Frederique Constant is a rather surprising brand. Although a very young brand that aims to deliver affordable watches, they managed to introduced several watches with in-house movements and interesting ‘dressy’ designs, all priced at a very reasonable level. “Affordable luxury” would be the perfect definition of the collection, which, since the latest edition of Baselworld, even includes a perpetual calendar with entirely in-house developed movement and QP module priced around € 8,000 EUR – and that’s quite an achievement. Continuing in this path, the brand now comes with an automatic watch priced under € 2,000 EUR and with a hand-made porcelain dial; the Frederique Constant Classics Art of Porcelain.
In traditional watchmaking and in the mind of collectors, the perfect definition of a classic dress watch would certainly mean a time-only timepiece, with understated design and a with an grand-feu enamel dial. However, grand-feu enamel, as we explained to you before, is a complex process, which requires great craftsmen and which does not allow any mistakes. This means enamel dials are expensive and not accessible to all collectors. Entirely according to the brand’s strategy – like for instance offering complications and features usually reserved to high-end watches (see the QP of the brand) for a friendly price – Frederique Constant offers an affordable way to enjoy the look of enamel, without the price of enamel. The Geneva-based brand fitted its Classics collection with a hand-made porcelain dial. Of course, it should not be confused with a grand-feu enamel but the result, the feel and the “hand-made” character of the dial will certainly be a source of joy for many collectors.
Each dial of the Frederique Constant Classics Art of Porcelain is made by skilled craftsmen from the Zsolnay Porcelain Manufacture, who ensure that the colour of the porcelain will last for decades. Porcelain is a ceramic material made by heating components in a kiln to temperatures reaching between 1,200 and 1,400 °C (2,200 and 2,600 °F). The toughness, strength and translucence of porcelain arises mainly from vitrification and the formation of the mineral mullite within the body at these high temperatures. Then, the porcelain plate is polished and shaped to obtain the right curvature and thickness.
The result is a white dial, but not any kind of white dial. The surface of porcelain is perfectly flat and shines, with a subtle vitreous aspect – all of that without any sort of coating or treatment applied. The dial is simply adorned with thin Roman numerals, on which two blue leaf-shaped hands indicate the time. Printed at 6 o’clock something that underlines the special feats of this dial: fait-main – porcelain enamel (hand made porcelain/enamel). The Frederique Constant Classics Art of Porcelain comes in a stainless steel case measuring 40mm, with thin lugs and a fluted profile. Elegant and simple.
Behind the porcelain dial ticks an automatic movement. This classic dress watch is not part of the Manufacture collection, the Frederique Constant Classics Art of Porcelain has an outsourced movement – most certainly a Sellita calibre – with 42 hours of power reserve, visible though the caseback. It comes on a black leather strap with pin-buckle.
The Frederique Constant Classics Art of Porcelain with hand-made porcelain dial is a limited edition of 188 pieces. Sticker price: € 1,995 EUR.
Specifications of the Frederique Constant Classics Art of Porcelain
- Case: 40mm diamater – stainless steel – sapphire crystal on front and back – 30m water resistant
- Movement: FC-302 – Automatic movement – 42h power reserve – 28,800vph – Hours / Minutes
- Strap: Black crococalf strap – steel pin-buckle
- Limited to 188 pieces – 1,995 Euros – Reference FC-302P4S6