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Frederique Constant Manufacture Slimline Moonphase Watch Review

Frederique Constant Manufacture Slimline Moonphase Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

This isn’t going to be a typical aBlogtoWatch review, because this is a watch I made myself. Given that little fact, and some added personalization, I have special feelings toward this Frederique Constant Slimline Moonphase watch. So, what I will do in this review is discuss the timepiece itself and then some of the qualities that make it different from what you can buy. That more or less means you aren’t going to be able to make one yourself, unless you are really, really lucky.

In the late Spring of 2013, I traveled with an aBlogtoWatch audience member to Frederique Constant in Geneva in order to build a watch. This was the result of a giveaway we did in December of 2012, which promised that one lucky person would travel with me to Geneva to learn how to build a watch and take the result home with them. In fact, the winner Andrew even wrote an article here on his experience. So, with that in mind, let’s talk about the Manufacture Slimline Moonphase watch that I happen to know rather well inside and out.

Frederique Constant Manufacture Slimline Moonphase Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The Manufacture Slimline Moonphase combines a lot of great elements in one timepiece. First, it is elegant and dressy. Second, it is modern in its size. Third, it is relatively slim for an automatic watch. Fourth, it contains an in-house made automatic movement. And fifth, relatively speaking, it is quite affordably priced. Together, that makes for rather nice argument when posing a Manufacture Slimline watch (Moonphase version or otherwise) against the competition.

At 42mm wide, it can be said that the Slimline Moonphase wears large (which is a good thing in my opinion) due to the rather slim bezel. However, the more conservatively spaced lugs allow it to wear in traditional manner. So, all in all, it balances out to a solidly “42mm wide” looking case. I wouldn’t call Slimline Moonphase “ultra slim” because it is not. The case is 11.3mm thick, but it happens to wear very low on the wrist. Part of this is due to the bowl-like design of the case where it is thicker in the middle but slimmer toward the edges.

Frederique Constant Manufacture Slimline Moonphase Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Frederique Constant Manufacture Slimline Moonphase Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Design-wise, the slightly unique case is matched to an elegant dial, no doubt inspired by some of last century’s most iconic dress watches. While the dial feels familiar, it is also very approachable and familiar looking. A lot of that has to do with the thin needle-style hands and applied baton hour markers. They are legible, but create a great sense of open space on the dial due to their slim sizes. Breaking up the simplicity of the face is a date indicator subdial that includes a moonphase indicator. If there is anything else I could ask for on the dial, it would be a day of the week and month indicator via small windows under the Frederique Constant logo to make this a lovely triple date moonphase dial.

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Inside the watch is Frederique Constant’s in-house made and designed caliber FC-705 automatic movement. The movement is essentially the Frederique Constant caliber FC-710 (inside the Classics Manufacture watch reviewed here) with a moonphase and without the central seconds hand. The movement operates at 4Hz (28,800 bph) with 42 hours of power reserve. In fact, this family of movements is perhaps the least expensive Swiss Made calibers produced within the area of Geneva.

Frederique Constant Manufacture Slimline Moonphase Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

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  • CenterSweep

    The Frederique Constant Classics Manufacture was my first in house purchase.  I love the watch and I feel a deep appreciation for the brand as a whole given their commitment towards accessibility.  What’s a broke watch lover to do right?  Great job on the moon phase Mr. Adams, I remember watching the video you shot of yourself and your guest working in the FC manufacture.  Hopefully Patek or JLC does something similar in the future!

  • LapYoda

    I can’t believe it’s been a year since we went on this trip and made these watches!  Since then, my FC Slimline Moonphase has been in my regular watch rotation and I have worn it weekly.  Some observations:

    1) It keeps great time.  Like Ariel’s watch, mine was also finely regulated by Pim, and has essentially chronometric performance.  It’s hard to accurately tell without a seconds hand, but I don’t have to set this one like I do my other autos.  I don’t miss the second hand, and I think one would make it look more cluttered.

    2) It’s big, and wears bigger.  The blue dial keeps it from looking gigantic, but a big dial and thin bezel make for a substantial appearance on the wrist.  I know from the forums that the size has been a dealbreaker for others who likewise are drawn to the looks, and I think a 39-40 mm version would sell like hotcakes.  Thickness, though, has not been an issue because, as Ariel says, it wears low on the wrist given the case shape.

    3) It’s more comfortable on the bracelet.  I luckily received both the leather strap (genuine alligator, for those who doubt it) and the steel bracelet which has only this year been released to the public.  It looks more dressy on the leather but is a better daily wearer on the bracelet.  I keep it mostly on the latter.

    This has been a very popular piece with a lot of good press and owner reviews, and I like what FC is doing with their approach to accessible but still luxurious watches.  If they could take the size down a couple millimeters, I think that would answer most of the major criticisms of this particular model.

  • Basically every watch nut’s wet dream: travel to a manufacture and assist in building a watch of your choosing, having it personalized by a master.

  • ZL

    Not winning that giveaway still hurts! But it’s really cool to finally see this review. Congratulations on making a beautiful watch!

  • jjnov

    So freakin jealous. That is awesome.

  • bostonusurf

    When u say “hopefully JLC does something similar” maybe u want to try the JLC moon 39 ???

  • timekeeper703

    Very nice……I have this watch in steel with blue dial.  Obviously for the price, this is not at the level of other
    manufactures this watch reminds us of.  However, it is very well finished (case and dial). Movement is industrial looking,
    but FC admits that, which is why they can keep in house movements at good price.  My favorite part about this movement……..quick set date and moon phase adjustment……..no stylus needed.  Something I wish the JLC did.

  • magnumgourmet

    In your inactions with FC, did they discuss the reasoning for not including a seconds hand?

  • magnumgourmet

    Sorry, interactions.

  • Fraser Petrick

    I recently bought an inexpensive watch with no seconds hand. At first I thought this was going to be weird; this is going against character, what with my being anal-retentive about the EXACT time.  In fact, it made it a little more fascinating :  is this watch working or not? And then I would have to stare at the minute hand for thirty seconds to detect any movement. Next I have to see if I can cope with a watch with no minute markers… This FC is gorgeous!

  • CenterSweep

    bostonusurf

    I’m sorry!  I should have been more clear; all I meant was that I hoped that Patek or JLC would allow A Blog to Watch to come in (hopefully with a guest) and work in their manufactures for a bit.  It would be a great insight I’m sure, and some lucky dude would take home a true heirloom piece.  Sorry again for the confusion.

  • spiceballs

    Nice ones Ariel and Lapyoda  and FC.

  • thornwood36

    Gorgeous from every angle, The inclusion of a second hand in this piece i think would spoil the overall unfussy look of face. The moon phase is a lovely addition.

  • TomBew

    Does this need 21mm strap?
    At 39-40mm I’d be a lot more interested.

  • LapYoda

    TomBew Yes, it takes a 21mm strap.

  • Wow, that really is stunning!  I agree with you TomBew, I think it would looker better at 39-40mm 🙂

  • Skeletor

    Very nice watch.

  • notasnob

    I recently purchased the rose gold plated version with the white face. I love it. I don’t have the anal retentive problem as some who posted earlier regarding the second hand. However, when I purchased the watch, I kind of wanted a second hand more for practical reasons. Everyone once in awhile I need to time something in the kitchen and it is nice just to look at my watch. That said, my microwave and my stove both have timers so I really don’t need a second hand on my watch 99.99% of the time.

    That said, the watch is much more attractive without the second hand. It is absolutely beautiful. I can’t quite bring myself to spend the money on a PP and I find that FC delivers the kind of style that I like, without making me feel like I have a car on my wrist.

    As for the size, I have relatively slim wrists, and even at 42MM, it looks great. Today’s styles of really big watches make this look reasonable in size.

  • Dan Finch

    I have one just like this except with the Sweep seconds hand instead of the moonphase indicator. I agree it is a beautiful watch and movement, especially for the price, but unfortunately I had problems with it, just as I’ve had problems with my other 2 Maximes with the similar FC700 series movements (without the seconds hand.) I want to love this manufacture movement but alas, I have not had good experiences with any of the three I’ve owned. In all cases they required service prematurely. So I feel that in this price range a nice ETA or Selitta movement is the better choice! The crown winding is very hard winding on all these, and after a while become unwindable! My blue slimline had to be completely overhauled by a local master watchmaker within only 6 months of occasional use. Out of alignment gears caused four times more drag than normal making it stop frequently in the same place. It was caught early enough that it didn’t cause too much wear. The watch was bought new from Jomashop.com for $1600, who failed to repair it and refused to replace it. Factory warranty did not cover. So $350 later it is running OK and I’ll keep my fingers crossed. The first Maxime required service after a couple years due hard winding and mainspring losing 75% of power. The second maxime broke an internal part within a couple years, requiring return to factory who lost the watch and took 6 months to replace after involving the CEO. All watchmakers found a lot of metal dust after relatively short periods which I think indicates either a lot of drag and wear with this design or manufacturing problems.

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