Frederique Constant has updated and overhauled their Highlife line, which was originally created more than 20 years ago to bring a high-value horological offering to the consumer. Standard production models of this new lineup were recently launched in steel, gold-plated, and two-tone steel and gold-plated models — in both time and date only (Automatic COSC) and perpetual calendar versions. And now, something a little more spicy. The Frederique Constant Highlife RedBar Limited Editions bring a subtle, yet powerful punch of RedBar flavour to the new lineup of Highlife watches.
The two Frederique Constant Highlife RedBar Limited Editions are encased in a 3-part polished stainless steel case. They are both 41mm in diameter with a convex sapphire crystal covering the dial and anti-glare coatings on both the dial and exhibition crystals. The anti-glare coatings provide a subtle blue hue in the right light that plays well against the grey backdrop on each of the dials. The cases offer up to 5 ATM or 50 metres of water resistance. Where the Perpetual Calendar version differs is through its case-side pushers controlling the perpetual calendar complication. The pusher under the crown is for correction of the moon phase, the pusher at 7 for correcting the day, the pusher at 10 to correct the date, and slightly above that is the pusher controlling month/leap year correction.
Both watches have dark grey dials, with a decorative etching of a globe and silver applied indexes with white luminous treatment. The Automatic COSC version has a date window well positioned at 3 o’clock, with black numerals against the white rotating disc. The running seconds is displayed with a red central second hand. The red second hand, and red 60, 15, 30 and 45 indicators, as well as the red chronometer text, are tasteful nods to RedBar. While colourful dials have begun to resurface as of late, this tasteful injection of red against a dark grey backdrop makes this a versatile watch in function and form.
The Manufacture Perpetual Calendar version shares the same colour scheme, but varies slightly to accommodate the highly venerated perpetual calendar complication. Printed in white against its grey backdrop, the perpetual calendar registers are very legible and easy to read. At 12 you can find the month, along with the leap year, with the date clearly displayed at 3 and the day at 9. At 6 you can find the gorgeous moon phase register, with the moon and stars rendered in red against a blue backdrop — yet another tasteful nod to RedBar as a collaborator. While the render colours may seem a bit flat, in person they really pop as the light reflects and plays with the metal bases.
The bracelet and straps:
A great feature of the 2020 Highlife lineup is its quick-change straps. Along with the well-finished, Nautilus-style, satin and mirror polished stainless steel bracelet, Frederique Constant adds even more value to the offering with an extra leather strap bundled with your purchase. Via two pins underneath the bracelet and straps (with leather and rubber options available), it is super easy to switch from the bracelet to a strap — without expensive tools or a tedious trip to a local watchmaker. This also increases the versatility of the watches, as the aesthetic can be quickly transformed to match your outfit or activity.
The Automatic COSC version is powered by the Sellita-based FC-303 caliber. As seen printed on its dial, as well as in its name, the watch is certified by COSC to meet chronometer accuracy standards — regulated within +6/-4 seconds a day. The hue of the automatic winding rotor is a nice rose gold tone.
The Perpetual Calendar model features the in-house manufacture caliber FC-775. This is very important to note, as it presents proper value to the consumer. This watch is one of the most affordable in-house powered perpetual calendar watches in the world. Its rose gold tone winding rotor is skeletonised, allowing for more viewability of the in-house manufacture caliber.
Both movements are decorated with perlage and circular Côtes de Genève stripes. Each has 26 jewels, and ticks away at 28,800 vph, with a 38-hour power reserve. Being numbered limited editions, underneath the RedBar logo on the crystal you can find the watch’s number etched into the sapphire.
For those looking for a noteworthy watch, at a reasonable price for the specs, these RedBar Limited Editions (as well as the production models) are a compelling entry into the field of integrated stainless steel watches. While some limited edition models and collaborations are tagged with price premiums, the two RedBar models are priced exactly the same as the standard models — a gesture that truly conveys how much RedBar understands the world of watches and their collectors. Considering there are only 110 watches between the two versions, both present a great opportunity to get rare watches at an extremely fair price.
Frederique Constant Highlife RedBar Limited Editions pricing and availability:
The Frederique Constant Highlife RedBar Limited Edition Perpetual Calendar, limited to 10 pieces, is priced at $9,295USD
The Frederique Constant Highlife RedBar Limited Edition Automatic COSC, limited to 100 pieces, is priced at $1,995USD
For US based purchasers, in support of the DonorsChoose charity organization the watch comes with a $50 card that can be applied at the discretion of the purchaser.
Sales of both models are limited to RedBar members for the first 60 days of release. To join RedBar, check out their site.
For more information regarding the Highlife collection, and the Frederique Constant Highlife RedBar Limited Editions click here.