Friday, April 26, 2013

Baselworld 2013 - Frederique Constant Slimline Moonphase

Frederique Constant has produced in my opinion, an absolute winner this year at Baselworld. A simple and elegant slim line moonphase watch with an in-house movement. At first glance you might be forgiven in thinking that you've seen it before. It's almost as if they took a Girard Perregaux 1966 triple date moonphase, took out the day and month and the second hand to arrive at a very clean and fresh rival to the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Moon. For me personally, Frederique Constant has always flown under the radar. They make some elegant watches, but I think the brand recognition still has some ways to go.

This piece SHOULD get more recognition. And if the pricing information on the interwebs is correct (starting around $3500) And starting at 2650 euro (going off the Frederique Constant website and assuming VAT is included) this is an absolute bargain given it's about a third of the price of the JLC, but with pretty much all the looks. At this price you really do need to ask yourself, what prices the brand image and history? In fact, I may even prefer the FC over the JLC. Both are "slim", both powered by in-house movements, moonphase at 6:00 with date around the aperture... you do the maths. However, the FC may have one over the JLC in that all the functions are integrated into the 3-position crown where as there are separate pushers for the moonphase and date on the JLC. It's just much easier and more convenient to operate everything from the crown.

The JLC Master Ultra Thin Moon is one of their best sellers ever since it was launched in SIHH 2011 so I have no doubt that the FC will do just as well. I think it's a classic dial layout that you cannot go wrong with. It is a fairly big watch at 42mm (in dress watch terms), compared to the more manageable and versatile 39mm of the JLC, but proportionally it works quite well.

The watch actually sparked a conversation/debate between Horologium, Initial J and myself, and you can have a read of Horologium's perspective here. However, we are all in agreement that it is a stunning piece, and it is so refreshing to see a watch with an in-house movement for this sort of price. Once I recover from the shock of the price, I'll pick my jaw off the ground and get myself in line for one of these beauties.

If you're still not convinced, here are more images to whet your appetite. Click on the image to enlarge.
Now I don't know how much of these images are the actual watch and how much are photography skills and post editing, but regardless, these are simply stunning and achingly beautiful!

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