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Frederique Constant - Journey to the Centre of the Earth

Frederique Constant Journey to the Centre of the Earth

A worldtimer to travel the world and a highlife to wear on the wrist: welcome to the latest creations from Frederique Constant

Highlife, the collection relaunched by Frederique Constant, seems to have cannibalised almost all the brand’s back catalogue. This piece, which is very much part of the Zeitgeist, has a lot going for it. It takes a step back from the traditional appearance of the Classics and offers something fundamentally different from the Slimlines. It embraces the sport-chic codes so redolent of the 1980s and 90s, with an aesthetic reminiscent of the Tissot PRS, and a bit of extra horological elegance.

The Essence of Highlife in a 34mm Case

Today, Frederique Constant is adding a Highlife Ladies to the existing range. It’s a welcome development, particularly since the women’s watch segment – across the entire watch industry, not just at Frederique Constant – is dominated by quartz movements and pedestrian decorations of diamonds, aventurines and mother-of-pearl.

The new Highlife Ladies Automatic breaks with this conventional format. The first piece features elegant two-tone steel and gold tones on both case and bracelet (EUR 1,895) in a feminine 34mm diameter. The centre of the dial bears an engraved depiction of the Earth, the aesthetic signature of the Highlife collection. Luminescent markers and hands, along with a date window at 3 o’clock, complete the picture. Like every Highlife, it comes with a metal bracelet and a rubber strap, which can be changed without the need for any tools.

Frédérique Constant voyage au centre de la Terre

Highlife Ladies Automatic © Frederique Constant

All of the gold-plated surfaces are polished, while the steel parts are satin-brushed. The different tones and finishes manage to be both complementary and contrasting. The watch may be small, but it’s full of character. Like its wearer, no doubt.

A second version (EUR 1,995) plays the full gold card. This yellow-gold-plated Highlife takes us straight back to the 1980s, the heyday of this flamboyant style, and its vintage spirit is perfectly in keeping with the tastes of our times. In a different register, the recent Big Bang Integral ‘Time Only’ models surf the same 1980s wave. This new Highlife also comes with a 34mm diameter that should make it easy, if necessary, to slip under a shirt sleeve for greater discretion. That way, you can keep the glitter of its eight diamond markers to yourself.

Frédérique Constant voyage au centre de la Terre

Highlife Ladies Automatic © Frederique Constant

A Globe-Trotting Duo

At the same time, Frederique Constant has announced the obligatory Classics Worldtimer Manufacture, one of the brand’s bestsellers. For exactly ten years (2012-2022), one new model has been released each year, with the exception of 2019, when we were treated to a pair.

2022 marks another exception to the rule. Two new models have been released: one in steel (1888 pieces, EUR 3,895) and the other in rose gold (88 pieces, EUR 16,995).

Frédérique Constant voyage au centre de la Terre

Classics Worldtimer Manufacture © Frederique Constant

So, what’s new? First, it remains one of the most affordable Swiss Made worldtime watches on the market – at least the version in steel. It’s also the first time Frederique Constant has created such a strong contrast between the continents and the oceans. It’s a fine enhancement that gives the dial a strong presence.

The dial is still very cleverly designed, with a day/night disc to replace the usual indicator. The date register at 6 o’clock is exquisitely sunray brushed, but unfortunately, because of its position, it obscures a time zone in the 4 o’clock position. It’s not a critical issue, but it will be interesting to see if this problem is resolved on a future model. The watch is driven by an in-house automatic movement whose decorations are visible through the sapphire case back. 

 

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Frederique Constant has made a successful business out of offering affordable luxury, experiencing growth rates well above the industry average. The owners have a clear mission to make fine watchmaking available to the largest possible audience of watch enthusiasts at sensible prices.

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