Though relatively young (31 years old), Frederique Constant has proven to be one of the most creative brands in the field of “accessible luxury”. In three decades, the brand has managed to create multiple collections and to bring complications to the masses. Best of all, the brand even has some timepieces driven by its own movements, following the introduction in 2004 of its in-house base calibre. Today, the newest piece in the collection debuts the brand’s 29th calibre and a refreshed display. Please welcome the new Frederique Constant Classics Moonphase Manufacture.
In 2004, Frederique Constant decided to step up its game with the creation of its own in-house movement, in order to give exclusivity to its watches and to have an engine that could integrate multiple displays and complications, without relying on ETA and the likes. Fast forward to 2019… In 15 years, Frederique Constant’s collection has grown to an impressive portfolio with a representation of most of the best-known complications: moonphase, calendar, world-time, perpetual calendar, tourbillon (or both), chronograph, power reserve, and more. Today, it is the 29th in-house calibre that the brand is introducing – which isn’t short of an achievement. And of course, still with the usual “accessible luxury” spirit of the brand.
The combination of a moon phase and a date isn’t new for Frederique Constant. It even is one of its most classic displays – almost a signature piece for the brand. The Classics Moonphase Manufacture is a watch that we reviewed in its preceding version a few years ago. It featured a balanced and elegant display, comprising H-M-S on the central axis and a single sub-dial at 6 o’clock with a date by hand and a moonphase indication in its centre. That same display was used in the Slimline Moonphase Manufacture, a more contemporary and sleeker take on the concept.
For 2019, the Frederique Constant Classics Moonphase Manufacture evolves and introduces a new display, meaning an updated movement to power it. The idea with this new version was to split the two additional indications – date and moon – in two separated sub-dials, located at 3 o’clock (moon) and 9 o’clock (date) instead of a single counter at 6 o’clock. And in the metal, that new display changes the watch rather drastically, with a completely different balance. Note that this “split display” was already introduced in 2017 on the modern-shaped Slimline Moonphase Manufacture.
As for the design itself, Frederique Constant plays here on the safe but efficient side. The new, 2019 Classics Moonphase Manufacture relies on design codes that have been used – and liked – in the past already, such as the elongated Roman numerals and the thin leaf-shaped hands – a theme used here, for instance. Classical for sure, but the result is surprisingly elegant and gives the impression of a true luxury watch – but for a fraction of the price.
Three versions of the updated Frederique Constant Classics Moonphase Manufacture will be available at launch. The first is a traditional combination of a polished steel case with a silver-coloured grained dial with black Roman numerals, hands and strap. The second version features the same dial and hands, but this time with a rose gold-plated case and a brown strap. Last but not least, the third version of the Classics Moonphase Manufacture plays on more modern codes with a polished steel case, a sunray blue dial with white numerals and hands and a blue strap – the most convincing model of the three for us.
The case of the Frederique Constant Classics Moonphase Manufacture is the same as used in the past, with its 42mm diameter, its soft surfaces with convex lines, rather hefty lugs and an onion-shaped crown. While being on the larger side for a dress(y) watch, the watch wears comfortably on the wrist and offers a visually balanced display that is proportioned to the diameter of the watch – the sub-dials are spaced enough to fill the dial entirely.
Powering this evolution of the date and moon Classics is Frederique Constant’s 29th calibre in the FC-700 family. This automatic movement offers 38 hours of power reserve (slightly short, but the automatic winding compensates) and benefits from its internal development to allow all the adjustments to be done by the crown, avoiding inelegant recessed pushers in the casebands. Visible through the caseback (we couldn’t shoot the movement, unfortunately), the new calibre FC-712 features nice decorations such as perlage, circular Geneva stripes, blued screws and a gilded rotor.
The new Frederique Constant Classics Moonphase Manufacture is a nice evolution of the brand’s signature display. As usual, it offers great value for money, as prices range from EUR/CHF 2,595 for the steel models or EUR/CHF 2,895 for the gold-plated model. More details at frederiqueconstant.com.