Frédérique Constant Shoots for the StarsBy Sophie Furley
Frédérique Constant has always been particularly strong in the women’s segment with 35% to 40% of its production dedicated to women. The brand equips some of its ladies’ models with quartz or smart technology, but this latest release features a brand-new mechanical in-house movement for those who appreciate the inside of a timepiece as much as the outside.
Frédérique Constant has been developing its stable of manufacture movements since 2001 and this new movement brings the number of different in-house movements to an impressive 26.
This new collection — named the Slimline Moonphase Stars Manufacture — comes in a choice of a 38.5mm stainless-steel case with a black dial, or in a rose-gold plated case with a midnight blue dial and matching strap. Both versions are adorned with 51 diamonds around the bezel and on the dial, and feature gold-colored stars on the dial and a big moon phase at 12 o’clock.
The inspiration for the collection came from the brand’s co-founder Aletta Stas who has been fascinated by the stars since a small child. “I wanted to do something different and I was inspired by astronomy, the stars and the moon. These are things that make me dream. As a kid I used to look at the stars and wonder. This inspired me as a watch is also a piece of jewelry, which makes you dream too, and I thought how nice it would be to reflect all this on a dial.”
The production of the timepiece took around six months, which is surprisingly rapid, but with such a full-scale in-house production, there was nothing to hold Stas back, especially when the designs turned out just as she had dreamed them to be. “For a creative person it is really nice to do all this in-house. If your company makes its own movements you can go really fast.”
The presentation took place at the Côte d’Azur Observatory, a 130-year old working astrophysics and astronomy laboratory and historical monument designed by two of France’s most respected architects – Gustave Eiffel, the man behind the Eiffel Tower, and Charles Garnier who designed the ornate Paris Opera House and the Monte Carlo Casino.
In addition to the new launch presentation, Frédérique Constant invited Professor Jean-Pierre Rivet, the astrophysicist in charge of the observatory, to the stage where he explained the history of the observatory and also shared how understanding time is one of the major challenges in understanding the universe. He ended his presentation by opening the roof of the observatory to the amazement of the entire audience.
The evening ended with a look through one of Rivet’s telescopes — not the big one unfortunately — but one that was powerful enough to see Saturn and its glowing rings. We discover that Saturn is also visible to the naked eye, if you know where to look. and that planets are easy to pinpoint because they don’t twinkle like stars. Am I the only person who did not know this?
After staring for quite some time at the sky above, contemplating the mysteries of time and space, I too fall under the charm of the night’s sky. How wonderful it must be to have a little piece of this on your wrist, although I do wonder, if I were lucky enough to own this timepiece, I would probably waste my day away looking at it!