One of the more pleasant surprises at Watches & Wonders 2023 came from Frederique Constant who celebrated its 35th anniversary with the release of a very special limited edition Classic Tourbillon Manufacture. A refresh of the FC-980 from 2008, this new and contemporary take shows the brand playing at a much higher level than you are used to seeing. And while it’s also priced substantially more than we are used to seeing from Frederique Constant, it’s hard not to fall for the effortlessly good looks and really quite impressive watchmaking on hand here. Saying this latter point with the knowledge that this is essentially a fifteen year old movement only serves to underscore the point.
The Classic Tourbillon Manufacture is housed in a warm 18k rose gold case that is matched with a sun-ray brushed anthracite grey dial. The lancet hands and applied indexes keep things simple because the obvious star of the show here is the substantial aperture containing the exquisitely finished tourbillon. With a seconds hand gliding over it, the 81-component tourbillon cage has the individual serial number of each watch engraved on it as well as a view of several blued screws, the silicon escapement, and that eye-catching curved bridge (a standout feature, in my opinion). As the brand typically does with their “heart beat opening” apertures, it is framed in a rose gold ring that perfectly matches the demure, clean, and very attractive dial design. My only real critique here would be to have solid hold hands as opposed to plated, even if it were to drive the price up.
Looking at the case back allows you to appreciate the mirror polishing, circular graining, and chamfering that is present throughout the movement. The manufacture FC-980 automatic movement operates at 4 Hz and has a 38-hour power reserve, the latter of which might be the only thing that points to the overall age of this movement.
The case measures 39mm wide and 10.99mm thick, with 30 m of water resistance. The case is done in three parts and there are curved edges and lines throughout that really drive home how much thought and finesse went into designing the Classic Tourbillon Manufacture. The onion crown somehow doesn’t feel out place or stuffy as they ordinarily can tend to do, something that is largely due to the excellent proportions and clean lines that make room for that extra bit of traditional flare. It all adds up to what is simply a very handsome and horologically robust watch.
The Classic Tourbillon Manufacture is a great way for Frederique Constant to celebrate its 35th anniversary. The clean and crisp design along with the gorgeous tourbillon on display through that perfectly large aperture make for a near universally attractive watch. The investment and effort put in by the Citizen Group has certainly not gone unnoticed by the enthusiast community as there was quite some talk about this watch during Watches & Wonders. It’s also an interesting jump-off point to see what direction the manufacture chooses to take in the future.
Limited to 150 pieces, the Frederique Constant Classic Tourbillon Manufacture is priced at $27,995.
To learn more, visit Frederique Constant here.