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Thread: Frédérique Constant Slimline Gents

  1. #1
    Moderator - Central tribe125's Avatar
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    Frédérique Constant Slimline Gents

    Frédérique Constant? Turn left at Harry Winston - you can't miss it.

    Frédérique Constant's factory is in an industrial park on the outskirts of Geneva, at Chemin du Champs-des-Filles 32. Piaget are at no. 37. Just round the corner, in the splendidly-named Chemin du Tourbillon, you'll find Vacheron Constantin. The watchmakers could queue at the same sandwich van. Patek Phillippe and Rolex are nearby, but their staff might prefer the Café de La Place, which is a bit closer to them. It's Silicon Spring Valley, the Plan-les-Ouates industrial park. If visiting, you can stay at the Hôtel des Horlogers.

    There's more than a hint of Piaget and Patrimony in this slimline FC. Frédérique Constant might not have the originality of its neighbours but it has similar taste - or knows a winning design when it sees one.

    If wealthy, it's almost certain that I would buy a Piaget or Patrimony at some point - probably a Piaget, if I had to choose between the two. Not being wealthy, and having recently decided that thin quartz watches were a good thing, I found myself looking at Frédérique Constant. The Breguet-inspired models were nice, but the contemporary models looked purpose-built for a battery.

    The sunray black (dark grey) and gold-plated white versions are current models, but this one (FC-220NW4S6) isn't. They're far from plentiful, and prices vary, but I paid about half of the original UK price. With me having bought this one, the remaining examples are more expensive...






    The watch

    If you reduce watch design to essentials, this is one of the places you can end up. Hands, batons, date - everything slender, everything elegant. The proportions have to be right, and FC has them spot on.

    The diameter is 37mm - big enough for an average wrist, and an average size for a classic dress watch. The height is 5mm - delectably thin, but as thin as you might want to go. 5 is a good number. 5.1 would have been terrible... The upper case has a podium profile, which stops it looking like an unmilled coin. The lower case has an undercut curve, further emphasising the slim profile.





    The dial is a relaxed off-white, but the tone shifts a little with the light. The hands and indices, with their neat profiles, could have come from one of the grander houses on the estate. Detail and finish are immaculate. General quality doesn't appear to vary with price in the FC collection.

    The (AR-coated) crystal is flat, but that's OK - this is a flat watch. (I think automatic versions might have a convex crystal, but I've only looked at them in passing.)

    The lugs are 20mm - wider than you might expect for a 37mm watch, but they look right. The case-back is a snap-fit, which you would expect.





    The movement is an FC-220, otherwise known as a Ronda 1016. It's an 8 jewel, gold-plated movement and it's Swiss-made (not Swiss parts and assembled abroad like some Ronda movements). The movement thickness (hardly the right word) is 1.9mm.






    Summary

    And that's it - the Slimline is an elegantly understated dress watch with a bit of refinement. There's very little to indicate that it's a modestly priced watch. Sometimes I buy lower-priced watches with no great expectation of keeping them for very long, but I really like this one.

    Thin cases and quartz movements are such an obvious combination that it's almost perverse to make an ultra-thin watch in any other way. But that's the point - "It's almost impossible, but Piaget has done it."

    And for the price of a Ford Mondeo, you could have one. Piaget's canny neighbour is just as remarkable in its way. Few companies sacrifice so little in the way of style and quality while delivering watches at popular prices.

    Frédérique Constant is an admirable company. Attention to detail has remained a priority through twenty-five years of growth. Their prices don't include exaggerated profit margins, and it only took them twenty years to develop a range that goes from quartz to in-house tourbillon.

    Frédérique Constant draw upon a heritage to which they've made no historic contribution, but you don't need an archive in the basement to be inspired by tradition. If you were to take a walk through the glass and steel of the industrial park, you might well conclude that tradition was largely a product of the imagination. What FC do, in making classic watches at sensible prices, they do very well indeed.

    There's plenty of land for expansion at Chemin du Champs-des-Filles. In fact, Frédérique Constant's back door could end up in Chemin du Tourbillon, which would be kind of neat. I hope they don't grow away from quartz. It's perfect for some applications and it's fundamental to practicality, accessibility and value.

  2. #2
    What a Great THREAD Sir! thank you very much and i really enjoy reading it.. =)

    I love how beautiful and simple can look so good and the size is great for smaller wrist like mine... and as it is quartz, its great to not worry about maintenance fee beside battery swap.
    what a sweet thin dress watch... decades ago-- my watches used to be all 2 hands and no second, so i kind of miss these simple watches... hope i can score one someday =)


    once again thank you for sharing sir!

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  4. #3
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    Great write up about an often overlooked watch, from an often overlooked brand. It appears to wear well on the wrist. As subtle as they are, I am not sure the hands could have been chosen any better.

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    Member wschofield3's Avatar
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    Beautiful watch and thank you for the phenomenal review!

  7. #5
    What is the MRSP?

    Edit: Looking at UK prices, I suppose £720 (about $1100). I've found on ebay it going for $448.

    PS not very many months ago £720 was exactly $1200. SIGH.
    Last edited by Der Amf; Feb 15, 2015 at 08:09 AM.

  8. #6
    El bot. geoffbot's Avatar
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    Nice watch, Alan!

    Does Ray have one similar?
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    Member CamB's Avatar
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    Lovely!
    Regards Cam

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    Omega Speedmaster 3510.50, Oris 1965 Diver, Tissot Visodate, Helson Blackbeard, Seiko PADI Turtle, Tag Heuer F1

  10. #8
    Member scottjc's Avatar
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    Excellent write up on a classy watch from an under appreciated brand, thank you for your insight.
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  11. #9
    Great watch but would even be better without the date.
    Cheers,

    Richard

  12. #10
    Moderator - Central tribe125's Avatar
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    Thank you, all.


    Quote Originally Posted by Der Amf View Post
    What is the MRSP?

    Edit: Looking at UK prices, I suppose £720 (about $1100). I've found on ebay it going for $448.
    I found conflicting information on the original RRP, and wasn't sure if this one was priced the same as the existing black version. I paid £275, plus import duty. I found some that appeared to be cheaper at first glance, but on double-checking the model number turned out to be a similar model with stick hands.


    Quote Originally Posted by geoffbot View Post
    Nice watch, Alan!

    Does Ray have one similar?
    Ray has the Breguet-inspired model.


    Quote Originally Posted by Cybotron View Post
    Great watch but would even be better without the date.
    Preferable to some, but not necessarily better, I think. I know what you mean, but the date is well integrated and I might find the dial too pure/empty without it.

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