In 2022, Frederique Constant is celebrating the 70th anniversary of its long-standing automotive partner, Austin-Healey, and is renewing its intangible loyalty with two exclusive limited editions. For the occasion, its new mechanical chronograph, the Frederique Constant Vintage Rally Healey Chronograph Automatic, has adopted the “British racing green” colour of the legendary vintage car with the NOJ393 number plate. With a bicompax dial and two racing red hands, this timepiece is produced in two versions: the first, limited to 10 watches with the 70 figure visible at midday, and the second, with a run of just 700 watches, with the “12” in its normal place.
Three letters, three figures: NOJ393. This is the number plate of the famous Austin-Healey 100S, bought in 1969 by a fan of the legendary car. It was the outcome of the collaboration between the Austin Motor Company and that of the driver, Donald Healey, also a creator and designer. A responsive and distinguished racing car, the only one of its kind, of which one of the last original cars was this famous NOJ393 purchased at that time for £155. It fetched 1 million euros when it was sold in December 2011.
This out-of-the-ordinary enthusiasm demonstrates the power of attraction the vintage Austin Healey has on collectors of beautiful machines. Its perfectly controlled lines, simultaneously rounded and tight, have made it a model of styling. Its legendary “British racing green” livery has become a classic. 2022 marks the 70th anniversary of the creation of this legend, of which the Frederique Constant house in Geneva has been the key partner since 2007. The occasion to offer vintage car fans a collector’s piece to wear on the skin: the Vintage Rally Healey Chronograph Automatic.
The new Frederique Constant Vintage Rally Healey Chronograph Automatic is offered in two versions sharing a 42 mm steel case as well as a common look. Except for one small detail, which makes all the difference: only 10 timepieces will be produced of the first, and instead of the the “12” index at midday, Frederique Constant has placed the “70” which celebrates the creation of the Austin-Healey firm. The second, limited to 700 timepieces, prefers the watchmaking tradition in which the figure 12 is in its normal place and the “70th Anniversary” wording is at 6 o’clock.
The engine: the mechanical FC-397 calibre automatic winding. On the rev counter: 28,800 beats per hour. Its tank: 48-hour power reserve. Bodywork: British racing green. Dashboard: bicompax, in the purest watchmaking tradition. On the left, the seconds counter for the timing part; on the right, the chronograph’s minutes counter. The index and timer are in pure white for perfect legibility on the matt-finish dial, indispensable for a watch dedicated to motor racing. The racing spirit of the piece is emphasised by the two hands of the chronograph which stand out in their bright red hue: the central hand for the seconds and that at three o’clock for the 30 minutes countdown.
The two central hands of the hours and minutes, as well as the indexes are a silver-tone and impressed with a luminescent material. Along the 12 o’clock – 6 o’clock axis the two logos of the house reply to each other, a symbol of their long and faithful union: “Frederique Constant – Geneva” at midday, “Healey” at six o’clock, in its legendary original font.
As for the chassis, the timepiece is closed by a back open onto the movement and etched with a “Limited Edition XX/10” or “Limited Edition XX/700” number. The watch is worn on an asphalt black strap finished with two lines of topstitching, like two white lines marking the edges of the track. To perfect this parallel with motor racing, the new Frederique Constant Vintage Rally Healey Chronograph Automatic is supplied in its dedicated case alongside a miniature replica of the famous NOJ393.
The union of Frederique Constant and the Austin-Healey firm is no real coincidence. Both companies are driven by the same passions and values which brought them together in 2004 and which continues today: the love of beautiful machines, precision, the celebration of timeless design, the combination of leather and metal, comfort and above all, a certain art of living. Frederique Constant’s Vintage Rally collection, dedicated to this partnership is all of that …and lots more besides.