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Frederique Constant Classics Automatic

Available online for around $550 – $650, the Slimline Classics is an affordable entry into the Swiss watch market. Frederique Constant is a fairly popular brand, though you don’t see them in as many brick and mortar retail locations as you do Bulova, Citizen, Hamilton, and Tissot.

The Slimline Classics is the first Frederique Constant I’ve reviewed on WYCA, and when I received it I was quite excited to get some wrist time. At this price point, Frederique Constant competes directly against brands I’ve gotten plenty of hands-on experience with (Hamilton, Tissot, and Seiko) and I was curious to see how it compared.

The model I have here is among the lease complicated in the collection, featuring a guilloche dial and a date display at 6 o’clock. Other models in the range feature small seconds, moonphase complications, and an assortment of styles. Regular readers know that my style is conservative, and the one I have here is my preferred version.
As far as notable Swiss watchmakers go, Frederique Constant Classics Automatic is relatively young. Founded in 1988, the roots of the company reach as far back as 1904 (you can learn more about their heritage here). They are based in Plan-les-Ouates, Geneva and have successfully competed toe to toe with many other entry-level luxury watch manufacturers since the launch of their first collection in 1992.

In 2002, the company acquired Alpina watches – another brand I’ve been itching to get some face time with – and have been heavily invested in the entry-level luxury watch market. Accessible luxury is a pillar of their brand identity, as is in-house manufacturing and handmade quality.
With a name like “Slimline”, you’d expect it to be a thin watch. At just 7.7mm tall, it is indeed quite discreet; inside, the FC-306 automatic movement is only 3.6mm tall!

The guilloche dial is gorgeous and easy to see in nearly any setting (there’s no lume). Frederique Constantly deftly combines four different textures, giving the cream-white dial depth and drawing your eye to the outer ring and hands. Only the logo at 12 o’clock and the date window at 6 o’clock have smooth surfaces; everything else is ridged or grooved.

I love its size. 39mm is perfect for most men – it certainly is for me. It doesn’t feel dainty and it never gets in the way.
The FC-306 automatic is essentially a Sellita SW300 automatic with some modification. It is a 25 jewel movement with a 42 hour power reserve and a date complication. Compared to the SW300, the FC-306 has removed the seconds hand. It beats at 28,800 bph and has a claimed accuracy of -5/+10 seconds per day.

The Selilita SW300 primarily competes with the ETA 2892 and is used by many Swiss brands in place of the ETA due to its availability and lower price. Sellita has earned a good reputation and is used by many brands – Swiss and otherwise – to power watches that compete in the entry-level luxury segment.

The finishing on the movement is really excellent- not only attractive, but clean and precise. Check it out under high resolution- it’s nearly perfect.
Lightweight and compact, the Slimline tucks under a cuff with ease. I love its classic design, which while traditional, has been executed to an exacting standard. The quality of the dial, hands, and case is excellent- on-par with other Swiss brands of comparable price.

Years ago I reviewed the Tissot Le Locle, which I found to be tastefully styled and price appropriate. Like the Le Locle, the Slimline Classics is understated but undeniably attractive. It’s elegant, and found for under $700 online, it’s also an excellent value.

I’m glad that I had the opportunity to experience this watch- I hope to get my hands on the moonphase version soon.
The folks at Frederique Constant Classics Automatic sent us this beautiful Frederique Constant for review. They also have an affiliate program that we participate in, where we receive a portion of the revenue of each watch that one of our readers purchases.

We only recommend watches that we would personally wear, and as you can see, we get hands-on experience with each one. We purchase most of the watches we review and recommend, as well as all camera equipment (over $3,500 so far), software licenses, and so on.

We are thrilled to work with Frederique Constant Classics Automatic, who are excellent partners that offer a great selection of watches at great prices (and 2 year warranties). They loaned us this Frederique Constant for two weeks, allowing us to review and shoot it.

If you are interested in the Slimline and want to purchase, we’d love it if you did so at Watch Store. Thank you for supporting us!