Frederique Constant spins tracks and escapements at Dubai Watch WeekFergus Nash
- For Dubai Watch Week, Frederique Constant have issued three new references in continued celebration of their 35th anniversary.
- The first two are a collaboration with French DJ and brand ambassador The Avener.
- The third is a new blue and rose gold colour scheme for their Highlife Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar Manufacture.
Although Frederique Constant have now been around for 35 years, it seems like they’ve only recently began to find a real rhythm. 2023 in particular has seen a torrent of quality releases, from the colourful and playful Highlife Automatic to the stoic and sophisticated Classic Tourbillon Meteorite. For Dubai Watch Week 2023, Frederique Constant have come out with another three new references including a club-ready DJ collaboration and a fresh, limited edition of their Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar.
The Avener is a deep house DJ from France, who became an ambassador for Frederique Constant’s Highlife collection last year. Now, he’s finally got two of his own limited edition watches. The 39mm Highlife case can only be described as sleek, even though its inspiration comes from the integrated bracelet shapes of the 1970s. Rather than feeling kitschy, it’s thoroughly contemporary. A majority of brushed surfaces allow the polished bezel and bracelet links to stand out, trickling in some glamour while still being ready for streetwear. It’s also built with both comfort and performance in mind, being only 10.34mm tall with 100m of water resistance.
The Avener’s influence is all over the dials, each boldly depicting a pixelated audio visualiser. You’ll often see visualisers like this on audio and DJ equipment, so it’s an obvious choice for this collaboration. The words “a tempo” appear above the date window at 6 o’clock, which in music notation means to return to the original speed. The DLC-coated case uses a grey and black theme with a circular pattern, while the raw steel case takes a shade of blue symbolic of The Avener’s first album The Wanderings of The Avener. The best part about these watches is that there’s nothing that’s too overtly linked to The Avener, so any fan of electronic music could easily wear it and love it. They’re powered by the FC-303, which is based on the Sellita calibre SW200-1. It won’t blow anyone away with 38 hours of power reserve and a 4Hz beat rate, but they’ve got a great reputation for reliability, accuracy, and serviceability.
The third release for Frederique Constant during Dubai Watch Week is on a completely different level of style and substance, costing almost 20 times as much for good reason. The Frederique Constant Highlife Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar Manufacture has been given a sultry makeover with a dark blue matte dial, and an 18k rose gold case. This combination speaks of luxurious settings, begging to be worn at dinner parties or trips to the theatre. The dial layout feels elegant, grouping the subdials closer together than most perpetual calendar displays. The pointer date and weekday indicator support the month and leap-year indicator above it, while the open tourbillon is framed by a thick gold bezel, cropped at the overlaps. The calibre FC-975 is manufactured in-house and ironically has the same power reserve and beat rate as the SW200-1, albeit with much more complication and far better finishing.
Frederique Constant Dubai Watch Week Highlife collection pricing and availability
The Frederique Constant Highlife Automatic The Avener watches are each limited to 432 pieces, in reference to an alternative tuning system which some musicians prefer. The black-coated version will be exclusive to Frederique Constant’s NYC flagship store from March 2024. The Highlife Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar Manufacture is limited to just 35 pieces, and will be available in January 2024. Price: US$2,295 (Highlife Automatic The Avener in steel), US$2,495 (Highlife Automatic The Avener in black), US$48,995 (Highlife Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar Manufacture)
|Model||Highlife Automatic The Avener
Highlife Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar Manufacture
|Case Dimensions||39mm (D) x 10.34mm (T) (Automatic)
41mm (D) x 12.65mm (T) (Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar)
|Case Material||Stainless steel or DLC-coated stainless steel (Automatic)
18k rose gold (Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar)
|Water Resistance||100 metres (Automatic)
30 metres (Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar)
|Dial||Black or blue audio visualiser graphic (Automatic)
Blue (Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar)
|Strap||Steel bracelet and black rubber strap (Automatic steel)
Black rubber and nubuck leather (Automatic black)
Blue alligator and rubber straps (Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar)
|Movement||FC-303, Sellita SW200 base, automatic (Automatic)
FC-975, in-house, automatic (Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar)
|Power Reserve||38 hours|
|Functions||Hours, minutes, seconds, date (Automatic)
Hours, minutes, seconds, perpetual calendar, tourbillon (Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar)
|Availability||432 pieces in each colour, black is NYC boutique exclusive (Automatic)
35 pieces (Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar)
|Price||US$2,295 (Automatic steel)
US$2,495 (Automatic black)
US$48,995 (Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar)