Elegant Yet Accessible – Frederique Constant Classic Manufacture with Black Dial
Sports watches have a certain appeal, a definitive coolness that makes them desirable. Yet, there comes a time in your life, when only owning these types of timepieces is no longer appropriate. At a certain point, every gentleman needs an elegant dress watch. However, while the need and the desire is present, the same cannot always be said for the money… This is why we wanted to show you the Frederique Constant Classic Manufacture with Black Dial. Extremely elegant, refined, mechanically interesting and yet, rather accessible.
You can’t always dress like a teenager and wear a sports watch. At certain times, a dress watch is required: formal business environment, black tie parties, matching your watch with a suit… Even if I don’t see anything wrong in wearing a Rolex Submariner or an IWC Pilot with a suit, this is not the case for everyone. Even a small watch collections should include a subtle, smaller, slimmer and less tool-ish watch. If the idea of going in the opposite direction, with a proper tuxedo watch (basically an extra-slim, gold, time-only watch) seems a bit extreme, you might want to consider an intermediate solution. And as most of us can’t afford a Vacheron or a Patek, we should probably make it an accessible intermediate solution.
The Frederique Constant Classic Manufacture is one such solution, and definitely one that we recommend here at Monochrome. You know us, we are quite posh when it comes to watches. We love haute horlogerie, we love complications, we love hand-finishing. Yet, let’s be realistic, not even 1% of the collectors will be able to collect such watches. Realistic options exist however. This black-dialled version of the FC Classic Manufacture is a great example, and is stunning in the metal. Elegant without being too formal, reasonably sized while still retaining a certain presence on the wrist, accessible while offering a movement exclusive to the brand.
The point with the Frederique Constant Classic Manufacture is that, even though it’s categorized as a dress watch, it still offers a reasonably large case – which some prefer. Indeed, it measures 42mm in diameter, with a 11.6mm thickness. It isn’t slim, however with a case size like this, it is preferable to avoid too slim a profile, just to respect proportions. The case is all rounded, with a convex bezel and convex casebands, complemented by a round crown. Large on paper, however this watch wears comfortably and can easily be paired with business or formal attire, as it is not prominent on the wrist – in fact the lugs are short, rather slim and “hug” the wrist.
The main attraction on this version of the Frederique Constant Classic Manufacture, an overall very classic-looking watch, is its dial. You have to experience it in real light conditions. The black color almost feels like polished lacquer, with a deep and rich color, and a nice glossy surface, that make this watch very lively. The dial is complemented by discreet and elegant fonts and markers, painted in white, just like the hands. The date, indicated by hand, is located at 6, far more elegant than a date placed in a window.
This watch is very pleasant and refined. Of course, some will notice external influences – the resemblance to models from a certain, Geneva-based, historic Maison is undeniable – however it remains less pronounced on this black-dialled version than on the even more classic white dial edition. it has the charm of a 1940s – 1950s watch, but doesn’t feel like a gimmicky vintage piece. The size and the proportions are modern and will please those who want something with wrist presence.
Underneath the sapphire crystal case-back is the well known in-house movement by Frederique Constant, which serves as a base for most of the “manufacture” watches – yet with different modules on top, such as a chronograph, a moonphase or a world-timer. The calibre FC-710 has been developed, tested and assembled by the brand, in its Geneva-based manufacture. It is an automatic movement, with hours/minutes/seconds and date, 26 jewels and a 4Hz frequency. This calibre is rather large (30mm) and looks more appealing than your standard ETA, with a golden rotor, blued screws, circular Geneva stripes and diamond-cut bevels.
Overall, what we have with the Frederique Constant Classic Manufacture with Black Dial is an exceptional package: design, elegance, modern style, comfort, mechanics… The best part however, is the price, with the watch retailing for CHF 2,290. More details on frederiqueconstant.com.
Technical Specifications – Frederique Constant Classic Manufacture
- Case: 42mm diameter x 11.6mm thick – stainless steel 3-parts case, polished – sapphire crystal on both sides – 50m water resistant
- Movement: Calibre FC-710, in-house – automatic winding – 42 hours power reserve – 28,800 vph – hours, minutes, seconds, date at 6
- Strap: Black Leather strap with steel folding clasp
- Reference: FC-710MB4H6
- Price: CHF 2,290
FC has a problem of brand identity (its designs are basically clones of Patek and the like) which is compensated by their “value for money”. However I can never pass by their awkward dimensions choice… the 42mm by 11.6mm are huge for a dress watch.
I seen this watch today and tried it on. All I can say is wow. It’s a winner in my book.
Hhhmmm. Too big.
It all depends on how authoritative it is on the wrist.
Presence is fine
Overwhelming is not.
Is it difficult to provide the lug-to-lug length? It seems like a rather important dimension that is routinely left out of most watch descriptions. With a 42mm dress watch diameter, this seems important in this case. I’d love to know.
Just gonna put some info out there even if it’s already in the article above:
The lug to lug on the watch is 49mm. There is a taper from 49mm to 47mm on the outside of each lug. The case is 42mm at the bottom of the case and tapers to about 32mm at the top (important). Case thickness is 12mm. Lug width is 22mm. The watch wears very comfortably on my 6.5″ wrist. It definitely wears smaller than any 42mm watch I’ve owned before due to the case tapering from bottom to top. The stock strap it comes on isn’t half bad, and I like that they provided a FC deployant clasp. Too big as a traditional dress watch? Yes. Too big as a watch in general? No.