INTRODUCING: Frédérique Constant Highlife Worldtimer Manufacture
Two 35th anniversary special editions of the best-selling world timer are available now.
In 1988, Peter Stas and his partner Aletta Stas-Bax established Frédérique Constant (named for their ancestors) in the hopes of developing a democratised watch brand that offered quality, value, and volume all at the same time. Stas’ background was in product marketing in the fast-moving consumer electronics sector. He wanted to apply the same principles in industrial production to watchmaking, traditionally a labour-intensive industry.
Frédérique Constant’s business acceleration has been incredible since its founding. In around 20 years, production exceeded 100,000 watches annually. Stas himself once pointed out that the company had the same number of CNC machines as Greubel Forsey but with a production capacity of 1,000 times more. Today, Frédérique Constant is owned by the Citizen group, but it continues to hold strongly to Stas’ original principles of quality with value and in volume. In fact, one of the brand’s top sellers today is based on a design Stas developed in 1999 – the Highlife.
Re-introduced in 2020, the Highlife collection today features the brand’s in-house developed movements and offers designs for everyone. The case integrates its lugs in a tonneau-style design with a round case middle and dial, making it fit comfortably on the wrist. The tapered bracelets come with easy-change functions, so you can swap it out for a fabric or leather strap as preferred.
The Highlife Worldtimer Manufacture is the star of the collection, with the brand’s FC-718 world time complication movement powering the watch. This year, to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the brand’s founding, Frédérique Constant has created two special editions to commemorate the occasion.
The first model is a highly exclusive version of the Highlife Worldtimer Manufacture (FC-718BL4NH9), with an 18K rose gold case and limited to just 35 pieces globally. Alternating between brushed and mirror finishing on the surface, it also has mirror polishing on the bezel and crown to further enhance the interplay of light on the watch. The warm hue of the rose gold case is complemented by the petroleum blue dial, on which a globe representing the Earth with latitude and longitude lines is engraved.
The applied hour markers and central hands are all in rose gold, and an additional 24-hour ring in white and blue indicate the day and night time for the world time function. A city ring in blue with white print shows the different city time zones, with daylight savings function indicated in red. A small counter indicates the date at 6 o’clock, stamped with a guilloché design. This watch comes with a matching blue alligator leather strap with a nubuck finish as well as a blue rubber strap for all-day wearing comfort.
A second and non-limited version of the Highlife Worldtimer Manufacture (FC-718C4NH6) is also available for customers in stainless steel, with a chocolate brown dial with off-white details instead of the stark white that’s seen on the rose gold model. The centre display of the watch comes in a lighter brown hue, creating a tonal effect that shines. The watch comes with three interchangeable straps: a stainless steel bracelet, brown alligator strap, and rubber strap.
Water-resistant to 100m, the watches have a see-through case back with a sapphire cover through which the gold oscillating weight is visible. The words ‘Frederique Constant Manufacture’ are stamped on the rotor, and additional details are engraved around the sapphire crystal. The FC-718 calibre offers 38 hours of power reserve and is easily controlled via the crown, which has three positions to wind the movement, set the date and reference city, and the local time.
In Singapore, the Highlife Worldtimer Manufacture is exclusively available from Watches of Switzerland, retailing at S$40,710 for the rose gold model and S$6,730 for the one in steel.