One of the most useful complications in Frederique Constant’s catalogue, well-timed for the increasing travel, is the world timer. The familiar Frederique Constant Classics Worldtimer Manufacture features a globe dominating the dial centre, framed by double rings of 24-hour time and cities, giving the wearer a commanding view of times in all 24 time zones at a glance. A notable difference from many other brands that use this layout though, is that everything can be set from a single crown without a pusher in sight, courtesy of its in-house calibre beating within.
To celebrate the 10th year of its Classics Worldtimer Manufacture, which was launched in 2012, Frederique Constant released a new version this year that merged design elements of the Classics Worldtimer Manufacture and last year’s Highlife Worldtimer. The result, the Highlife Vintage Worldtimer Manufacture, with black dial markings against a silvered dial, was released in a limited run of 10 pieces. It sold out in under 50 minutes. Frederique Constant is now releasing a second version, with blue indices instead of black, this time in a limited edition of 100 pieces.
The Highlife Vintage Worldtimer Manufacture retains the modern round face on a tonneau case of one parent (Highlife), paired with a dressier dial inspired by the other. Both the world map of the Classics and the meridian motif of the Highlife has been set aside for clous de Paris finish at dial centre — it’s a cleaner look that sits beautifully with the sunray guilloche date subdial. And Breguet hands? Yes, please. The watch is paired with a brown ostrich leather strap, and also comes with a navy blue rubber strap that matches the dial markings; both can be swapped easily, tool-free.
Kudos to Frederique Constant for paying more than lip service to its motto, “Let More People Enjoy Luxury”. No other watch company comes to mind for offering such a diversity of watches across such a broad spread of prices, from simple quartz models priced in the low hundreds, to mechanical complications and five-figure tourbillons which nevertheless deliver outstanding value from where they stand on the price ladder. Innovation too, endear us to the brand: since its founding in 1988, Frederique Constant has grown into a fully-integrated manufacture, having successfully developed no less than 31 in-house calibres, among which are high complications such as the tourbillon, perpetual calendar, and flyback chronograph. It is also one of the early adopters of silicon, and has even created a single-piece escapement fashioned from silicone, beating at 40Hz.
This zeal for innovation is evident in the Highlife Vintage Worldtimer Manufacture, in more ways than one: stitching together contrasting design elements from a modern sporty watch like the Highlife and the classically-styled Classics is a brave thing to do, somewhat like mixing Heavy Metal with Classical music. The latter’s been done before, and done well. We think that to be the case here too, and those who bought out the first version of the Highlife Vintage Worldtimer Manufacture in under 50 minutes, agree. Moreover, a worldtimer that is so easy to use and set, with an in-house movement, that does not break the bank… is as refreshing as a blast of Vivaldi from a punk guitar.
Movement: Self-winding FC-718, 4Hz, 38-hour power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, worldtimer
Case: 41mm x 12.9mm; stainless steel; display caseback; water-resistant up to 50m
Straps: Brown ostrich leather strap, and additional navy blue rubber strap
Availability: Limited edition of 100 pieces each