Not every watch needs to change the world. Sometimes, it’s good enough for an established brand to offer their take on the simpler, more useful complications that make up the bedrock of horology. The Frédérique Constant Classic Index GMT is just that: a solid, no-nonsense watch, powered by the FC-350 automatic calibre, offering 38 hours of power reserve, and an easy-to-read GMT function. It comes in four variations: there are two stainless steel models with stainless steel bracelets, one with a white dial, the other with a black dial, a white-dialed variant on a black leather strap, and a rose gold-plated version with a brown leather strap and a white dial. All of the cases are of identical proportions and movement specifications.
It’s always nice to have a bit of choice when it comes to case and dial combinations, but it strikes me as odd they only made the black dial available with the stainless steel bracelet. Of course, there’s nothing to stop you changing it for a leather strap or otherwise, but having that extra cash outlay for a bracelet you may never wear is a bit of a shame.
I personally prefer white dials and think the rose gold-plated model is the pick of the bunch, but I would have liked to have seen the black dial in the rose case, just for the sake of comparison if nothing more. The Frédérique Constant Classic Index GMT case measures 42mm across and can be submerged in water up to 50 meters.
I’m a big fan of the Frédérique Constant Classic Index GMT dial. It has that crisp, graphical look that the Max Bill range from Junghans has made so popular, along with some nice, slender applied markers that call to mind those of IWC despite bearing no resemblance in terms of font. The date window at three o’clock looks incredibly comfortable on this dial. Normally, my love of symmetry makes me indifferent to date windows, especially those at 3 or 4 o’clock, but in this case, I like it. I like it because this whole watch is so sensible!
It’s not mind-blowing, but it is weirdly satisfying because it hangs together well. A nice looking case, an extremely legible dial, a simple flash of red to demarcate the main event, a date window, and an automatic movement – if you’re looking for a smart-but-subtle beater, this Frédérique Constant Classic Index GMT is right up your street.
Although utilising a base calibre to take care of the timekeeping element of this classical three-hander, the Frédérique Constant Classic Index GMT employs a modular system, which is actually produced in house. A separate plate sits between the dial and the base calibre and adds the GMT complication to the watch. Having not had a chance to play with this one in the metal, it’s hard to say how well-executed it is. It’s really worth taking a lot of time checking the correct function of a GMT complication whenever you are thinking of buying one, as many popular movements rely on dreadfully fallible GMT complications that are either composed of flimsy parts or too Heath-Robinson for their own good. In-house manufacture, though, is a reason to be optimistic. It’s almost certainly cheaper for a brand this size to buy movements with an integrated or already created modular GMT, rather than building it from the ground up themselves. It suggests the designers of the Frédérique Constant Classic Index GMT wanted to get back to basics and create something that just works.
I’ll reserve judgement until testing it myself, but I am cautiously hopeful this might be a solid and dependable movement. The price for the Frédérique Constant Classic Index GMT in stainless steel with the black leather strap is $2,195, the price of both stainless steel versions with the bracelet is $2,295, and the price of the rose gold-plated model is $2,495. frederiqueconstant.com