Art Deco is one of the most defining styles and cultural movements of the past 100 or so years. It is said to have begun sometime in the 1920s and it spread across all aspects of life, affecting the architecture and the design of everyday items like furniture, appliances, cars, and of course, even watches. The newest Frederique Constant Classics Carrée Automatic watches are an example of design heavily inspired by the Art Deco look of the 1920s.
The Classics Carrée Automatic watches are square-shaped, petite, and were probably designed with ladies in mind. According to Frederique Constant, watches with squared or rectangular dimensions were all the rage in the '20s, and they wanted to bring back the elegance associated with these watches with these new Frederique Constant Classics Carrée Automatic watches.
There are two versions on offer; one in a rose-gold-plated stainless steel case and another in a polished steel case. The Classics Carrée Automatic measures a slim 30.4mm across, while the lug-to-lug measurement is just 33.3mm. To increase wearing comfort, the case has a convex shape to allow it to sit closer to the wrist. The case is water resistant to 30m, so best to keep them away from water. The rose-gold-plated one comes with a dark brown leather strap, while the polished stainless steel version comes with a simple black leather strap.
Both versions of the Frederique Constant Classics Carrée Automatic have the same dial design. The dial is silver and the center portion has a guilloché decoration. Surrounding this guilloché center portion is a simple railroad-style minutes track. And on the periphery of the dial, we have large hour markers rendered in Roman numerals. Time is read using the hand-polished black Breguet style hands. Finally, the highlight of the dial has got to be what Frederique Constant likes to call the “heartbeat opening” at 12 o’clock, which gives wearers a glimpse of the swinging balance spring.
Speaking of which, the Classics Carrée Automatic is powered by the Frederique Constant caliber FC-310, a self-winding movement that is likely based on the ETA-2824 or its Sellita equivalent. It beats at 4Hz and has a power reserve of 38 hours. It is also visible through a sapphire display caseback and has a Colimaçon decoration on the bridges.
Longtime readers of aBlogtoWatch will know my feelings toward open dials that show off the balance spring. I find them superfluous and I can’t help but think that the Classics Carrée Automatic will be better served by having a simpler and more conservative dial sans the “heartbeat opening.” Imagine just how much more understated and elegant it would look! Still, I suppose buyers new to mechanical watches will be appreciative of this design quirk, which reminds them every time they look at their wrist that they have a watch that isn’t powered by electricity. The Frederique Constant Classics Carrée Automatic is priced at $1,595. frederiqueconstant.com