If there’s one thing (among others) that Frederique Constant is good at, it is to create classic and elegant watches at fair prices. Of course, the brand also knows how to bring complex watches to a wider audience – think about its in-house perpetual calendar – or even recently to design a watch that can compete in the sports watch with an integrated bracelet. But clearly, the elegant all-rounder watch is somehow a speciality at Frederique Constant, with a collection named, rightfully so, Classics. And this year, the brand has decided to bring some fresh air and a contemporary twist to this collection, with the new Frederique Constant Classics Index Automatic.
Whether barrel-shaped, round or rectangular, the watches from the Frederique Constant Classics collection share some common hallmarks, namely an appeal for Roman numerals, polished cases with sleek lines and textured dials with guilloché-like patterns. Furthermore, these can feature simple but useful complications, such as date, day, month and chronograph or elegant moon phases. Certainly, these watches are timeless but might, for some, lack modernity and this is why, this year, Frederique Constant has decided to bring a decidedly modernized version of the Classics Index Automatic, as well as new time-and-date and GMT models powered by quartz movements. What remains, however, is the accessible price range.
The new Frederique Constant Classics Index Automatic remains part of a pillar collection for the brand and retains some of the elements known from this collection. What mostly change here is a more dynamic style for the dial, sleeker and younger, but still elegantly designed.
The case of this Frederique Constant Classics Index Automatic measures 40mm in diameter and about 10mm in height, a reasonable size that allows the watch to be worn on a daily basis, even for business purposes. The slim bezel opens on a wide dial that brings immediate legibility. The entire case is polished and shows gentle curves. It is equipped with a sapphire crystal on top and the caseback is solid stainless steel. Also, the water-resistance is rated at 50m, which makes it a care-free all-rounder watch. On the wrist, the feeling of a modern watch with casual elegance is present and the comfort is reinforced by its short lugs. The case is available either in stainless steel or with a rose gold plating.
What drastically changes compared to other models in the Classics collection is the dial. No more traditional guilloché-like pattern and blue hands, the new Frederique Constant Classics Index Automatic opts for dynamic hands and applied indexes filled with luminous material and a plain matt blue, white or black dials, with a slightly grained effect. A simple minute track is printed on the periphery and a date window, making sense in this daily-beater context, sits at 3 o’clock. Sleek and restrained, it also feels pleasantly finished.
In order to retain its accessible price, the Frederique Constant Classics Index Automatic isn’t powered by one of the brand’s manufacture movement but instead rely on an outsourced, tried-and-tested automatic engine, the Calibre FC-303, also known as a Sellita SW-200. Beating at 4Hz, it stores 38 hours of power reserve.
The watches are worn on a slightly casual strap that complements its look, made of calf leather strap with alligator embossing and nubuck finishing. The edition with a blue dial is also available on a 5-row polished stainless steel bracelet.
The Frederique Constant Classics Index Automatic is now available from the brand’s online boutique. Prices start at EUR 895 for a steel model on a leather strap, up to EUR 1,095 for a rose gold-plated edition. A rather pleasant price for a Swiss watch made by an established brand, also making it the most accessible FC watch with an automatic movement.