This year marks the 35th anniversary of Frederique Constant, and there is plenty to celebrate. With 31 in-house calibres under its belt, including complications like the tourbillon, perpetual calendar, flyback chronograph or the advanced Monolithic Oscillator, the brand founded by Dutch couple Aletta and Peter Stas and now in the hands of Citizen Group has stuck to its philosophy of accessible luxury. To celebrate the opening of the Citizen multi-brand store on New York’s prestigious Fifth Avenue, Frederique Constant launches a limited edition of its Highlife Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar Manufacture in steel with a closed dial and a competitive price tag.
Frederique Constant closes the year in style with a stainless steel, closed dial edition of its tourbillon and perpetual calendar complication in a Highlife case with a price tag of EUR 26,995. Fair enough, when this movement was launched in 2018, the steel watch housing it was priced at EUR 19,495, but that was five years ago and in a simpler case, and prices in the watch industry have skyrocketed since then.
When FC launched its tourbillon and perpetual calendar in 2018, its price sent shockwaves through the industry. Retailing for under 20k euros in steel, the watch was proof positive that this sophisticated combination of complications was not the exclusive reserve of high-end brands (IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Breguet, A. Lange & Söhne and Patek Philippe) and collectors with deep pockets.
Originally housed in a case from the brand’s Classic family, the complication crossed over into the sportier and relatively new Highlife family in 2021 in openworked steel and rose gold models. We recently covered the luxurious Highlife rose gold edition with a closed dial, coinciding with the brand’s 35th anniversary.
The tonneau-shaped steel case, with a diameter of 41mm and a height of 12.65mm, is brushed and polished, and despite the pushers in the case band to adjust the calendar functions, it is water-resistant to 100 metres. The dial, which appears to share the same matte dark blue colour as the rose gold model, features the embossed latitude and longitude lines of the Highlife collection in the centre and three snailed counters relaying the calendar functions – month and leap year at noon, date at 3 o’clock and day of the week at 9 o’clock. The one-minute tourbillon regulator with an asymmetric frame is placed at 6 o’clock and has a small seconds hand. Suspended over the dial, the applied indices on the peripheral chapter ring are treated with luminescent material like the hour and minute hands.
The in-house FC-975 movement uses 188 components to display both the time and all the perpetual calendar indications. It has 33 jewels, runs at a frequency of 28,800vph and offers a relatively limited 38 hours of power reserve. In line with the brand’s cost-containment mission and industrialised production, don’t expect hand-finished decorative flourishes on the movement. Nevertheless, the openworked gold rotor is vertically brushed, the bridges are decorated with Côtes de Geneve, there are blued screws, and the base plate has circular graining.
The Highlife Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar comes with an integrated steel bracelet and two additional straps – calfskin and rubber – and a convenient tool-free interchangeable system.
Availability & Price
A limited edition of 88 pieces, the Frederique Constant Highlife Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar in steel retails for EUR 26,995 – which is objectively a lot of money, but remains highly reasonable for everything this watch offers. For more information, please visit frederiqueconstant.com.