It’s easy to forget just how instrumental Frederique Constant’s ‘affordable luxury’ mission statement has been in making price a selling point again during the last decade. Before Peter and Aletta Stas’ brand began pricing its mechanical watches below those of its more established rivals, ‘new’ brands trying to gain a foothold in the market were rarely (officially) prepared to sacrifice much of the accepted market prices, but this was Frederique Constant’s way in.
Years of keen business acumen from the husband and wife owners saw the company develop into a fully fledged manufacture (which was acquired by Japanese watch giant Citizen in 2012) resulting in nearly 30 inhouse calibres including tourbillons, perpetual calendars and flyback chronographs and today it produces a collection of watches bearing that name, made entirely by the brand. Not bad considering Frederique Constant wasn’t established until 1988.
We first saw the Manufacture Worldtimer from Frederique Constant in 2012 and it has since been produced with a range of different dial colours and even though Frederique Constant offer several models with gold-plated 42mm cases, it has always been a stainless steel watch, until now.
Now the Frederique Constant Classic Worldtimer Manufacture has been produced in a limited run in 18ct rose gold, for the first time and with 88 pieces being produced we’d imagine Frederique Constant will be marketing it to Chinese customers.
The contrasting sunray blue and matt anthracite finishes of the relief map of the world on the dial might have been used before but the red highlights used to depict the daytime hours on the 24-hour wheel have not. The applied lume pot hour markers and hands are tone-matched plated gold, which we assume is a consideration to their weight. The dial layout still owes everything to those of the complication’s inventor Louis Cottier from the 1930s, that’s not a criticism as just about every worldtimer in production today does as well.
The 28,800vph automatic FC-718 movement allows for all adjustments to be performed using the oversized onion crown and has a 38-hour power reserve.
With three strong colours competing for attention (not to mention the rich lustre of the precious metal) the aesthetic won’t be for everyone, but I can’t help admiring its boldness.
Price & Specs:
Model Name: Frederique Constant Classic Worldtimer Manufacture Limited Edition
Case/Dial: 42mm diameter x 12.1mm thickness, 18k rose gold
Water resistance: 30m (3 bar)
Movement: Calibre FC-718, automatic
Functions: Hours and minutes, seconds, date, worldtimer
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 38h
Strap: Navy blue alligator leather with off-white stitching
Price: £13,995, limited to 88 pieces
More details at Frederique Constant.