Brand New Frédérique Constant Classic Manufacture Moonphase With In-House Caliber

Brand New Frédérique Constant Classic Manufacture Moonphase With In-House Caliber

Brand New Frédérique Constant Classic Manufacture Moonphase With In-House Caliber Watch Releases

"Hit it out of the ballpark" - that's how they say, right? Well, the new Frédérique Constant Classic Manufacture Moonphase, that was officially announced today, appears to have done just that. There's a lot to like about this all-new model from the brand's manufacture collection, so let's see what is new in this in-house movement-equipped offering, priced under 4,000CHF.

Brand New Frédérique Constant Classic Manufacture Moonphase With In-House Caliber Watch Releases

Frédérique Constant has been known for producing dressier, classically styled timepieces that often comprise a mix of some of our favorite watch design elements from famous models of historical manufactures – all in an effort to offer a budget, but arguably not "low-budget," alternative to those. The Classic Manufacture line has been the one that featured the brand's in-house movements, and it is not the first time that we see a model with phase of the moon indications in the collection – you'll find our review of a previous version here.

Brand New Frédérique Constant Classic Manufacture Moonphase With In-House Caliber Watch Releases

Housed in a 40.5mm-wide case in either stainless steel, or rose gold plated steel, the Frédérique Constant Classic Manufacture Moonphase lives up to its name, resisting the urge to come in a larger, more modern size – if that is your cake, there's a noteworthy alternative in 42mm available (reviewed here). The case appears to be perfectly round, with a large, "onion crown" and slightly angled and curved lugs.

Brand New Frédérique Constant Classic Manufacture Moonphase With In-House Caliber Watch Releases Brand New Frédérique Constant Classic Manufacture Moonphase With In-House Caliber Watch Releases

The best bit, though, is arguably the dial: silver colored on both versions, it features a subtle sunburst finish and some rather sharp-looking, rectangular, applied indices, to add that extra bit of depth to the dial. At the 6 o'clock position is the phase of the moon indication, and around it is the date scale.

Frédérique Constant praise the FC-715 caliber inside this model as a "new movement," which may practically be true, though in essence, it really isn't all that new. From what we can see based on the case back images and the dial layout, the only difference between it and its predecessor, the FC-705, is the addition of a central seconds hand in the FC-715. The in-house manufacturing capabilities of Frédérique Constant do deserve admiration – calling this one a new caliber, however, is a bit of a stretch and not entirely necessary.

Brand New Frédérique Constant Classic Manufacture Moonphase With In-House Caliber Watch Releases

The dial seems timelessly elegant, with its dauphine hands and applied indices in either rose gold or dark grey, it just looks wonderfully elegant – without trying too hard. If it looks familiar, don't be surprised: if you look on the second page of our feature article on the rarest and most expensive Patek Philippe watches here, you'll find that the Frédérique Constant Classic Manufacture Moonphase does look very reminiscent indeed of the Patek Philippe Ref. 3448, an automatic perpetual calendar watch that was produced between 1962 and 1981 – and the example we featured was sold by Christie's for a stratospheric $2,338,219 a few years ago.

Brand New Frédérique Constant Classic Manufacture Moonphase With In-House Caliber Watch Releases

The Frédérique Constant Classic Manufacture Moonphase, while incomparable in many ways, is still some 2.334 million dollars cheaper – and while the democratization of luxury was and still is a paradox, this is about as close as one can get to wearing a quality watch with such a timeless aesthetic - and without breaking the bank.

Brand New Frédérique Constant Classic Manufacture Moonphase With In-House Caliber Watch Releases

We left our absolute favorite bit for the last: the Frédérique Constant Classic Manufacture Moonphase comes with a hunter style case back, meaning that there is a lid – decorated with perlage on its inside, as it should be – that can be closed for some solid and restrained looks (and some - though with today's manufacturing technologies, negligible - added protection to the movement), or opened to show off the quite extensively decorated caliber underneath.

Brand New Frédérique Constant Classic Manufacture Moonphase With In-House Caliber Watch Releases

Frédérique Constant is not afraid to take some of its most notable design elements – like the perfectly round case that appears slightly "inflated" on its sides, the beautifully shaped lugs, and the onion crown – and mix and match it with remarkably successful designs from the past. The Frédérique Constant Classic Manufacture Moonphase watch will be priced at $3,695 USD or 3,450 Swiss francs for the version in steel, and the price of the rose gold plated model is $3,995 or 3,800 Swiss francs. frederiqueconstant.com

What do you think?
  • I want it! (5)
  • Thumbs up (1)
  • Interesting (0)
  • Classy (0)
  • I love it! (0)
  • Nothing not to like if you are in market for a dress watch with an in-house movement at a reasonable-for-what-it-is price. The hunter’s case is an unexpected but nice addition.

  • iamcalledryan

    A nice model and price with the officer’s caseback as a treat. I am confused about FC, I always considered them to be a bit too far down the quartz route but this has me second-guessing them.

  • BIG CHRONO

    Their watches are nicely niched, & this is also the house of Alpina.

  • JosephWelke

    I like this watch. Classic looks, moon phase, hunter back (?!) and an in-house movement. Well done FC.

  • SuperStrapper

    Not a fan of the hunter caseback: it will just add unnecessary overall thickness, and the seal and hinges will just eventually get gummed up with wrist smegma. Other than that, this is a nice offering from a brand I don’t dislike, but rarely regard.

    • iamcalledryan

      Those sorts of casebacks do not tend to add much to the thickness, and in this models case it’s on 11.17mm thick so pretty decent. As for the smegma! I have seen 50 yr old pateks with no hinge issues – they tend to be designed so the hinge is very discreet.

      • SuperStrapper

        Smegma is essentially a product of moisture. It cannot be thwarted by discreetness. If you wear it regularly, it will happen, without a doubt. The 50 year Patek had either been cleaned, or very rarely worn: likely both.

        • iamcalledryan

          I guess some people don’t clean their wrists regularly? That’s multiple well-worn Pateks I refer to…

          • SuperStrapper

            Not worth arguing over. You can’t make me appreciate hunter cases, I can’t make you believe in the power of smegma.

          • iamcalledryan

            By the power of smeeeeegmaaaaa!

          • srs144

            Speaking of Pateks, FC did a nice job copying the design of the PP 2497. That said, if this exact watch with a Patek 324 movement in it and Patek on the dial were in steel, it would be 15-20x the price and sold out.

          • iamcalledryan

            Yes it’s a bit like the 2497 and the 5153 combined, but enough to of its own thing to stand proud I say.

    • egznyc

      Wrist smegma – did you coin it? Gross but good.

      • SuperStrapper

        No, just adopted it. I also enjoy the disgusting goodness of it when used appropriately. I’ll have to tip my hat to out very own Ariel Adams for that one. A long forgotten article on a long forgotten watch many years ago.

        • egznyc

          Kudos, then, to Ariel!

        • somethingnottaken

          When used appropriately…. I hear it makes a great sauce on vegetables.

          • SuperStrapper

            I do believe I just threw up in my mouth somewhat.

  • Larry Holmack

    Very nice…love the hunter case-back…and the steel version is really not overpriced!!! Very well written article David!!

  • WINKS

    Ditch the gold plating, upgrade your heritage, hand finish the movement and increase prices… Maybe then, people will take FC more seriously!

    • Beefalope

      In other words, screw the unwashed masses and their foolish desires for luxury timepieces at something remotely approaching sensible prices. Instead, go to solid gold, which is very expensive and hardly a great material for watches. And how exactly does a company go about upgrading its heritage? And you do realize, right, that hand-finishing is something only within the grasp of truly elite watchmakers? Which company hand-finishes movements and doesn’t charge exorbitant prices?

      Plenty of people take FC seriously. They seem to be doing just fine.

      This is the mistake that us WIS make: we think that these companies actually care about what we think of them. They couldn’t care less. They care what the watch-buying public is willing to spend. You think the people who run Hublot lose a minute of sleep about the reality that WIS think their watches are crap? I’m sure they sleep very restfully knowing that they’re making money hand over fist.

      With all due respect, you’re quite the elitist.

      • WINKS

        Does ‘tongue in cheek’ ring a bell or is that too elitist for you…?

        • egznyc

          Touché. Yep, not sure how one can upgrade their heritage 😉

    • srs144

      While I agree with Beefalope, at the same time, plated watches make me cringe. Steel looks great, just leave it at that. Maybe titanium? But please no plating.

  • Byzness

    I was happy just to see FC add a central seconds hand; but with them including thicker hour markers, hunter case back, AND keeping it affordable too? It’s a must have for a >$5k budget IMO.

  • Beefalope

    FC is really doing some respectable things these days. The prices are reasonable, the movements are well-finished and the designs may not be groundbreaking but are tastefully done. I’d have zero problems buying one of their watches and probably will own one at some point.

    • thelad

      I was with Phoenikz regarding most FC being skipable and their dressier Manufacture pieces being a bit to large but then I went and saw and tried on a Maxime, quickly got over the size issue, bought it and don’t regret it a bit.

  • DanW94

    David, either you have a encyclopedic knowledge of Patek designs or you just remembered your article from a year or so ago….lol
    A nicely written review and good eye on the Patek comparison.

    • egznyc

      David might have both the encyclopedic knowledge of PP and have remembered his own words. ;-). Either way – or both – hats off.

  • Phoenikz

    This is a brand a usually skip over, but this piece has a lot of merit. It’so a touch over-sized for a dress watch, which is unfortunate as everything else (for the asking price) is spot on.

  • Phoenikz

    FC is a brand I usually skip over, but this piece has a lot of merit. It’s a touch over-sized for a dress watch, which is unfortunate as everything else (for the asking price) is spot on.

  • spiceballs

    Nice and seemingly reasonably priced, but the dial does appear (to me) a little “clunky” when unfortunately compared to the Zenith in the same issue. Some lume would be good?

    • egznyc

      I agree the hour markers are a little clunky IMO but some folks like this look a lot. As for lume on a dress watch, for me it can ruin the look. Doesn’t have to but it really can. For me.

      • somethingnottaken

        I think this watch would look better with slimmer (but still applied) hour markers. Lume on dress watches is more often done wrong than right, and unfortunately when done often so little lume is used that the benefit is marginal anyway.

  • Jonathan

    Hope this is ok to post… a whole bunch more on/off wrist photos of the same watch I took earlier this week.
    http://imgur.com/a/99Nbl

    • WImads

      Awesome thanks, just what I was looking for! That looks great on the wrist, perfect proportions! I want one now…

  • baden

    Lovely watch and great review.. But when will it be out ?

    • April

      It’s already out

      • baden

        Super, thanks

  • April

    Great watch ! Love this brand

  • Santiago

    Nice watch, nice price, nice review and nice seeing David back.

  • cheerss

    Very very nice piece. Everything seems to be bang on – the size, stick dial, proportions of the moonphase, lugs, case, movement/balance wheel appearance, beautiful open rotor. First FC that I really like and would consider buying!

    • Raymond de Mystère, fils

      Indeed a lovely watch. How do they do it for those prices? Could it be that rare company that maintains a clear link between production costs and retail prices?

  • Ulysses31

    Too staid for my tastes. As already mentioned, it has a bit of a clunky look, the way those blocky hour markers contrast with the sharp, elegant hands.

  • otaking241

    Great watch! As others have noted, it does seem a bit “chunky,” but that seems like an aesthetic choice in light of the onion crown and hunter case back. The thicker bezel, lugs, and hour markers give it a slightly less dressy appearance, though it’s far from sporty–it just doesn’t look “delicate” the way a Calatrava or dressier watch would. On that level I think it succeeds admirably.

    Now, please add month and day windows below 12 o’clock and you’ve got a near-perfect watch!

  • somethingnottaken

    I was confused by the ‘new’ in the headline until the differences between this watch and the previous slimline moonphase were pointed out. The slightly smaller size is probably a better match for a dressy watch like this, and the hunter case back is a distintive (at this price point anyway) addition. I like the rose gold version, but the dark grey hands and indicies on the stainless model don’t appeal to me – I’d much prefer blued steel.

  • Julius Swerving

    Nothing really unique about the design, but it is a looker. However, I do prefer the previous gen slimline moonphase. If only it was smaller, I’d have one in my watch case.

  • I was hoping that when the Classics Manufacture would gain the moon phase complication it would match its Breguet hands and gilloché dial very well, but not so much this iteration with a Dauphine hands and silver dial…

  • WImads

    I love it! The previous version was already a nice watch, but a bit too dressy for me. However, the more substantial markers and dauphine hands give it a slightly more modern and, dare I say, “sporty” look, which makes it my favorite FC so far! One that could actually fit my style very well!

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