The Highlife collection is Frederique Constant’s answer to accessible, modern watches with sporty integrated strap designs and it has seen the launch of some great watches. They span the full gamut from simple, modern interpretations of his and hers pieces taking on horology’s finest complications such as perpetual calendars. And nestling perfectly in the middle of that spectrum is the new Highlife Worldtimer Manufacture, bringing the traveller’s complication to the range for the first time.
Structurally, it doesn’t fall far from the rest of the range. It has a 41mm diameter stainless steel case that sweeps into an integrated bracelet. That’s rounded out by 50m water resistance, a convex sapphire crystal, a display caseback and is finished with contrasting brushed and polished surfaces. It’s all staple stuff for the relatively new collection that first emerged in 2020.
As you might expect from a worldtimer, it’s the dial where things start to heat up. Unlike dual time zone complications which typically consist of a GMT hand and a 24-hour scale, a worldtimer is capable of keeping track of every time zone simultaneously through the combination of a rotating 24-hour scale and a rotating list of cities around the globe. Frederique Constant have also added a pointer date subdial at 6 o’clock which the two discs pass under.
In terms of design, it preserves the signature Highlife geometric globe at the centre of the dial below the central hand stack and the dominant colour throughout is blue. However, the 24-hour scale is split into day/night indication with a white half circle. The inner portion of the subdial is then finished with a sunray pattern. All of which is to say, there’s a lot going on and it’s very busy, which has a noticeable impact on its legibility – especially compared to the clean dials of other watches in the range.
When it comes to the movements that are used in the collection there are also many on display from workhorse Sellita pieces to haute horology manufacture calibres created by Frederique Constant, and the Worldtimer falls in closer the latter. Specifically, it houses the FC-718 Manufacture Calibre which has a 38-hour power reserve and operates all the aforementioned functions through the adjustable crown.
Taken in isolation it’s a good watch but there are just other watches in the Highlife range that I prefer. Even its price puts it in a slightly awkward position because at £3,495 it’s not as ridiculously accessible as the simple automatic models but nor is it as over the top luxurious as the high complication models. Although, objectively, it’s great value for money, like all Frederique Constant watches.
Price & Specs:
Model: Frederique Constant Highlife Worldtimer Manufacture
Case/Dial: 41mm diameter x 12.90mm height, brushed and polished stainless steel case, blue dial
Water resistance: 50m (5 bar)
Movement: FC-718 manufacture calibre, automatic, 26 jewels
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 38h
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date by hand, worldtimer
Strap: Brushed and polished stainless steel bracelet
More details at Frederique Constant.