Frédérique Constant is, without doubt, one of the most impressive entrepreneurial success stories in the recent history of the watch industry. Created in the late 1980s, the Geneva-based brand gained international recognition by manufacturing elegant, classic watches at reasonable prices, even demonstrating a certain mechanical savoir-faire with in-house movements and complications – such as a flyback chronograph, a perpetual calendar and a tourbillon. Frédérique Constant now enters one of the most dynamic markets of the industry, that of the luxury sports watch with integrated bracelet. Meet the Frédérique Constant Highlife collection.
In 1972, Gérald Genta’s Royal Oak for Audemars Piguet defined a genre that has never seemed more relevant. The archetype is straightforward: match a sporty but sophisticated steel watch with an integrated bracelet and an automatic movement. Robustness and refinement combined. Although most high-end manufacturers have entered this market – even independent watchmakers such as Laurent Ferrier or Urban Jürgensen – few brands offer such watches in the accessible luxury market, with one notable exception: Maurice Lacroix with its successful Aikon collection. But the competition is heating up in the luxury sports watch category as Frédérique Constant enters the game.
The Highlife concept
The new Frédérique Constant Highlife collection is a modern take on one of the brand’s watches created in 1999. Back then, the Highlife design was characterised by its integrated strap/bracelet and distinctive case. For its 2020 comeback, the Highlife has a far more modern design and features a barrel-shaped case with half-moon facets located near the strap attachment and a round bezel framing a large dial opening.
Underlining a modern and dynamic style, the grid-like pattern engraved into the dial mimics the imaginary longitude and latitude lines dividing the globe. The elongated hour markers and baton-style hands are filled with luminescent material. The integrated bracelet is an H-link bracelet and has the particularity of being interchangeable. Overall, the design of the Frédérique Constant Highlife collection is clean, restrained and doesn’t mimic existing icons in this highly coveted category.
Sporty case and interchangeable strap/bracelet
On the wrist, the Frédérique Constant Highlife wears comfortably thanks to its versatile 41mm diameter and ergonomic case with an integrated strap or bracelet. All watches, whether on a leather strap or a metallic bracelet, are delivered with a spare rubber strap.
The interchangeability system lets you switch the strap or bracelet and the personality of the watch in seconds without a tool. You just need to press the pins at the back of the strap, next to the caseback, to release it. If it is not as handy and precisely executed as the Vacheron Constantin Overseas, for instance, it remains highly practical and easy to operate.
The Frédérique Constant Highlife Collection comprises three models, differentiated by their movements: the Highlife Automatic COSC, the Highlife Heart Beat and the Highlife Perpetual Calendar Manufacture. All are presented with the same 41mm case and different material combinations are offered – steel, steel and pink gold-plated, full pink gold-plated.
The Frédérique Constant Highlife Automatic COSC
The Highlife Automatic COSC is the most straightforward take on the updated collection, thanks to its closed dial and time-and-date display. This sleek sporty-chic version is fitted with the automatic calibre FC-303. Visible via the exhibition caseback, this automatic movement is based on the tried and tested Sellita SW 200-1 – a long-time partner of FC. Its precision is certified by the COSC (the Swiss chronometer testing institute).
It is available in four versions – steel on steel with blue dial, steel on leather with silver dial, steel and gold-plated with bracelet and silver dial, gold-plated on leather with black dial. Retail price for the Highlife Automatic COSC starts at EUR 1,695.
Quick facts, Frédérique Constant Highlife Automatic COSC: calibre FC-303, automatic, 26 jewels, 38-hour power reserve, 28,800vph – hours, minutes, seconds and date – polished and brushed stainless steel or pink gold-plated 3-part case – 41mm diameter – sapphire crystal with anti-glare coating on both sides – see-through caseback – water-resistant to 50m – steel bracelet or alligator pattern calf leather strap with an additional rubber strap – folding clasp – EUR 1,695 to EUR 1,995
The Frédérique Constant Highlife Heart Beat
The Highlife Heart Beat showcases Frédérique Constant’s signature design, which reveals the inner workings and beating heart of its movement at 12 o’clock through a circular aperture. Also visible via a transparent caseback is the calibre FC-310, again based on an automatic Sellita SW 200-1 movement. This model retains the same 41mm case and dial pattern and is available in three different versions: steel on steel with black dial, steel on steel with blue dial and pink gold-plated on leather with silver dial. Retail price starts at EUR 1,895.
Quick facts, Frédérique Constant Highlife Heart Beat: calibre FC-310, automatic, 26 jewels, 38-hour power reserve, 28,800vph – hours, minutes, seconds and visible regulator – polished and brushed stainless steel or pink gold-plated 3-parts case – 41mm diameter – sapphire crystal with anti-glare coating on both sides – see-through caseback – water-resistant to 50m – steel bracelet or alligator pattern calf leather strap with an additional rubber strap – folding clasp – EUR 1,895 to EUR 1,995
The Frédérique Constant Highlife Perpetual Calendar Manufacture
A rare offering in the luxury sports watch category, even more in this price range, the elegant Highlife Perpetual Calendar is fitted with the in-house automatic Frédérique Constant calibre FC-775, with an internally developed quantième perpetuel module. The classic and balanced dial display features four counters; three of them display calendar functions – date, month and leap year, week day – while a moon phase aperture is positioned at 6 o’clock. The Highlife Perpetual Calendar comes in three iterations: steel on steel with blue dial, steel on leather with silver dial and two-tone gold plated on bracelet with silver dial. Price starts at EUR 8,495, making this watch an unbeatable offer for a perpetual calendar.
Quick facts, Frédérique Constant Highlife Perpetual Calendar: calibre FC-775, automatic, 26 jewels, 38-hour power reserve, 28,800vph – hours, minutes, perpetual calendar with date, weekday, month, leap year and moon phase – polished and brushed stainless steel or pink gold-plated 3-parts case – 41mm diameter – sapphire crystal with anti-glare coating on both sides – see-through caseback – water-resistant to 50m – steel bracelet or alligator pattern calf leather strap with an additional rubber strap – folding clasp – from EUR 8,495 to EUR 8,795
For more details on the Highlife Collection, visit frederiqueconstant.com.