Frederique Constant Watches
Who is Frederique Constant?
Geneva watchmaker Frederique Constant is globally recognised for its affordably priced watches and its variety of meticulously crafted complications. Some of its most notable timepieces are those from the Classics collection, not to mention popular models from the Slimline family such as the Slimline Moonphase and Slimline Perpetual Calendar. Frederique Constant is also well-known for creating wristwatches from the highly sought-after Manufacture collection. Some attributes to the brand’s success to date include its intricately crafted movements made in-house, its hybrid Smartwatch and its many sophisticated complication watches. Aside from appealing to lovers of the elegant dress watch, the Swiss manufacturer also gears its timepieces to the mid-range market, offering all the hallmarks of a luxury wristwatch at a fraction of the price compared to some of the most prestigious names in the industry.
One element that makes Frederique Constant a unique manufacturer within an already highly competitive market is the fact that the Swiss brand is involved in each part of the watchmaking process. From the first initial pencil sketches of a watch’s design to its final assembly and packaging, the brand logo emblazoned upon the surface of every dial of a Frederique Constant watch is a symbol of authenticity and independent manufacture. The company uses its own cutting-edge computer-aided software to assist with the development process of every watch and can lay claim to over 21 in-house calibres since 2004. The company also hand assembles each component using the latest equipment before subjecting each timepiece to a line of stringent tests to determine its resistance, robustness, strength, endurance and performance.
The History of Frederique Constant
Frederique constant has been focusing on creating affordable luxury watches since 1988. Having recently expanded its manufacturing facilities in Geneva, enabling it to create its own in-house movements, the brand has grown its already large selection of timepieces further, appealing to all kinds of watch collectors. From simple three-handed dress watches to highly complex watches like tourbillon perpetual calendars, the company demonstrates diversity with a portfolio that appeals on a universal level. The luxury watch manufacturer was founded by entrepreneur Peter and his wife Aletta Stas. The married Zurich couple shared a vision for creating exceptionally beautiful, handcrafted Swiss watches that were affordable to the modern lady and gent, not just the wealthy. Interestingly, this deep-seated passion already ran in the family. Their great grandparents, Frédérique Schreiner and Constant Stas had owned their own company back in 1904 specialising in crafting watch dials. It took Frederique Constant four years to launch its first collection and another two years to release the Heart Beat watch, recognised for its exposed balance wheel put on show through the watch’ dial side. After the long-endured quartz crisis which swept throughout the Swiss watch industry creating a devastating effect on mechanical watch manufacture during the 60s and 70s, Frederique Constant’s Heart Beat watch was a welcomed design, reigniting a passion for traditional Swiss watches once again. The balance wheel, exposed through the front of the watch boasted some of the complexities of a Frederique Constant watch and the skill behind the company’s driving force.
In 2002 the brand took over Swiss sports watch company, Alpina who, at the time, was only operating in Germany. As a result of the new change-over, the brand was brought back to Switzerland once again and was relaunched on a global scale, reviving its heritage and innovating new models under the management. One milestone for Frederique Constant over the following ten years was its release of a tourbillon movement with a Silicium escape wheel. which was both lightweight and reduced the risk of oils spreading to other parts of the movement.
How Frederique Constant watches are made.
Since expanding its watchmaking facilities, Frederique Constant watches are now crafted in a 32,000 square foot facility. Adding to the company’s rich heritage in Haute Horlogerie, each watchmaker has attended Geneva’s most prominent watchmaking schools located in La Chaux de Fonds. Each successful timepiece, as a result, is a combination of this exquisite know-how and a natural passion for the art of Swiss watchmaking.
Behind the scenes at the brand’s Geneva-based facilities, numerically controlled machines and skilled workmanship come into practice. The assembly of each calibre, the extensive quality control of each timepiece, the movement component production and watch assembly are all carried out under one roof. The manufacturing facilities are divided into four parts to complete each stage of the process. The workshop is where each watch’s initial design is first discussed between every team of the Frederique Constant family; marketing and sales, employees, workshops, craftsmen and communications to name just a few. The design will then translate into a drawing before the planning and the preparations of the watch’s specification begin, followed by the final prototype.
Computer-aided design software brings each Frederique Constant watch to life before it has even undergone the manufacturing process. Designers and technicians can see how the watch will look once every intricate component comes together. The designer builds a model of the wristwatch, adding the structural components of the watch layer by layer on the screen. The diameter of a hole on the plate, for this reason, must be exact down to the micrometre, as must the weight of the rotor and the finishing on the bridge and so on.
Once the prototype of the Frederique Constant watch has been passed, it enters a delicate stage assisted by a highly sophisticated piece of technology – the CNC machine. The mechanical calibre is built-up step by step by the brand’s mirco-mechanical engineers who study each piece before assembling it into place with utmost precision. The settings of the prototype may require many adjustments before the final piece is complete, demonstrating the level of analytical skill and precision required by the company’s highly skilled engineers.
The intricate and decorative work seen in the movement of every Frederique Constant movement is carried out by hand, including the detailed engravings and the traditional surface textures and techniques such as the circular Cotes de Geneve, rhodiage and perlage effects. It is the end result of these meticulous, carefully controlled processes that create something exceptional in every Frederique Constant watch.
Who do Frederique Constant watches appeal to?
First and foremost, Frederique Constant creates timepieces that are both beautiful and affordable, therefore collectors who like their money to go a long way will be keen to invest in a Frederique Constant watch. Many watches developed solely in-house by an independent Swiss watch manufacturer come at a premium price, making those from Frederique Constant remarkably good value for money. The prices of a Frederique Constant watch can vary from around 1400 AUD to 2200 AUD.
Secondly these wristwatches are geared towards those who like to appreciate the beauty and joy of owning a mechanically-powered wristwatch. Many of the movements developed by the Swiss watchmaker are put on show through transparent casebacks crafted from anti-reflective sapphire crystal glass. Collectors of Frederique Constant watches can therefore rest assured that the “Swiss Made” mark is true to its word.
Popular Frederique Constant watches
Frederique Constant has developed a huge range of timepieces since it launched in 1988. One of the most popular is its Classics collection. Known as “the gentleman’s watch” and defined by clean lines and parred back dial designs for a simplistic look on the wrist, these timepieces are, by far, some of the manufacturer’s most traditional-looking. Values underpinned in each watch from the Classics collection include reliability and durability. The models come in a variety of Roman numeral and index variations, set against silver, blue and black dials. Some models from the Frederique Constant Classics collection feature a day-date aperture at 3 o’clock, others just a date window. These understated models are perfect for pairing with office attire and are available on a range of different coloured leather straps and metal bracelets. For something a little more luxurious and stand-out, the Classics watch can also be found in a yellow gold-plated version. The calibre FC-303 powers some watches belonging to the Classics line. Based on a Sellita movement, it offers a 38-hour power reserve, however, there are quartz alternatives and GMT models available from the range also.
The Frederique Constant Slimline collection, as its namesake suggests, is home to timepieces developed with an especially slim case design. This feature alone makes them perfect for slipping underneath the cuff of a work shirt, but adding to their elegance more so are timeless dial designs. Whilst some simple models feature just three hands and a set of stick markers outlining the hour track, others feature a beautifully decorated moonphase indicator at the south of the dial. With its ability to display the moon as it is seen in the night sky each evening, the Frederique Constant Slimline Moonphase watch is the ideal dress watch to combine with best attire. Options between stainless steel or gold-plated case are offered, as well as a variety of different dial colours and ladies versions adorned in diamonds around the bezel. The Frederique Constant Slimline watch can be worn on a 7-link stainless steel bracelet with a folding clasp but is also featured on a range of coloured alligator leather straps in shades that include deep blue, black or dark brown.