We’re not going to explain in details again and again what we think here, at Monochrome-Watches, of Frédérique Constant. However, we have to say that they create some of the best value for money pieces around, with great classical design and interesting horological content – yes, they really do in-house movements, with watches under 3,000 Euros. That being said, what we’re about to see is another good example of this brand’s production, a watch with superior elegance and manufacture engine. Here are the new Frederique Constant Classic Manufacture watches, with fresh look for 2016.
Compared to some other brands in this price segment, Frédérique Constant have something special: they create a large part of their watches with their own calibre, and not with ETA-clone movements, like some (most…) brands under the 3,000-euro barrier. Frederique Constant has been developing and producing its in-house Manufacture calibres since 2004. The first caliber was the Heart Beat Manufacture, Calibre FC-910 with the iconic aperture on the dial and mainplate at 6. Later, in 2008, the brand started the development of the second base caliber, the FC-700, this time with classical architecture (no aperture on the dial) in order to bring in-house to more accessible watches. In 2010, FC introduced the Calibre FC-710, a more simple version of the automatic in-house movement, with time and date, as the entry price for the Manufacture Collection. The watches with these movement became popular for the brand and are now being revamped, to offer a new, fresh face.
These new Frederique Constant Classic Manufacture are coming in the Classic case, a shape shared with the Classic Moonphase we reviewed before. Here, the case is slightly larger (42mm vs. 40.5mm) and shows rounded and smooth surfaces, straight lugs and a convex bezel – all of that is reminiscent of 1940s – 1950s watches and does have a great elegance on the wrist. The crown shows the usual onion shape that can be found on most watches of the brand. It is secured on the wrist by black leather strap, again not fancy but elegant and discreet.
The main novelty comes from the design of the dials, which gets rid of the central guilloché pattern, the hollowed hands and the small, bold Roman numerals. Instead, these new Frederique Constant Classic Manufacture feature a more vintage, art déco look, with slim and elongated Roman numerals and a dial with flat surface. The hands are also sleeker, with a leaf shape. Overall, the watch gain in discretion, modernity and elegance. The dial can be slivery white with black numerals, or pitch black with white inscriptions – we have to admit that the latter really works. At 6, the date is still displayed, with a traditional date-by-hand sub-dial.
Behind the sapphire caseback of the Frederique Constant Classic Manufacture is the calibre FC-710, in-house developed, tested and assembled. We talk automatic movement, with 42 hours of power reserve, hours/minutes/seconds and date, 26 jewels and a 4Hz frequency. This movement is rather large (30mm) and looks more appealing than ETAs, with golden rotor, blued screws, circular Geneva stripes and bevels.
Once again, it’s hard not be impressed by this watch, especially when you consider the 2,290 CHF retail price. The new edition of this Frederique Constant Classic Manufacture offers a more timeless appeal, some vintage elements and, in the end, more modernity. frederiqueconstant.com.
Specifications of the Frederique Constant Classic Manufacture
- Case: 42mm diameter and 11.6mm thick – stainless steel, polished – sapphire crystal on both sides – 50m water resistant
- Movement: Calibre FC-710, in-house – automatic winding – 42 hour power reserve – 28,800 vph – hours, minutes, seconds, date at 6
- Strap: black leather strap with steel folding clasp