Located on the outskirts of Geneva is Plan-les-Ouates, and in a municipality that can rank an impressive amount of watchmakers amongst its inhabitants is Frederique Constant. The fact that the brand can count old and respectable names such as Piaget and Vacheron Constantin as its neighbors not only says something about it’s location, but also how far the brand has come.
My first encounter with the brand was almost two decades ago, when quartz was still king in their collection, but when construction, finish and price resulted in a very successful product balance. That balance is still there, but the quartz movements not really. A clever investment strategy has turned Frederique Constant into a full blown manufacture over the last decade, starting development in 2001 and resulting in 15 different manufacture calibers in 2014. An impressive accomplishment, especially since they never abandoned their original focus on offering value for money.
Although Frederique Constant’s line-up includes a Manufacture Tourbillon, on a personal level it is almost impossible to to surpass the Manufacture Worldtimer, especially now this one is also available in stunning blue. While the movement ticks off all the boxes with blued screws, circular Geneva striping and a large, open worked rotor that leaves plenty of space to admire the movement. Yet as nice as the movement is, it is the dial makes this watch even more remarkable.
With both the cities ring as well as the 24-hour time ring residing at the edge of the dial, they actually travel under the subdial for the pointer date, for a spectacular effect. The pointer date itself, with its sunburst guilloche, remains the classical focal point of the watch. The dial features the continents which actually rise slightly from the blue dial, with the Frederique Constant name, adding even one level to that.
There are many watches with a mechanical Manufacture movement, quite a few less that offer a world time complication, and rarely any that sell around 3000 Euros (exact price of the blue dialed model is yet to be announced, but its white dialed brother sold for 2.990 Euros). But apart from all this, it is the dial that makes all the difference. This is not a watch you buy because it is a relatively inexpensive worldtimer with a Manufacture movement. This is a watch you buy because it is one of the best designed worldtimers currently available, that additionally treats you on a fine Manufacture movement, and just happens to have a compeditive price tag. And with that we can conclude that not much has changed at Frederique Constant the last two decades, yet at the same time they offer a world of difference.
Eclectic taste in Haute Horlogerie, passion for diamond set watches, loves the classics