Discreet Elegance and Modernity with the Frederique Constant Manufacture Slimline Moonphase
There are multiple reasons that create appeal for a watch. For some, it will be the name printed on the dial. For others, it will be all about mechanics and the beauty of the finishing. However, what might be a common point for all is the intrinsic beauty of the design and the elegance on the wrist, whatever how nice a movement can be or whatever how delicate its finishing is. With the Frederique Constant Manufacture Slimline Moonphase, you’ll both enjoy a great elegance, especially in the blue version we have today, with the beauty of mechanics… and for a very reasonable price. Overview of a modern and elegant watch.
The Frederique Constant Manufacture Slimline Moonphase is one of the brand’s best-sellers, and clearly, when you strap it on the wrist, you immediately understand why. It has a great mix of elegance and modernity. It uses codes of traditional watchmaking and of dress watches, with contemporary elements, such as its size and color. Traditional it is, because of the overall shapes and proportions. First, the case is smooth and round, with nice curves. The casebands tapper to the caseback to create a nice sensation of thinness (even if the watch is not ultra-thin, at 11.3mm). But it does feel less. The elegant and discreet design is reminiscent of classical dress watches, which feels reassuring.
However, a nice design is not just shapes, but it is also (and probably mainly) proportions. Elegance is often seen in watches that are small, with a diameter below 38mm – and in all honesty, I’m one of the fervent defenders of small diameters, on both dress and sports watches. However here, with the Frederique Constant Manufacture Slimline Moonphase, the case measures 42mm… not small obviously. So you could expect me to scream. But not. In this case, it simply works and proportions of each element (case diameter, thickness of the bezel, width and length of the lugs, thickness of the case, size of the crown, the width of the strap… and so on) are elegant and coherent with the rest of the elements of this watch. Overall, it looks like a modernized dress watch, with contemporary dimensions, without having a bulky feel.
Then, there’s the display. Again, don’t expect any revolution here. Frederique Constant, with the Manufacture Slimline Moonphase, plays a well-known partition. The dial is displaying the hours and minutes on the central axis, however, something rare enough nowadays, no second hand can be seen on this watch. Surprising at first, the lack of this display fades rapidly. Then, it has a sub-dial at 6, with a moon-phase circled by a date, pointed by a hand – again something highly traditional and seen many times. A small but still visible detail is the metallic circle around the moonphase.
Besides being reassuring for new-comers, this display is again coming with great proportions and a perfect integration, mainly because it’s positioned according to the size of the watch, almost at the periphery of the dial, and not lost in the middle, as we can see way too often these days (due to a movement too small compared to the case). Here, it’s balanced, elegant and discreet. The hands are thin, long, with a discreet leaf shape and a polished silver finish, which matches with the case and the applied indexes on the dial.
In addition to the shapes and style, the colors used for a watch are highly important. While silvery-white or black are still major choices colors, since a few years, manufactures used blue intensively – with varying degrees of success. Blue is a complex colour, not as neutral as black or white. Thus, you have to weight the intensity of the hue. Too pale or too dark, it will be boring. Too bright, it will result in a watch lacking elegance and being showy. Having a plain dial means usually a too neutral color. With the Frederique Constant Manufacture Slimline Moonphase, we have a nice balance. The dial is discreetly brushed with a sun-ray pattern, meaning that it will play with light, changing from night blue to sapphire blue. Then it is domed, creating an interesting surface. Finally, it never screams blue, and remains discreet enough to be worn with a suit and tie – or with a pair of jeans, and that’s the good point here.
The watch is secured to the wrist by an also nice alligator leather strap, which perfectly matches the case: same blue as the dial and silver stitching to match the case. The strap is often neglected, but here, it does really complement the look. It features a stainless steel pin-buckle.
Inside the case of the Frederique Constant Manufacture Slimline Moonphase, as indicated by its name, is a manufacture movement, conceived, developed, assembled, adjusted and encased in-house, in FC’s workshops in Plan-les-Ouates, Switzerland (near Geneva). This movement is born from the wish to have the liberty to create the display the brand wanted and not to rely on ETA / Sellita to later create modules. This explains for instance the balanced placement of the sub-dial (something that can be found on the Perpetual Calendar too). The movement in itself is rather simple and efficient, with a 42-hour power reserve, a 4Hz frequency and an automatic winding. Its finishing is pleasant, with circular Geneva stripes, perlage, blued screws and a gilded, opened rotor.
Overall, as it kind of becomes a norm with the brand, this Frederique Constant Manufacture Slimline Moonphase really does have arguments. It is modern, elegant, discrete and well conceived. All of that is paired with an interesting technical content – the concept of “manufacture movement” is always debatable but here, it does have an interest for the display and the overall balance of the watch. The final argument is the price: 3,300 Euros. Not too bad… at all. frederiqueconstant.com.
Specifications of the Frederique Constant Manufacture Slimline Moonphase
- Case: 42mm diameter x 11.3mm thickness – polished stainless steel – sapphire crystal with antireflective treatment on the front, sapphire case-back – 30m water resistance
- Movement: Calibre FC-705, in-house – automatic – 42h power reserve – 28’800 vibrations/h – hours, minutes, moonphase, date by hand
- Strap: blue alligator strap on steel pin-buckle
- Ref. FC-705N4S6 – also exists on steel bracelet, with a white, a brown or a champagne dial, in steel, in rose gold plated steel or in 18k rose gold
Great review, and thanks for looking at a sometimes overlooked contender in the moonphase world.
I have this watch in the plated rose gold in my collection and I think it is a really excellent watch all around. In this price range (and I’d suggest that the price on the gray market makes even more sense for this particular watch) the finishing is excellent, a lovely in-house movement, and I agree that the proportions of this watch wear much better than they sound. I find myself admiring this particular watch far more than I would have expected for a watch at this price range and would definitely recommend it to anyone considering it. There will unfortunately always be some folks who for different reasons have a negative view of FC as an overall brand, and I admit not every watch they make is a hit in my eyes, but I do think this particular model deserves some love and respect from watch enthusiast.