November 28, 2010
by Ariel Adams
Back in 2009 I wrote about the in-house FC-700 automatic movement by Frederique Constant, as well as the Maxime Manufacture watch that it came in. Since then Frederique Constant released the Maxime Manufacture watch (in steel at 42mm wide), and the Maxime Manufacture Lady (in various materials at 39mm wide). Here you see images of them both. For under $3,000 (about $4,500 even for fancy versions with diamonds), this is a really nice deal for a manufacture movement.
I admire the decoration on the movement and the rotor for the price, and that the brand takes the movement seriously. The watch itself is very classic and simple. The idea is for it to be easy to live with, comfortable, and traditional in appearance. Instead of just being a three-hand watch, it tells the time (no seconds), and the date. The layout and choice might be a bit quirky, but the brand needed to separate themselves from everyone else who was doing an in-house movement. I assumed (and still assume), that the movement will serve as a base for future complications. Perhaps in 2011 we will see that. 2010 didn’t see too much new “in-house” action on the Frederique Constant side, but sister brand Alpina did have some in-house movements to show off.
The Maxime Manufacture Lady is elegant, but not in a highly feminine way. I mean it does have mother-of-pearl, and diamonds, but it is basically a shrunken down men’s model with jewelry accents. This isn’t necessarily bad, but it better suited toward women who want a woman’s version of a men’s watch. Plus, there are certainly men who will be happy to wear a 39mm wide watch like this with the jewelry elements. I hear stories that brands tell me about the Asian market where men are often drawn to pieces such as this. That is why you see so many watches referred to as being “unisex.” That way the pieces don’t corner themselves into a gender role. The strap on these women’s pieces is galuchat (stingray).
What initially drew me to the Maxime Manufacture collection was the attractive movement, guilloche engraved dial, and smooth looking case. Those elements are still my favorite parts of the watch. Frederique Constant should focus on adding complication, testing new hands, and playing with the dial when moving forward with future iterations of the Maxime Manufacture collection. Prices for the steel men’s models are $2,500, which is a pretty nice value (overall most of the pieces from the brand are a nice value).
See Frederique Constant watches on eBay here.