Value Proposition – Affordable Elegance with the Frederique Constant Classics Index Automatic
Elegance is a concept that usually means a sense of taste and distinction, which can’t really be bought. Yet, in terms of watches, this elegance usually refers to dress watches, and the rather large amount of money that is required to get them strapped on the wrist. This is an idea that is not accepted by Frederique Constant, which strives to offer elegant watches at a very affordable price. Making no exception to the “accessible luxury” rule, the new Classics Index Automatic offers pleasant mechanics, stylish design and elegance for a very (really) reasonable price.
What is the definition of a dress / elegant watch? To us here, at Monochrome, the idea sums up in a watch that feels luxurious without being ostentatious. In concrete terms, this means rather small diameter, a sense for proportions with a thin profile, a relative discretion, a capacity to be worn under a cuff and to blend into an elegant outfit, whether a suit or a chic attire. A dress watch should never shock, never be outrageous however, it has to be slightly remarkable, to be felt as it was chosen to be part of an overall attire. In even more concrete terms, a dress watch means simple display, thin case and sleek design.
If the concept of dress watches has been widely used by most of the brands, affordability is certainly not always present. The concept of the “value proposition” watch tends to be linked to sports watches, such as divers or pilot instruments. However, at Frederique Constant, accessibility and elegance are key guidelines for the creation of new watches. The new Classics Index Automatic makes no exception to the rule, by bringing a classy look, restrained proportions, discretion linked to various striking details and mechanical pleasure, for less than 1,000 EUR / CHF / USD.
The Frederique Constant Classics Index Automatic is, like often for the Geneva-based brand, available in two steel versions, one being plated with rose gold, the other keeping the natural color of steel. The case is a modern, yet highly wearable 40mm diameter, with a quite subtle shape and thin profile – most probably under 10mm. The fully polished execution brings the right dosage of elegance. It is attached to a dark brown or black leather strap, with pin buckle.
The dial is also perfectly in the vein of what we expect from an elegant watch: functional, detailed and sleek. The central part shows a nice “clou de Paris” pattern, while another textured ring circles the hour markers. Talking about them, these indexes are applied and matches the metal of the case. Stylized Roman numerals and batons provide a classic look and a good legibility. The display is completed by traditional leaf hands and a date window classically placed at 3 (a no-date version would be even more elegant, however the date function has its supporters…) The literature on the dial is limited to the logo of the brand and the “automatic” mention.
The Frederique Constant Classics Index Automatic is powered by a self-winding movement, the calibre FC-303, the internal name of the Sellita SW-200, an ETA clone with 38h power reserve and 4Hz frequency. Its precision and reliability are proven and it will perfectly does the job on a daily basis. In addition, the use of an externally-sourced movement (and not the in-house movement of the brand) allows for a very decent price.
The Frederique Constant Classics Index Automatic is a nice entry-level proposition for those who feel the need for an elegant dress watch, with a price of 950 CHF / 850 EUR / 950 USD for the steel version and 1,150 CHF / 1,050 EUR / 1,150 USD for the rose gold plated version. Quite an interesting deal! More details on frederiqueconstant.com.
Specifications – Frederique Constant Classics Index Automatic
- Case: 40mm diameter – polished stainless steel or polished rose gold plated stainless steel – Sapphire crystal – 50m water resistant
- Movement: calibre FC-303 (Sellita SW-200) – automatic – 26 jewels – 38h power reserve – 4Hz frequency – hours, minutes, seconds, date
- Strap: dark brown or black leather strap, with pin buckle
- Reference: FC-303MS5B6 (Steel) – FC-303MV5B4 (Rose Gold plated)
- Price: 950 CHF / 850 EUR / 950 USD for the steel version and 1,150 CHF / 1,050 EUR / 1,150 USD for the rose gold plated version
Not bad, but my Hamilton Jazzmaster from 2008 looks exactly like that…
This is indeed an elegant watch. I’d have preferred it at 36mm with no date but as is, it is far more tasteful than the majority of watches out there.