Frederique Constant Manufacture Classic
Angus Davies gets hands-on with the Frederique Constant Manufacture Classic
This detailed review of the Frederique Constant Manufacture Classic includes live images, specification and pricing.
Frederique Constant create timepieces which share similar aesthetics to some paragons of haute horlogerie. The hands, dial and case designs often resemble those found on some of the finest, traditional watches. However, the Genevan brand has also gained a reputation for delivering exceptional value for money, differentiating it from many brands. Quite simply, Frederique Constant has democratised watch ownership with extremely keen pricing.
The cachet of a premium luxury brand often prevents many individuals from enjoying the ownership experience. Those companies who bring ownership into the grasp of many should be applauded.
Recently, I had the opportunity to look at a Frederique Constant timepiece blessed with a classical mien. I already knew its retail price of £2,360 (RRP as at 29.1.2018) represented incredible value and I was eager to learn more of its various attributes.
The first nod to tradition relates to the eloquent Breguet hands. Their exquisite shape brims with good taste and they announce the time with crisp diction. In addition, Roman numerals denote each hour.
At the heart of the dial is a sumptuous sea of Clou de Paris. While the finest examples of this decoration are executed by hand using a rose engine lathe, the stamped motif on this Manufacture Classic proves exceedingly attractive.
A circlet of Sauté Piqué delineates the Clou de Paris centre from the hour track and, likewise, the hour track from the minute track. The crimped motif delivers comely contrast with the adjacent textures. Both the hour track and minute track feature a smooth epidermis.
A circular date display at 6 o’clock succinctly imparts information with a sole black hand. Finally, a central sweep seconds hand completes the inventory of functions.
A key benefit of this dial is that its styling will never date with the onset of years given that the demand for classical horology is unlikely to wane.
The rose gold plated case measures 42mm in diameter, proffering suitability for a broad range of different wrist sizes. The fact that the case is gold plated rather than solid gold is reflected in terms of its mass and price.
The profile of the case resembles a pebble in form, glinting in light with a bewitching allure. Each surface is highly polished and exudes a luxurious character.
Arcing lugs coax the ‘Crococalf’ strap to envelope the wrist. Personally, I found the strap a tad disappointing, feeling it did not match the overall quality of the watch. However, the strap is paired with a superb deployant equipped with a push-button release.
The onion shaped crown is attractive and facilitates simple adjustment of the indications.
This watch is equipped with a Manufacture self-winding movement, the FC-710. This is somewhat surprising, considering the modest asking price of the watch. At this price, few brands can offer the same attribute.
Frederique Constant has endowed the FC-710 with highly agreeable finishing. The oscillating mass is open-worked, allowing sight of the circular Côtes de Genève motif beneath. Perlage adorns the periphery of the movement and there are copious amounts of blued screws. Impressively, the Genevan maison has decorated the mainplate beneath the balance with petit perlage.
The movement is 30mm in diameter and 6.2mm in depth. It consists of 137 parts including 26 jewels. The frequency of the balance is 28,800 VpH (4Hz) and the power reserve is capable of delivering 42 hours of autonomous operation.
The Frederique Constant Manufacture Classic is exceptionally attractive with its classically-styled dial incorporating various guilloché decorations and enchanting Breguet hands.
Frederique Constant has endowed the Manufacture Classic with an impressive in-house movement. This is a notable characteristic for a watch positioned at this level. Furthermore, admiring the movement via the exhibition case-back, a multitude of high-end details can readily be seen. There is a plethora of blued screws, Côtes de Genève motif, perlage and petit perlage. The cost savings are subtle and include the absence of internal angles and hand bevelling.
There are economies evident with the watch if you look closely enough but these have resulted in a keenly priced timepiece. While I continue to adore the finest exemplars of haute horlogerie I freely admit that these watches are beyond the grasp of many horophiles. Frederique Constant has democratised watch ownership and, once again, delivered a timepiece which is particularly impressive. Quite simply, the Frederique Constant Manufacture Classic is a superb watch.
• Model: Frederique Constant Manufacture Classic
• Case: Rose gold plated steel case; diameter 42mm; sapphire crystal to front and exhibition case-back; water resistant to 5 ATM (50 metres).
• Functions: Hours; minutes; central sweep seconds; date
• Movement: FC-710; Self-winding movement; Frequency 28,800 VpH (4Hz); 26 jewels; power reserve = 42 hours
• Strap: Brown crococalf leather strap paired with gold plated deployant
• Price: £2,360 (RRP as at 29.1.2018)