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Beaubleu’s Seconde Française Watch is an Homage to Life in France

Beaubleu Seconde Francaise 19.24

There has always been a romantic quality to the French lifestyle, a lifestyle that appears to operate at a different pace to the rest of the world. It’s a black and white tableau of a cigarette on the corner of a cobbled street while leaning against an Art Deco lamppost sort of pace. Taking a second or two to yourself and appreciating the moment. It’s this ‘French second’ that the latest wristwatch from Beaubleu is dedicated to, appropriately called the Seconde Française.

Beaubleu Seconde Francaise 19.24
Beaubleu Seconde Francaise 19.24

There are two versions of the Beaubleu Seconde Française, the first is the Ref. 19.24 and the second is the 20.24. Both are structurally and mechanically identical and it’s only the style of the dials that differ. Before we get to those dials, let’s start by taking a look at the case. It measures 39mm in diameter in stainless steel with a double domed sapphire crystal giving it a thickness of 10.2mm. The crown is positioned at 3 o’clock and recessed below the lip of the case to give it a hidden appearance when viewed from above.

I really like the decision to hide the crown because it enhances the concentric circle design of the piece. Starting with the circular case, then the rings of contrasting brushed and polished finishing around the bezel. And then the dial itself, which consists of a peripheral seconds scale, a railway minute track and then an inner hour scale.

Beaubleu Seconde Francaise 20.24

On top of all that, the hands themselves are also circles, which is the signature style of Beaubleu. An important aspect of the display is that the seconds hand is floating, appearing to move magically across the dial. In watchmaking, the term floating means that it’s suspended from beneath, giving it the illusion that it’s not connected to anything. It’s in this way that the watch captures the concept of the French second it’s named after.

Beaubleu Seconde Francaise 20.24
Beaubleu Seconde Francaise 20.24

We now come to the difference between the Beaubleu Seconde Française 19.24 and the 20.24. On the 19.24 the time scales are printed on dial in the traditional manner and the hands are pointed. It’s available in blue, white, anthracite or green with grained finishing. In comparison, the 20.24’s time scales are engraved into the dial, giving the piece a more three-dimensional appearance, which is also more minimalist as it goes without numerals. The hands here are rounded and coated with Super-LumiNova for low light legibility. As for colour, it’s available in either grey or salmon.

Beaubleu Seconde Francaise 19.24

Of the two references, the blue edition of the 19.24 is my personal favourite as it feels the most elegant and the most French. The French-ness of the Beaubleu Seconde Française is more than skin deep as well because housed inside is the France Ébauche calibre FE, produced by a French manufacture. It has a 46-hour power reserve and is visible through the exhibition caseback where you can see the Beaubleu rotor and the balance wheel held by two bridges.

Ultimately, it’s an elegant watch with a unique and distinctive flair while the steel case means it remains relatively accessible. Its price tag is €1,490 on strap or €1,590 on bracelet (approx. £1,270/£1,350). Whether it’s a daily wearer you strap on while visiting a Parisian bistro or reserve it for more refined occasions, the Seconde Française is versatile and fun.

Price and Specs:

Model: Beaubleu Seconde Française
Ref: 19.24 (Midnight Blue, Ivory White, Anthracite Grey, Imperial Green), 20.24 (Pearl Grey, Salmon)
Case: 39mm diameter x 10.2mm thickness, stainless steel
Dial: Midnight blue, ivory white, anthracite grey, imperial green (19.24) or pearl grey, salmon (20.24)
Water resistance: 50m (5 bar)
Movement: France Ébauche calibre FE, automatic
Power reserve: 46h
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds
Strap: Beige rubber with textile inlay and titanium pin buckle or mesh bracelet
Price: €1,490 (approx. £1,270) (strap) or €1,590 (approx. £1,350) (bracelet), limited to 888 pieces

More details at Beaubleu.

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About the author

Michael Sonsino

As Digital Editor for Oracle Time, Michael needs an eye for detail, which makes it a good thing that his twin joys in life are miniatures and watches. He's a lifelong fan of fine timepieces, especially those of a more historic nature - if it has a twist of Art Deco, all the better. Recent purchase: Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Modern Re-Interpretation. Grail watch: Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921.