial designs – which on the new Kalpagraphe Chronometre and Kalpa Chronor are among the most sensible, and utilitarian to date (albeit with plenty of brand personality).
Despite the tonneau-shaped case, Parmigiani designed the dials themselves to be round, with a frame of hour markers and dial texturing around the main dial on the face of the watches. We feel as though this strikes a good balance between character and functionality. We even give kudos to Parmigiani for stubbornly maintaining the “open” date window, which is a difficult design element to pull off correctly – and was rightly abandoned by many other brands seeking to implement it into a dial design. When integrated correctly, an open date window can be curved, allowing for a design element on the dial which is not overly square so as to detract from the aesthetic harmony of other curved elements on the face.
I am not entirely sure why Parmigiani decided to give these watches rather different names. Though I do understand why the all-gold movement model has the Chronor name. This name seems to be reserved for special watches Parmigiani produces with all-gold movements. Check out for example last year’s 2017 Parmigiani Tonda Chronor watch here, that contained a different version of this movement, and the Tonda-style case.
Inside the Kalpagraphe Chronometre and Kalpa Chronor are the in-house designed and produced (as well as decorated) Parmigiani caliber PF362 and PF365 movements respectively. Each is a fully integrated automatic-winding 12-hour chronograph that also includes the time and date. The movements are each COSC Chronometer-certified. Parmigiani is really trying to focus both on the aesthetic and performance appeal of the movements. In addition to the brand’s world-class movement surface finishing, the PF362 and PF365 calibers have 65 hours of power reserve and operate at 5Hz (36,000bph) – just like other “high-beat” movements such as the Zenith El Primero. Each of the movements have over 330 parts, with the PF365 having a few more parts given the more separated design of the bridges. It’s nice to see the tonneau-shaped movements filling the entirety of the rear of the Kalpa-style cases as seen through the sapphire crystal caseback window.
Operating the chronograph mechanism is lovely, and I appreciate Parmigiani fully investing in all important angles of the movement ranging from performance to decoration, as well as simple operation. While the PF362 (with its gold rotor) exists in the lower-priced Kalpagraphe Chronometre watch, the PF365 sits in the Kalpa Chronor with its almost entirely gold-material construction and unique bridge designs. The PF365 is clearly the more exclusive of the two movements, with its heavy emphasis on impressive visuals (and gold).
In addition to the gold movement in the Kalpa Chronor, it also has a solid gold dial (where as the Kalpagraphe Chronometre has gold indexes and hands only). The dials on both are very high-quality in their construction, with really meticulous detailing, and slightly different visual designs for each. On the wrist these new Kalpa watches are a bit larger than their dimensions might suggest – and we recommend them for medium to large-sized wrists. The larger lug structures will otherwise jut out beyond the wrist of smaller-sized wrists such as my own. On the correct-sized wrist the 40.4mm wide and 48.2mm long tonneau-style cases look particularly impressive. It’s the anti-round case for people who still like curves in their design. Each of the watches is a not too massive 14mm thick. Produced in solid 18ct rose gold, the well-polished cases are water resistant to 30m. Parmigiani made a point to mention how they don’t bore-out any of the gold material to save money (as some other brands do). It shows (feels) as you hold either the Kalpa Chronor or Kalpagraphe Chronometre in your hand as the weight is impressive (solid gold baby!).
The world “oligarch” came up more than once during our meeting with Parmigiani while viewing these fine timepieces. There is a distinctly loud, albeit proud presence to these watches as they are formidable wrist statements unto themselves. That they are produced by a fine house known for their quality and distinctiveness is where the proud part of the equation comes in. It is one thing to be loud, it is another thing to be loud while still expressing a degree of good taste. Price for the Parmigiani Kalpagraphe Chronometre

Posted on

Frederique Constant Highlife Ladies

Following the launch of the first Frederique Constant Highlife models unveiled last September, Frederique Constant is adding a new collection especially for women, simply named “Highlife Ladies”. The latter features three designs – the Highlife Ladies Automatic Sparkling, Highlife Ladies Automatic Heart Beat and Highlife Ladies Automatic – combining over 30 years of watchmaking expertise and the desire to come up with an authentic creation for 21st century women. The timepieces in this collection also feature the Highlife’s hallmark strap, which is built into the case and can be changed at will – the secret to making watches truly timeless and ensuring they always strike the right note.
Frederique Constant introduced the very first Highlife watches. In 2020, the Maison revived the iconic design, reintroducing the collection with resolutely modern curves rooted in the 21st century. Owing to its popularity, the latter inspired the eponymous collection for women, unveiled this year for watchmaking enthusiasts, the sophisticated and fashion-forward modern women of today and tomorrow.

The first piece from this collection – the new Highlife Ladies Automatic Sparkling – is intended for modern women looking for uncompromising elegance and an accessory that can keep up with their everyday life without sacrificing charm, finesse or authenticity.

The Highlife Ladies Automatic is the perfect balance of classic,
sporty and modern. Depending on your individual preference,
it can also be customised by swapping the original bracelet
for the rubber strap supplied with the watch.

The latest Highlife Ladies Automatic Heart Beat models capture the legacy of the Manufacture and carry it toward new creative horizons. At 12 o’clock, the pieces proudly display the window on their mechanical heart, made famous by Frederique Constant. Known as the “Heart Beat”, it lets you see the beating heart of the watch, its mechanical movement. It also reveals some essential components of Swiss Made precision.
In addition, the Frederique Constant Highlife Ladies collection opens-up new prospects for the Geneva-based Maison, whose primary mission is to create sophisticated watches with high-quality finishes at an affordable price. Contemporary curves in keeping with the times, which nevertheless do not compromise on elegance, one of the fundamentals of Frederique Constant. Indeed, the latest Highlife creations are designed to accentuate and reveal the personality of the women who make them their best friend.

Posted on

Frederique Constant Slimline Moonphase Stars Manufacture

Frederique Constant has been known for creating elegant feminine watches, designed by women for women, and with the introduction of the new Slimline Moonphase Stars Manufacture, the Geneva-based brand does not disappoint. Inspired by women for women Designed by Mrs Aletta Stas, co-founder of Frederique Constant Slimline Moonphase Stars Manufacture, the Slimline Moonphase Manufacture Stars is an elegant fusion of femininity and artisanship resulting in a graceful Lady’s timepiece wrapped around your wrist! The combination of curves, mysteriousness, brilliant white diamonds illuminate a woman’s wrist defining true grace and style.

Feminine Savoir-Faire As per true Frederique Constant custom, the brand introduces a novelty that combines elegance and watchmaking technique to perfection, offering a timepiece with a moonphase complication, showcasing intricate finishing and a diamond-set bezel. Available in either a rose gold-plated steel or plain steel 38.8mm case with 60 diamonds (0.5 cts) set around the bezel, with a see-through back case revealing the new FC-701 automatic in-house movement decorated with Perlage and Côtes de Genève details.
The new in-house FC-701 movement, like all previous FC-7XX caliber series, has all its functions regulated via the crown only, an easy adjust setting which will delight their owners. The sunray night blue or the shiny dark black dial contrast with the sparkling silver or rose gold-colored printed stars. Did you ever wish to hold millions of stars on the palm of your hand? Well then holding the new Frederique Constant Slimline Moonphase Stars Manufacture and gazing into its dial, you will get lost in the luminous glitter of a thousand stars.
Even here in Australia – relatively under-populated and enormous as it is – you need to venture out to the country to get a proper look at the stars. There’s really no ignoring the stubborn corporate buildings and incessant traffic that means our cities and towns are constantly bathed in urban glow.

So how do we get our fix of the pure unadulterated night sky? Easy: regular camping trips out in the bush. And for those times of year when that’s not possible? Well, how about a spot of star gazing via the Frederique Constant Slimline Moonphase Stars Manufacture, which has just been unveiled at Baselworld.
We got a sneak peek ahead of the fair, and it really is lovely. The key feature is clearly the moon phase, which rotates elegantly just beneath the 12 o’clock position, appearing to scatter stars across the midnight dial as it does so.

At 38.8mm, it’s fairly large for a women’s timepiece, and with sixty diamonds sparkling around the bezel, it runs the risk – on paper at least – of being overwhelming. In actual fact, it’s nothing of the sort, and on the wrist, it looks daintier than its size would suggest. There’s even – and even just typing this feels absurd – something minimalist about it. Perhaps it’s thanks to the absence of any numerals, the hours marked instead by a mix of indices and (yes, more) diamonds.
Keeping the watch in place is the super-glossy navy alligator strap, which works beautifully with the theme, as does the intricate gold buckle representing the Frederique Constant logo.

Meanwhile, inside purrs the new automatic manufacture flyback calibre FC-701, which you can get a good look at through the transparent caseback. Given that an in-house movement with a moon phase complication very rarely comes at price point like this, we’re calling this a genuine star-spangled banger.
Eight diamonds encircle the dial, together with four indices, with finely honed hands moving through a shower of stars with silver or rose gold tones, and which make it easy to read the hours and minutes. The finest complication that needs to be highlighted for this timepiece is at 12 o’clock: the moonphase. The Slimline Moonphase Stars Manufacture contains the new in-house automatic movement FC-701, which is adorned with a pearl finish and a Côtes de Genève (“Geneva stripes”) pattern. Running at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations an hour, it has a power reserve of 42 hours. Thanks to the transparent case back, the movement can be seen at work.

The Slimline Moonphase Stars Manufacture comes in steel or gold-plated steel versions and has a 38.8-mm case – neither too big, not too small for a feminine wrist. Decorated with 60 diamonds on the bezel, with a total of 0.5 carats, the watch is available with a deep black dial and stars printed in rose gold or – for lovers of the night – a midnight blue dial with stars printed in silver. Frédérique Constant has brought a galactic journey within easy reach.

Posted on

Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute Infrared

For almost more than a year now, China has been in the line of fire with regards to the global spread of the Covid-19 virus. However, today we have some exciting horological news for our friends from the Far East.Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute Infrared has just released a stunning new variation of the Laureato Absolute called the Infrared exclusively for the Chinese market. Fully dressed in black, this new watch features a forged carbon dial with bright red accents.
The star of the show here is the dial. Made using forged carbon fiber, the dial exhibits a unique pattern and texture that makes this watch stand out from the crowd. Furthermore, the abstract nature of the pattern also means that no two watches would ever look alike. Also, to give the dial a more coherent look, the hands have been blacked out and the markers outlined in black. And while the dial does exhibit several shades of grey and black, Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute Infrared has broken the monochrome look by coating the hands and the applied hour markers with red-colored luminous paint.
The case looks familiar and maintains the bold and sporty design DNA of previously released members of the Absolute family. It measures 44mm in diameter and has a thickness of around 14.65mm, making for a watch that offers a nice wrist presence. Having said that, the case has been crafted from lightweight grade 5 Titanium, which should improve wrist comfort. The case continues to showcase signature Laureato design flourishes, such as the octagonal bezel on top and the angular integrated lugs. The entire case has been b given a black PVD coating that matches well with the dial and gives the watch a stealthy vibe. At the 3 o’clock position is a screw-down crown to ensure that the watch remains water-resistant to a healthy 300 meters.
For almost more than a year now, China has been in the line of fire with regards to the global spread of the Covid-19 virus. However, today we have some exciting horological news for our friends from the Far East. Girard-Perregaux has just released a stunning new variation of the Laureato Absolute called the Infrared exclusively for the Chinese market. Fully dressed in black, this new watch features a forged carbon dial with bright red accents. The star of the show here is the dial. Made using forged carbon fiber, the dial exhibits a unique pattern and texture that makes this watch stand out from the crowd. Furthermore, the abstract nature of the pattern also means that no two watches would ever look alike. Also, to give the dial a more coherent look, the hands have been blacked out and the markers outlined in black. And while the dial does exhibit several shades of grey and black, Girard-Perregaux has broken the monochrome look by coating the hands and the applied hour markers with red-colored luminous paint.
The case looks familiar and maintains the bold and sporty design DNA of previously released members of the Absolute family. It measures 44mm in diameter and has a thickness of around 14.65mm, making for a watch that offers a nice wrist presence. Having said that, the case has been crafted from lightweight grade 5 Titanium, which should improve wrist comfort. The case continues to showcase signature Laureato design flourishes, such as the octagonal bezel on top and the angular integrated lugs. The entire case has been b given a black PVD coating that matches well with the dial and gives the watch a stealthy vibe. At the 3 o’clock position is a screw-down crown to ensure that the watch remains water-resistant to a healthy 300 meters.
The Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute Infrared is presented in a 44 mm x 14.65 mm octagonal-shaped grade 5 titanium case that’s been treated with a black PVD coating.

Set against a forged carbon fiber dial, the face of the watch has an uncluttered aesthetic with applied PVD treated baton-shaped indices — filled with red-colored luminous material — mounted at an angle and connected to both the dial and the flange. The flange is gray with a black printed minute/second track. Thick baton-shaped hour and minute hands, with red luminous tips, complete the “infrared” look.

Posted on

Frederique Constant Slimline Moonphase Manufacture

For years, Frederique Constant have been quietly making elegant, understated watches at good values. Here, then, is the new Frederique Constant Slimline Moonphase Manufacture watch, which joins the in-house caliber portfolio near the top of the range. Frederique Constant isn’t holding back in showing how they value in-house-made movements with high-end finishing, and it doesn’t hurt that this one comes in an attractive package.
The FC-705 is a movement developed completely in-house, made in-house, and assembled in-house. The case back is an exhibition type, so that you can see and enjoy the perlage and Côtes de Genève stripes. Unfortunately, we don’t have a case back shot to share right now, but when we get one we will make sure to do that. That being said, this is a solid, elegant watch with an in-house movement that comes in at just under $4,000.
The FC-705 is a 26-jewel movement that runs at 28,800 vph. It displays hours, minutes, the date, and moonphase, and all complications are adjustable by the crown, without the need of a separate pusher. The power reserve is 42 hours, which is about the norm for a 4Hz watch movement. It’s a 6.2mm-thin movement, something it shares with the FC-7 family of movements – except the Worldtimer, which is thicker, and the FC-755 used in the Moonphase Perpetual Calendar watch, Frederique Constant’s only other moonphase complication, is thicker at 7mm as well.
The dial of the Frederique Constant Slimline Moonphase Manufacture is an ivory sunray-colored affair, with silver applied indices. The moonphase is ringed with a date counter, and painted in a rich cobalt blue, placed at the six o’clock position. The minute hand reaches to the edge of the dial, making for a lovely thin watch to wear and look at, all housed in a 42mm stainless steel case you won’t have trouble fitting under the cuffs of your shirtsleeves.
As noted, Frederique Constant has made moonphase watches before, as in their Slimline Perpetual Calendar Manufacture (hands-on here). While the perpetual calendar is a big achievement in the hierarchy of what we can call “prestige complications,” another of the challenges the best watchmakers attempt is striving for the ultimate in thinness. While FC has made slimlines, moonphases, and perpetual calendars, it’s the skill required to make the Frederique Constant Slimline Moonphase Manufacture, and the resulting classic colors and design that together get our attention. The Frederique Constant Slimline Moonphase Manufacture FC-705BG6S6
This isn’t going to be a typical review, because this is a watch I made myself. Given that little fact, and some added personalization, I have special feelings toward this Frederique Constant Slimline Moonphase watch. So, what I will do in this review is discuss the timepiece itself and then some of the qualities that make it different from what you can buy. That more or less means you aren’t going to be able to make one yourself, unless you are really, really lucky.

In the late Spring of 2013, I traveled with an audience member to Frederique Constant in Geneva in order to build a watch. This was the result of a giveaway we did in December of 2012, which promised that one lucky person would travel with me to Geneva to learn how to build a watch and take the result home with them. In fact, the winner Andrew even wrote an article here on his experience. So, with that in mind, let’s talk about the Manufacture Slimline Moonphase watch that I happen to know rather well inside and out.
The Frederique Constant Manufacture Slimline Moonphase combines a lot of great elements in one timepiece. First, it is elegant and dressy. Second, it is modern in its size. Third, it is relatively slim for an automatic watch. Fourth, it contains an in-house made automatic movement. And fifth, relatively speaking, it is quite affordably priced. Together, that makes for rather nice argument when posing a Manufacture Slimline watch (Moonphase version or otherwise) against the competition.

At 42mm wide, it can be said that the Slimline Moonphase wears large (which is a good thing in my opinion) due to the rather slim bezel. However, the more conservatively spaced lugs allow it to wear in traditional manner. So, all in all, it balances out to a solidly “42mm wide” looking case. I wouldn’t call Slimline Moonphase “ultra slim” because it is not. The case is 11.3mm thick, but it happens to wear very low on the wrist. Part of this is due to the bowl-like design of the case where it is thicker in the middle but slimmer toward the edges.
Design-wise, the slightly unique case is matched to an elegant dial, no doubt inspired by some of last century’s most iconic dress watches. While the dial feels familiar, it is also very approachable and familiar looking. A lot of that has to do with the thin needle-style hands and applied baton hour markers. They are legible, but create a great sense of open space on the dial due to their slim sizes. Breaking up the simplicity of the face is a date indicator subdial that includes a moonphase indicator. If there is anything else I could ask for on the dial, it would be a day of the week and month indicator via small windows under the Frederique Constant logo to make this a lovely triple date moonphase dial.
Inside the watch is Frederique Constant’s in-house made and designed caliber FC-705 automatic movement. The movement is essentially the Frederique Constant caliber FC-710 (inside the Classics Manufacture watch reviewed here) with a moonphase and without the central seconds hand. The movement operates at 4Hz (28,800 bph) with 42 hours of power reserve. In fact, this family of movements is perhaps the least expensive Swiss Made calibers produced within the area of Geneva.
You can see the movement through the rear of the case via the sapphire crystal exhibition caseback. The case is only water resistant to 30 meters, and I’d like to see that be at least 50 meters personally. With the skeletonized rotor and mostly-symmetrical bridge design, it is a very attractive movement. Note that my watch is a bit different because the central bridge has a different finish and has my initials engraved in it. What we did was have a master engraver in central Geneva take away time from doing a hand-engraved dial for one of the “top brands” and spend a few moments engraving our initials in a cursive font on the brass bridges. They were then rhodium-plated like the rest of the movement.

To be honest, it took a lot of skill to put the movement together properly. We had the best of help from Frederique Constant’s head watchmaker, Pim Koeslag, but managed to do silly things like lose tiny parts as they jettisoned away from our tweezers or got magnetized by accident. When you are mostly done it is time to regulate the movements. That means you first have to test to see how accurate they are (the rate results), and then you have to try and adjust them. In the end, my Manufacture Slimline Moonphase watch ended up being within chronometric performance–so I was rather happy.
When I produced this particular version of the Slimline Moonphase watch in 2013, it was not available in most of the world. There was a blue and steel model, and a rose gold-plated model and white dial, but none quite like this, save for a small limited edition set for Russia. As of 2014, Frederique Constant decided to produce this rose-gold plated and blue dialed version of the Manufacture Slimline Moonphase watch an exclusive, limited production piece for the Americas.This version will come on a blue alligator strap with blue instead off-white stitching, and no more than 400 pieces will be produced, only available through authorized retailers in North and South America. So this particular piece was made before that decision was made. Though knowing somewhat in advance that these would be available, I wanted to hold off on writing the review until people could get one.

Rose gold-plated not enough for you? Frederique Constant even offers a full 18k rose gold version of the Slimline Moonphase. Overall, this a modern-sized dress watch with some attractive details and desirable set of complications–especially for the money. The versatility of the design makes it suitable for a range of occasions, and it is also the type of watch that does not go out of style, but rather remains timeless when it is needed. Perhaps it isn’t something for daily wear given its more formal appearance, but it is the type of watch I am proud to have in my collection. More so, I am proud to someday pass this watch on to someone else (ideally an heir) who I can share the story of it with, given that my own hands went into its construction. Prices for the Frederique Constant Manufacture Slimline Moonphase watch

Posted on

Frederique Constant Slimline Power Reserve Manufacture

Angus Davies spent a few enjoyable days wearing the Frederique Constant Slimline Power Reserve Manufacture. In this feature he shares his thoughts about this competitively priced timepiece, imbued with classical styling and a Manufacture movement.
In 1998, the husband and wife duo, Aletta and Peter Stas, founded the watchmaking firm, Frederique Constant. The couple shared the same desire, namely to make classically styled, luxury watches that were comparatively affordable.

Initially, the Genevan company sourced Swiss movements from third parties such as ETA, however, just six years after being established, Frederique Constant unveiled its first Manufacture movement.

From the outset the brand’s approach was to employ modern technologies, such as Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) machines and silicium components, etc. The brand’s willingness to employ the latest know-how allowed it to fulfil the original aim of making affordable watches with a high quotient of quality. Indeed, while the company’s models were never going to rival the finest examples of haute horlogerie, they did proffer an impressive blend of value and virtue.

At Baselworld 2019, the Swiss Maison unveiled the Frederique Constant Slimline Power Reserve Manufacture, a slender timepiece endowed with the company’s 28th in-house calibre. Having viewed several versions of the model, all of which are blessed with prepossessing looks, I fell under the spell of the model sporting a silver dial and golden case.

After an exchange of emails, a press loan arrived and a few days of ‘hands-on’ appraisal soon ensued.
The Frederique Constant Slimline Power Reserve Manufacture is offered in a choice of dark grey, navy blue and silver dials, each housed in a polished 40mm stainless steel case. For a modest premium, the Genevan company also offers the silver dial with a rose-gold plated stainless steel case. This latter variant is exquisite.
The silver dial is pure and elegant. Moreover, it possesses a neutral quality, providing a perfect foil for the various dial indications presented. The black feuille-type hour and minute hands possess a classical appearance and Roman numerals also emphasise the model’s traditional character.

At the base of the dial, a lone hand points to the prevailing date. The indication eschews snailing and sits on the same plane as the rest of the dial. I have no doubt this simplicity probably mitigates manufacturing costs, however, in my opinion, it augments the pure, uncluttered appearance of the dial.

A power-reserve indicator is positioned between 9 and 11 o’clock and follows a curving trajectory. A black, slender hand sweeps from ’50’, indicating the mainspring is fully tensioned, to a series of graduated red dots, denoting the barrel is virtually devoid of energy. It proves eminently simple to read. Personally, I like the asymmetric positioning of the display as it provides a playful, yet tasteful alternative to symmetrical styling.
The rose-gold plated stainless steel case measures 40mm in diameter. While the nomenclature incorporates the word, ‘slimline’, the brand does not seem to specify the height of the case anywhere. The watch certainly sits unobtrusively on the arm and it readily resides beneath the cuff of a shirt. Moreover, the Frederique Constant Slimline Power Reserve Manufacture evinces a notable degree of grace, a quality that is partly attributable to its paunch-free profile. The bezel is also comparatively slender, affording greater space for the dial epidermis. Furthermore, the lugs gently taper downwards, exhibiting a relaxed arcing outline. Frederique Constant has repeatedly and skilfully played with proportions and angles to pleasing effect. The caseband tapers inwards as it approaches the caseback, creating sloping sides. This detail is not only attractive but also allows the wearer to readily flex their wrist without any restriction. Likewise, the prominent onion-shaped crown does not chafe the wrist or inhibit free movement of the hand. Its well-defined grip proves highly practical when winding the watch or adjusting the time.
The FC-723 Manufacture automatic caliber is visible via an exhibition caseback. The movement is comprised of the Maison’s existing FC-703 base coupled with a module for the power-reserve indication. The balance has a frequency of 28,800 VpH (4Hz) and the rate is altered with a curb adjuster, increasing / decreasing the effective length of the hairspring. The movement incorporates 28 jewels and, as stated earlier, the power reserve is 50 hours.

One aspect of the watch I particularly like is that the pointer date display is adjusted solely with the crown, obviating the need to use stylus-type correctors.

While the Frederique Constant Slimline Power Reserve Manufacture is accessibly priced, the brand has still enriched the movement with some attractive touches. The mainplate is adorned with perlage and the scale of the overlapping circles is smaller beneath the balance as horological etiquette dictates.

A large bridge sits beneath the openworked oscillating weight. It is adorned with circular Côtes de Genève motif and gold engraved text. Blued screws abound.
The design of the Frederique Constant Slimline Power Reserve Manufacture is wonderfully refined. The asymmetric positioning of the power reserve indicator might be slightly idiosyncratic, but imbues the watch with a charming, individual appearance. Furthermore, while this watch does not follow the well-trodden path taken by other brands, the feuille-type hands and Roman numerals should confer lasting aesthetic appeal.

Beyond its notable beauty, the dial is highly legible with each indication proving simple to read. Interestingly, the appearance of each model is the result of Aletta Stas’s design prowess. She skilfully wields a pencil, understanding the importance of proportions and obsessing over the minutiae.

Frederique Constant only charge a £200 premium for a rose gold-plated case. While some may bemoan plated cases, preferring a housing made solely of noble metal, the Genevan brand understand that this would push many of its watches beyond the reach of its target audience. Certainly, the plating confers a rich appearance and looks superior to some gold PVD options I have seen elsewhere. Beyond the obvious cost saving, the case is much lighter than a solid gold equivalent. While some may view this as a disadvantage, some wearers may appreciate the reduced mass.

The movement is beautifully appointed, especially considering the watch is offered for the modest sum of £3,195 (RRP as at 2.8.2019). Indeed, I cannot think of another automatic watch equipped with a power-reserve indicator, pointer date and enriched with this impressive level of finishing. Quite simply, this watch represents incredible value for money.

At this point, I am sure some readers will wrongly assume that every aspect of this watch is perfect, well, not quite. The watch is supplied on a dark brown alligator leather strap, paired with a folding clasp. Again, it is impressive that the watch at this price point comes with a folding clasp and not the ubiquitous pin buckle. However, in my opinion, the strap itself is disappointing as it feels inferior to the rest of the watch. Nevertheless, this is a minor gripe and does little to diminish my genuine affection for this watch.
Today, Frederique Constant is a subsidiary of Citizen Watch. However, despite the change of ownership a few years ago, Aletta Stas and, her husband, Peter, continue to play an active role in the business they started. More pertinently, the couple’s wish to create luxury watches for a broader audience continues unabated for the benefit of watch lovers around the globe.

Posted on

Frederique Constant Slimline Perpetual Calendar Manufacture

Relentless in their pursuit of making classic designs with movements and complications that would typically be reserved for a much higher price bracket, and making it just a bit more attainable, Frédérique Constant have unveiled their take on a thin in-house perpetual calendar movement with the Frédérique Constant Slimline Perpetual Calendar Manufacture watch, and the result is sure to please with prices just around 8,000 CHF.

First things first, for a perpetual calendar watch to be priced in the mid four figures and topping out at just around the five-figure mark for a gold, albeit gold-plated, version is quite a feat. Add on top of that the presence of an in-house movement, and you’ve got a combination for success. To put the Frédérique Constant Slimline Perpetual Calendar Manufacture watch in context, pieces like the Montblanc Meisterstuck Heritage Perpetual Calendar watch asking €10,000 in steel are almost unheard of. Moving on from the value proposition, I’ve got some thoughts on the aesthetics of the piece.
I find myself preferring the looks of the more modern variants of the Frédérique Constant Slimline Perpetual Calendar Manufacture. To be sure, the perpetual calendar, especially as executed here with the triple subdial layout plus a moonphase indicator, is very much an old-school look. This means it can get to looking (and feeling) a bit tired. With the smooth dial and stick indices, Frédérique Constant manages to unclutter the look and bring it closer to the modern era. Adding in what I feel to be their signature handset brings the complete package to a ready-for-anything sort of look, while the Breguet hand-equipped watch feels like it is more for the occasions when you have a suit or tux on. That isn’t to say the cleaner look couldn’t fit with a suit, as it most certainly could.
The new movement inside the Frédérique Constant Slimline Perpetual Calendar Manufacture is known as the FC-775 calibre, produced and assembled by Frédérique Constant. In order to keep the overall watch slim, the movement itself only measures in at 6.7mm thick, while still giving a place for the perpetual calendar complication to call home. Other specs of note for the automatic movement would be the 38-hour power reserve and a running frequency of 4Hz (28,800 vph).
For the ultimate flexibility with the Frédérique Constant Slimline Perpetual Calendar Manufacture, I should think that the steel case is the route to go, as the rose gold (along with this style of watch, regardless of dial and hands) can feel much more formal. As to the white or blue dial, I suppose, that is up to you. Now, serious horology nerds are going to likely freak out over this watch, and for good cause. As previously mentioned, pricing will be somewhere around 8,000 CHF for the steel version and likely not considerably more for the pink gold-plated version.

Posted on

Frederique Constant Flyback Chronograph Manufacture

An in-house flyback chronograph for less than $4,000 is nothing to scoff at. One of these is now available from Frederique Constant Flyback Chronograph Manufacture, which introduced a typically classical interpretation just last week. We shared the basics as soon as the watch was launched, and now a few days later we’re back with live images – including one of the new movement – and some more information. But our overall opinion hasn’t changed – this really is a great watch for the money.
First up, let’s take a look at the back of the watch, which offers a view of new FC-760 caliber. This is a movement which took six years to get right, so it deserves a little attention from us (and from you). It’s a flyback, meaning you can reset the chronograph hand without stopping it first, useful for timing laps, for example, or any two events that follow each other instantly. Developing a chronograph is never easy, and it’s something to be applauded for sure, but it’s worth noting despite the dial’s looks (more on that later) this is a two-register chronograph that only times up to 30 minutes.
It’s an automatic chronograph, originally developed by Frederique Constant’s prodigious technical director, Pim Koeslag, and entrusted to Alpina (a sister brand) before making its full debut in an actual FC collection, still with the same modular construction and surprisingly short components list. But this time it is cosmetically enhanced, which is a good thing since it is fully exposed, gold rotor and all, through a sapphire caseback.
The case measures 42mm and features rectangular chronograph pushers, giving it just a touch of vintage charm. The watch will be offered in stainless steel with or without rose gold plating. Several dial options are also available when it comes to color, finish, and dial features. The most classic of the bunch is a silver hobnail dial with thin traditional Roman numerals, blued pomme hands, and a hobnail minute track on the outside.
Just as elegant, but perhaps a little more contemporary in terms of style, are the dark grey and silvered dials with baton indexes and a tachymeter scale on the outside (note: the watches shown here are still prototypes and the tachymeter scale is wrongly labeled a pulsometer on the dial here – look at the graduations though and you’ll see it’s a tachy scale). The combination comes off surprisingly well, and these seem to the most popular of the three. My personal pick is the dark grey version, which offers the most interesting contrast with the rose gold case and feels like the most versatile. But each one stands on its own merits.
On the dial, what looks like a standard three-register chronograph layout isn’t. There’s no need for an hour totalizer, which would usually occupy one of the registers, since this is only a 30-minute chronograph, remember. In addition to that hours totalizer, the remaining two registers display the running seconds at nine o’clock and the date at six o’clock. On top of that, these registers are quite large compared to classic chronograph displays, which increases their legibility, particularly when we’re talking about the date.

In stainless steel, the Flyback Chronograph Manufacture will set you back $3,995, while the rose gold plated version will retail for $4,295. It’s worth noting the Alpiner 4 Flyback Chronograph, from Alpina, started at $4,895 on a leather strap, utilizing the same movement.

Posted on

Frederique Constant Classic Moonphase Manufacture

When Frederique Constant released the Frederique Constant Classic Moonphase Manufacture a few months ago, it seemed to turn a lot of heads. Staying true to the brand’s philosophy of creating accessible luxury timepieces, the watch boasted a new in-house caliber (more of a variation, to be picky) and a decidedly Patek-y look for a relatively low price point. Coming in just below $4k, the watch offered a lot of value for an in-house movement, and an aesthetic that often costs an arm and a leg to obtain. It also showed off an eye-catching flip-open case back, which gave it some unexpected panache.
The last time we reviewed an FC it was the spiritual cousin of this watch, the Slimline Moonphase, which used a similar movement, and achieved high points for style and finish. While the watch was a winner, one of the complaints a lot of people had about it was the 42mm diameter. While I found it still wore very well, the notion of a 42mm dress/formal watch with a very large dial is understandably a bit concerning. The Classic Moonphase comes in at a more palatable 40.5mm, but wears even smaller due to various design details. As such, it might just be the option for those turned off by the former’s size. Apart from that, the design itself offers a very attractive option in the under $5k market, so let’s take a closer look.
Coming in at 40.5 x 47 x 12.77mm (to top of sapphire), the Classic Moonphase is a robust dress/formal watch that wears a bit smaller than expected. The design, as the name indicates, is classic in styling with thick, near straight lugs coming out of a rounded case. The mid-case, bezel, sapphire and case back all elegantly curve, creating very attractive fluid surfaces that belie the 40mm diameter. It is, but once again, the smoothness of the sides makes it look and feel less so. More over, part of the thickness is thanks to the hunter case-back, a detail I particularly love.
he case is polished all around, which might actually make it look a bit smaller too (gloss and black tend to do that). While fitting of the style, some brushing would have been nice, particularly on the tops of the lugs. That said, the watch looks good enough as is.

The crown is onion-style, measuring about 6 x 4mm. It fits the classic style of the watch, and I was glad to see it was relatively small. Onion crowns can get a bit ornate for my taste, and also a bit uncomfortable, when they are large. My one gripe is that it’s a bit hard to pull out, so you need to dig a finger nail under it to make pop out of home position. Hand winding, conversely, is easy.
Flipping the watch over, you are met with a fairly plain piece of steel with a couple of etched markings. Upon closer inspection, you’ll notice that there is a hinge on one side, and a small flange on the other. Popping it open with your finger nail reveals a wide display window showing off the absolutely gorgeous movement within, as well as the perlage finishing on the inside of the cover.

The “hunter-style” back is a reference to old pocket watches, giving the watch a decidedly early 20th century feel. While a gimmick, I love it. Sure, it does protect the display window, which is nice, but clearly not a huge issue. What it does in practice that I like is really showcase the movement, which is likely a large reason one is interested in this watch. FC’s in-house caliber’s are beautifully designed and finished… a real selling point of the watch and brand. When the watch is off your wrist, you’ll be hard pressed not to open it up to admire the movement. And, if you’re the showing off type, when your non-watch friends take a look, their minds might just be blown.
Sticking with the theme, the dial of the Classic Moonphase has a tried and true design, closely resembling that of a 50’s Patek, as noted by WatchesbySJX. This is both the good and bad about the watch… it’s a great look and a design that is as handsome here on the FC as the Patek. Me, you and likely everyone we know (unless you are friends with Charlie Sheen) are not going to be getting their hands on the Patek, lest they have a few hundred grand to spare. Moreover, you’ll enjoy seeing this on your wrist, and it’s still in the end a sort-of “generic” look for the time period. Also, it might very well be the only reasons one is interested in this watch in the first place… But, a lack of originality is always unfortunate, and a bit of an issue with the brand in general.
Moving on, the dial consists of an elegant light silver sunburst surface which immediately gives the dial some depth and texture. The primary index consists of applied steel markers with a beautiful faceted shape. They glint in the light, and add some nice contrast to the fluid lines of the case. Around the outer edge of the dial is a minute/seconds index of lines and numerals, encircled by a thin black line. I quite like how this index adds something a bit sportier/more technical to the dial, keeping it from feeling too dressy. The index has numerals every 5 minutes/seconds as well as sub-seconds marks. Certainly a watch this style could have forgone this index for just the applied markers, but it works very well.

At 6 is the star of the show; the combined small-date index and moonphase. This area is actually virtually identical as to what was found on the Slimline Moonphase. As I liked it there, I like it here too. The center of the dial is indented a drop, then cutout to create the classic moonphase aperture. Around the window are numerals for the date in black. The moon disk is a dark metallic blue with brassy cutouts for the moon and stars. The occasional shock of blue light that reflects off of it adds to subtle, but luxurious feel of the watch.
Keeping with the Patek-esque origins, the hour and minute hands are broad dauphine style, with a slight bend for dimensionality. They are well proportioned and look good against the silver surface. The seconds hand is then a thin polished stick with a counterweight. The small hand that points to the date is actually more of a leaf shape, and is the same that was found on the Slimline, where the hour and minutes are also leafs. While I don’t think it looks bad, another dauphine hand might have matched better…also, knowing it’s on both makes me feel like they chose an existing hand to save cost.
Powering the Classic Moonphase is the “new” FC-715 caliber. The difference between the 715 and 705 found in the Slimline is the central seconds. So, variation on a caliber, new caliber…you choose. Either way, it’s a gorgeous movement, as previously noted, and an uncommon value for an in-house movement. The FC-715 is a 26-jewel automatic with manual wind, hacking seconds, small pointer date, moonphase and a frequency of 28,800 bph. One of the great features of these movements is that the moonphase is set via the crown. In first position, one direction changes the date, the other progresses the moonphase disk. While it’s likely not going to be set to exacting astronomical standards, eyeballing the moon via the Watchville app’s handy clock is easy enough to do.
Features aside, looking at these movements is a genuine pleasure. The design of the movement is simple and elegant, with a large, central balance with bridge and a central winding plate. While the gear train is mostly hidden, the large surfaces of circular Cote de Geneve and perlage that are studded with blue screws give you more than enough to enjoy. The skeletonized gold-tone rotor finishes the movement nicely. Trust me, if you have one of their watches in your possession, you’ll spend a lot of time looking at the movement. It’s honestly one of my favorite looking movements, certainly in the price range we discuss.
The Classic Moonphase comes on a black Gator strap with matching black stitch for a fairly sleek and conservative look. The strap is nicely made, tapering a couple of millimeters towards the fairly generic buckle. I think I might have liked an off-white contrast stitch more than just black as this is just a bit too formal for my tastes. That said, I’m glad the watch comes with genuine Gator.

The watch wears very well. The second I strapped it on, it just clicked right into place. Yes, it a bit bulkier than you might expect, but it works. The movement inside is large, so the diameter is limited by that, and the added cover adds some millimeters in height, but the stout design looks and feels good. And, as I said in the case section, it does look and feel smaller than the numbers suggest. As a slightly larger dress watch, it has a nice masculine heft, and is a great watch for everyday formality, like a dressier office job, than just a watch to break out for special occasions. Certainly, if you have a larger wrist, say 8″ and up, this might seem plenty small on your wrist regardless.
Aesthetically, it’s hard to complain about a watch with such clean, classic looks. As someone who veers more towards sport and military watches, this type of design isn’t what I typically gravitate towards, but once on my wrist, I get it and I like it. It’s simply a sophisticated look. One that has gravitas and modesty. The moonphase then adds some complexity to the design, rounding it out to be a great looking piece. If I wore suits on the regular, I’d definitely want a watch like this in my collection. As a jeans and boots type of guy, it’s a bit less of a fit, but I’d still wear it an awful lot.
The Frederique Constant Classic Moonphase Manufacture is a gorgeous watch with a gorgeous movement that people with Patek tastes, but not wallets, will definitely find interesting. It’s a damn handsome watch, in steel or rose gold, that has two great features in the in-house moon phase movement and the hunter caseback. Essentially both aren’t needed elements, but both do add to the look and feel of the watch. While I still wish that Frederique Constant would develop a more unique design vocabulary, as their movements deserve to be showcased by original designs, the Classic is so enjoyable to wear and look at, that you kind of don’t care when it’s on. Sure, purists might have a gripe, but for those of us who aren’t aspiring to own six-figure timepieces, and just want to wear something nice, this will fit the bill.
With that said at $3,995 MSRP, the Frederique Constant Classic Moonphase Manufacture is far from inexpensive. While the price you actually pay would likely be lower than that through an AD, it’s still a watch you’re going to really want to love to buy. If you’re looking for something this style, want an in-house movement and like moon phases, their really isn’t any competition. And for an in-house automatic moonphase, the price is still very good compared to the competition.

Posted on

Frederique Constant Classic Worldtimer Manufacture

An iconic model from Frederique Constant’s Manufacture, the Classic Worldtimer Manufacture has been given an 18-carat rose gold case for the first time, produced in a limited edition of 88 pieces only. For the occasion, this collector’s timepiece features an exclusive, modern dial for the frequent traveller. Success is no accident. Achievements made in watchmaking come down to a combination of elements that Frederique Constant has been fine tuning for over 30 years. Element number one: a useful complication. In this regard, the ability to permanently display world time is an undeniable asset for those who travel internationally. Element number two: ease of use. For an everyday watch, everything has been designed so that the latter and its complication can be adjusted quickly and intuitively, without risk of error. Element number three: the movement. The part most prized by collectors gains considerable value when stamped “Manufacture”. Frederique Constant, a fully integrated manufacture, has already brought out 29 calibres, all of them developed, produced, assembled and inspected within its workshops. Finally, element number four: design. The simple, classic and timeless design of a timepiece allows it to stand the test of trends and time. Frederique Constant has been synonymous with Swiss Made elegance from the very beginning. A Classic that lives up to its name The new Classic Worldtimer Manufacture illustrates this delicate balance. It was added to the Maison’s collections some 10 years ago. The balance struck between the technical, aesthetic and practical immediately impressed watch enthusiasts from all over the world. In a few short years, the Classic Worldtimer Manufacture has established itself as one of the most important timepieces by Frederique Constant. A landmark limited edition The version unveiled today is aimed at discerning collectors. Beyond the balance it embodies, the new Classic Worldtimer Manufacture stands out for its 18-carat rose gold case, with no more than 88 limited edition timepieces on offer. Such preciousness is rare at Frederique Constant. Incidentally, this is the first time in the history of the Manufacture that such a case has been offered for this timepiece. A sophisticated look For this latest version, Frederique Constant has opted for an intense blue dial reminiscent of the ocean and in keeping with the distinguished rose gold case. The continents emerge from the dial in relief, their anthracite grey outlines carved with the greatest precision. The date counter at 6 o’clock is decorated with a sunray guilloché pattern, a traditional finish in Fine Watchmaking. Hovering over it are four hands coordinating with the rose gold; the hour and minute hands and index hour markers are tinged with luminescent material to make them easier to read in low light. Around this miniature world map unfolds the Worldtimer flange, indicating the 24 world time zones and their 24 principal cities. To ensure the dial can be easily read, the 12 daytime hours appear in red, while the 12 night-time hours appear in grey. Carefully preserved DNA The ease of setting and using Frederique Constant timepieces is intrinsic to the Brand. All the features of the Classic Worldtimer Manufacture can be adjusted using the crown, (hours, minutes, date, Worldtimer) eliminating the need for push buttons that could detract from its sleek 42 mm case. As for all Frederique Constant Manufacture collection timepieces, the FC-718 movement in the new Classic Worldtimer Manufacture has been decorated with fine perlage decoration visible through a sapphire crystal caseback that is guaranteed water-resistant to 3 ATM. The informed observer will admire the blued screws in the movement and the rose gold-plated hollowed-out oscillating weight adorned with vertical satin-finishing and “Frederique Constant Manufacture” engraving.
Frederique Constant introduces a new Classic Worldtimer Manufacture variation in a dark grey dial. The Worldtimer timepiece is a must-have for many watch aficionados allowing them to keep track of time everywhere in the world at once. After the first Frederique Constant Worldtimer launch in 2012, the watch stood proudly as one of the brand’s best-selling Manufacture watches. Since then, the Worldtimer has come in a range of 11 models featuring a wide color palette.
In 2019, yet another color variation of this elegant and sophisticated traveling watch is unveiled: a dark grey design of the world map finely etched onto to the dial and the twenty-four cities on its outer rim make one wish for globe-trotting. The date by hand at 6 o’clock makes the perfect addition to the Worldtimer function and further enhances the aesthetic of the watch. The indexes on each hour add to the dial’s readability, offering additional comfort when glancing at the time.
Frederique Constant Classic Worldtimer Manufacture
The new Frederique Constant Classic Worldtimer Manufacture comes in two models featuring a 42mm case in rose-gold-plated stainless steel or in stainless steel both limited to 718 pieces each. The FC-718 caliber is an extraordinary piece of machinery; not only is it in-house designed, developed and produced, but its Worldtimer functions as well as the date are all adjustable via the crown, with no additional push-buttons. To easily set the watch, one must choose between three settings; the first lets the user wind the watch by turning the crown upwards; the second allows to set the date and city by turning the crown upwards and downwards respectively; and the third position enables the user to set the time by turning the crown downwards. The timepiece displays two separate discs, one featuring a 24h day-night indicator and a second one with the twenty-four cities. As a Manufacture movement, the FC-718 caliber is decorated with Perlage and circular Côtes de Genève and holds a 42-hour power reserve. The dark grey timepiece is complete with a dark grey alligator leather strap with white stitches.