The Frederique Constant Classic Tourbillon Manufacture Steel takes the value proposition a step further

The Frederique Constant Classic Tourbillon Manufacture Steel takes the value proposition a step further

Zach Blass
  • Frederique Constant follows up their precious metal Classic Tourbillon Manufacture W&W debut with two steel models
  • Each model is limited to 350 pieces in honor of the 35th anniversary of the brand
  • High value proposition – in-house tourbillon watch priced at US$15,695

During Watches & Wonders, Frederique Constant’s hero novelty was a new more compact take on their Classic Manufacture Tourbillon. The manufacture has been known to make classic dress watches reaching larger modern diameters such as 42mm, but the 150-piece limited edition Classic Tourbillon Manufacture in 18K rose gold presented a much more wrist-friendly size, with a more compact diameter and lug-to-lug length. It was also priced at a more wallet-friendly US$27,995, which for an in-house precious metal tourbillon is quite low considering the landscape of its pricier competition. Now, things are becoming that much more price approachable with two steel followups at nearly half the price (US$15,695). Meet the new Frederique Constant Classic Tourbillon Manufacture Steel limited editions of 350 pieces (per configuration) in honour of the manufacture’s 35th anniversary.

Like the 18K rose-gold limited edition, the steel cases clock in at 39mm in diameter, a rather slender 10.9mm thick, and a very compact for the times 44mm lug-to-lug span across the wrist. With dressier watches such as this duo, having a more classic profile, befitting of the name Classic Tourbillon Manufacture, I believe is more appropriate and elegant – not to mention more inclusive of all wrists. Speaking of elegance, the case is handsomely executed in a full mirror polish. There are no illusions this is a tool watch requiring brushed surfaces, but, that being said, the steel casing gives these Classic Tourbillon Manufacture Steel watches an office-friendly or evening out smart-casual sensibility. To be frank, it could easily be dressed up with a suit as well. At your disposal you have two sunburst-finished dial options, blue and silver, but each are outfitted on a blue leather strap leading both to be highly versatile in regard to wardrobe pairings.

Inside, and exhibited through its caseback, you have the in-house automatic tourbillon calibre FC-980 that the manufacture first debuted in 2008. At such a price, you might be understandably cynical of the quality of the movement. But, upon inspection I am glad it is not hidden beneath a solid caseback. I will not pretend a holy trinity level of finish is at play here, but the calibre is well-decorated with blued screws, a gold-toned openwork rotor that blocks less of the movement beneath, perlage to the mainplate, industrial chamfering, and striping to the bridges. The movement is also adjusted in three positions and temperature tested as well.

I fully recognize that US$15,695 is no small amount of money. But, as far as in-house tourbillon watches go, you would be hard-pressed to beat the value:provenance proposition the Frederique Constant Classic Tourbillon Manufacture Steel watches present at retail.

Frederique Constant Classic Tourbillon Manufacture Steel pricing and availability:

The Frederique Constant Classics Tourbillon Manufacture Steel is available now as a limited edition of 350 pieces per configuration. Price: US$15,695

Brand Frederique Constant
Model Classics Tourbillon Manufacture
Case Dimensions 39mm (D) x 10.99mm (T) x 44mm (L2L)
Case Material Stainless steel
Water Resistance 30m
Crystal(s) Sapphire crystal and exhibition caseback
Dial Blue or silver
Lug Width 20mm
Strap Blue leather
Movement FC-980
Power Reserve 38 hours
Availability Limited to 350 pieces per model
Price US$15,695