Frederique Constant has a long-standing collaboration with the Riva Historical Society, a Milan-based association dedicated to preserving classic Riva boats, that started in 2009. Every year since, the watchmaker has created limited edition Runabout watches to commemorate their partnership. This year is no different as it just launched two new automatic versions. Still combining an elegant look and nautical theme, here are the 2018 Frederique Constant Automatic Runabout with classic navy-blue dials and hobnail pattern.
These two new Automatic Runabout are the same in design but differ in materials. One is stainless steel and the other has a rose gold-plated steel case. Both are water-resistant to 50 meters, which should be more than adequate for a jaunt at sea – or projections of salty water when cruising along the Amalfi coast.
Vintage Riva boats were like fine pieces of wooden furniture with varnished mahogany and an extreme attention to detail. Frederique Constant pays homage to that by first polishing the 42mm cases to match the boats’ glossy finish. The navy-blue dial has a hobnail pattern that’s classic to the brand and a central guilloché gives it additional complexity. A subtle wave pattern sits above the Frederique Constant name at the top and AUTOMATIC printed just above the date window. The dial overall emphasizes the water. That date window lives at 6 o’clock and the minutes are displayed around the dial’s outer rim.
The hands are plated in rose gold on the gold model and are silver on the steel, and the indexes and Arabic numerals are also matched to their corresponding model. The included hour markers are 12, 2, 4, 8 and 10. All hands, indexes and numerals are filled with lume, and the dial is protected by a convex sapphire crystal.
A sapphire crystal case back displays the FC-303 automatic calibre. This movement plays a vital role in allowing both watches to remain very approachable. Unlike the Frederique Constant Classic Manufacture, for example, with an in-house calibre FC-710, the new automatic Runabouts are powered by a FC-303 calibre, which is a modified Sellita SW200-1 (other versions of the calibre are an almost identical ETA 2824). Frederique Constant is already known for its competitive pricing and these models should help reinforce that. The movement has 26 jewels, a 38-hour power reserve, beats at 28,800 vibrations per hour with hours, minutes, seconds and date functions. Being a mass-produced movement as opposed to one manufactured in-house diminishes the prestige factor a bit, but also provides an excellent value for a piece with near-identical specifications. The exhibition case back itself is engraved with the Riva Historical Society flag, outlined in black.
The navy-blue calf leather straps have an alligator print and complement the blue dials. Bold white stitching runs across both sides and maintains a maritime vibe.
Both the steel and gold-plated Runabouts are limited editions, with only 2,888 watches per model. Pricing for the steel model is EUR 1,395. The rose gold model will be priced at EUR 1,695. And in a final nod to the 1920’s Riva boats that inspired the series, the watches will be delivered in a limited-edition box that includes a miniature wooden Riva boat replica. A fun little annual tradition that continues with Frederique Constant’s latest nautical watches. More details on frederiqueconstant.com.