In a sense, they are the founders of the company, just not directly. The Frederique Constant brand was founded in 1988 by the spouses Stas, Peter and Aletta. Their full names are Peter-Constant and Aletta-Françoise-Frederique. Both Constant and Frederic are present here, and they inherited these non-first components of the names from their great-grandfathers, Constant Stas and Frederic Schreiner. From them the name of the watch brand was formed.
The rise of a new star
Peter and Aletta are Dutchmen. But the company was opened in Switzerland: the office – in Geneva, workshops – nearby, in Plan-les-Ouates. 1988 – one of the last years of the “quartz crisis”. The Stasi set themselves the task: to make mechanical watches, but at a price competitive with quartz. Engaging talented designers, they produced several interesting models. A star rose and lit up.
1994 was the year of a breakthrough. A radical decision was made: the easiest way to prove to the customer that it was not a quartz but mechanics was to show it visually. Namely, by making a window in the dial through which you can see the balance-spiral knot working – the beating heart of the watch. The Heart Beat collection has become a Frederique Constant hallmark. The first model of this collection was released in 1995. In 2004 the company created its first own mechanism – FC-910 self-winding open-balance movement. Nowadays Heart Beat Manufacture family of movements counts nine designs, a number of which are completed in a very complex way. Thus, FC-985 has the following functions: hours, minutes, seconds, date, moon phases and the second time zone (in the 24-hour format). The movement is equipped with a Heart Beat tourbillon, the escapement is made of silicon.
A star with a star says
Frederique Constant’s ambassadors include many world-class stars. In 2016, the Oscar-winning Gwyneth Paltrow joined them. She even participated in the design of six new Ladies Automatic models.
And since 2004, the brand has been supporting vintage car races around the world and annually launches new limited edition Vintage Rally watches. All these 15 years the brand’s collaboration with Austin Healey automobile company lasts. The new Vintage Rally Chronograph comes in a gift box with a miniature Healey NOJ393 model.
Today, Frederique Constant has about 300 models in its brandbook, male and female. Some of them are still powered by quartz, others are based on ETA movements, and more than 60 models are equipped with “house” mechanics. The pride of the company is the Hybrid Manufacture watches. “We were the first to combine a manufactured watch caliber with the functionality of a smart watch,” says Peter Stas. Both the mechanical and electronic modules of the FC-750 were created entirely within the company’s walls.
Here are a few Frederique Constant models from the AllTime range.
Heart Beat Ladies Automatic (Art. No. FC-310HBAND2P4). FC-310 Heart Beat automatic caliber, power reserve 38 hours. Hours, minutes, seconds. Case in steel, pink gold plated, 34 mm diameter, water resistant to 60 meters. Sapphire crystal on both sides. Blue dial with sunburst decoration and eight diamonds. Open balance-spiral knot. Blue alligator strap.
Vintage Rally Healey Automatic (Art. No. FC-303WGH5B6). FC-303 Heart Beat self-winding caliber with a power reserve of 38 hours. Three hands, date. Steel case, 40mm diameter, water-resistant to 50m. Sapphire crystal. Caseback with engraved Austin Healey car image. Silver dial, luminous hands and markers. Black leather strap. 2,888 copies.
Slimline Moonphase (Art. No. FC-206MPWD1S6). FC-206 quartz movement. Hours, minutes, phases of the moon. Steel case, 30mm diameter, 7.7mm thick, water resistant to 30 meters. Sapphire crystal, crown set with a sapphire cabochon. Dial in mother-of-pearl, set with 8 diamonds. Leather strap.
Classics Moonphase (Art. No. FC-335MC4P5). FC-335 Heart Beat self-winding caliber with a power reserve of 38 hours. Three hands, date, phases of the moon. Steel case, yellow gold plated, 40mm diameter, 10mm thick, water resistant to 60m. Sapphire crystal on both sides. Silver guilloche dial. Open balance-spiral knot. Brown alligator strap.
Hybrid Manufacture (ref. FC-750DG4H6). FC-750 self-winding caliber, 42-hour power reserve; FC-750 electronic module, 7-day battery life. Hours, minutes, seconds, date, activity monitoring, sleep phase monitoring, dynamic coach, GMT, mechanical analysis, battery end-of-life indication, push-button installation. Steel case, 42 mm diameter, sapphire crystal on both sides, water-resistant to 50 meters. Dial in dark gray guilloche, silver applied indexes, polished silver hands with white luminescent coating. Dark gray alligator strap. Edition: 888 copies.