If you are an avid reader of our watch blog, you know by now that we only feature watches that we deem worthy talking about. You then also know, that we will feature watches regardless of their price point as long as we like them and as long as we think that they meet certain criteria in terms of craftsmanship and design. One thing we can promise, is that we will never feature fashion watches from Gucci, Ralph Lauren or Burberry in this website. Because of this commitment, we have decided to feature this beautiful Frédérique Constant timepiece, a watch that comes from a 25 year old Swiss manufacture that offers great affordable timepieces fitted with in-house calibres, yes, it is not a typo we are talking about 'in-house calibres'.
Frédérique Constant was established in its current form in 1988. Aletta Bax and Peter Stas launched their first collection in 1992, comprising six models fitted with Swiss movements and assembled by a watchmaker in Geneva. Today, each Frédérique Constant watch is hand-assembled at their manufacture in Plan-les-Ouates in Geneva with an estimated production of 125,000 pieces a year. The name 'Frédérique Constant' comes from two names: Frédérique Schreiner—1881-1969— and Constant Stas—1880-1967. Peter Stas current Managing Director of Frédérique Constant S.A., is a 4th generation descendant of Mr. Constant Stas, who founded his company in 1904, making printed clock dials for the watch industry.
The Frédérique Constant Moontimer ref. FC-330B6B6 is a watch that we've always liked and one that offers a moon phase and date complication in a well balanced, well crafted timepiece. While many like to describe Frédérique Constant timepieces as mere copycats of Pateks or Jaeger-LeCoultres, we like to think of this manufacture as one that is a perfect point of entry into the Swiss made mechanical watches category with a product that follows horological design principles established centuries ago by the fathers of horology, rather than a company that offers watches that pretend to be a look-alike or wannabe of timepieces designed by the leading 'haute horlogerie' manufactures. After reviewing this timepiece, we can say with confidence that you are getting your money's worth, not more not less.
The Frédérique Constant Moontimer ref. FC-330B6B6 is fitted with a nice highly polished stainless steel case measuring 43mm in diameter and 11.4mm in thickness, a black 'calfcroc' strap with deployant buckle and a beautiful black dial with raised white Arabic numerals with luminescent material, central minute chapter ring, red date pointer indicator, moon phase aperture at 6 o'clock and a set of perfectly contrasting leaf-shaped white hands. The dial is nicely finished and the luminescent material on the numbers and hands is quite bright and long lasting. As you know, most watches with this type of design and classical look typically lack of luminescent material at all. The dial is very easy to read and the convex sapphire crystal provides good readability even in poor light conditions.
The Frédérique Constant Moontimer ref. FC-330B6B6 is powered by the in-house automatic calibre FC-330 with 26 jewels which provides a power reserve of 38 hours while beating at a frequency of 28,800 vph. The calibre is very nicely finished considering the inexpensive price point of this watch and even better finished than some calibres we've seen in more well established brands. Kudos to Frédérique Constant for this level of craftsmanship. To make this calibre even better, Frédérique Constant The watch is fitted with a display case back that allows for full view of the calibre and the watch is waterproof to a depth of a 100 meters. Opposed to what you see in some of the more inexpensive watch brands, this watch is individually numbered as it should be.
One great advantage of this watch over other moon phase watches, is that both the date and moon phase are set via the winding crown without the need for any push pieces around the case band. The crown is a screw-down that is easy to grip but somewhat stiff when pulled out to the winding position. Regardless of the stiffness, one positive thing on this movement, besides the fact that it is a hacking one, is that there's no play at all on the hands when setting the time and pushing the crown back in.
The FC Moontimer is fitted with a very nice handmade matte black calf strap that Frédérique Constant refers to as 'calfcroc' because of its apparent crocodile look with large scales. The strap is properly fitted with a very comfortable and well crafted deployant buckle. The buckle is beautifully engraved with the Frédérique Constant logo and features alternating bead-blasted and highly polished areas. The strap wraps very well around the wrist and is perfectly flushed against the edges of the case with a double spring bar system.
On the wrist the watch wears smaller than its actual size and more like a 40mm watch in a very comfortable and solid way. The watch has a nice weight and it's wrist presence is spectacular for the price. If you are ready to break the paradigm that only an expensive watch is worthy of your wrist, we suggest you give this brand a try and see for yourself. At the very least, you'll find this watch to be a nice 'play watch' for those days when the Patek, Vacheron or Jaeger-LeCoultre needs to stay at home or in the safe.
Sticker Price $2,225 USD. For more info on Frederique Constant click here.