It’s a sign of the times. With value being the buzzword in the industry, many watchmakers have introduced more affordable watches with high complications.
Frédérique Constant — after introducing its first perpetual calendar priced under $10,000 last year — now unveils an affordable high complication at Baselworld 2017 with the launch of the Frédérique Constant Flyback Chronograph Manufacture.
It is available in two versions, one more sporty and casual with a silver or dark gray smooth dial; the other more classical-looking, with a silver dial graced with “Clou de Paris” guilloché decoration, printed black Roman numerals and Breguet-style hands.
Both versions are available in 42-mm-diameter cases in either stainless steel or rose-gold-plated stainless steel. The case has a mix of brushed and polished surfaces and features a polished beveled edge along the lugs. The tricompax dial features sub-dials at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock for the 30-minute chronograph counter, hand-type date display, and small seconds indicator, respectively. A tachymeter scale appears on the dial’s outer edge.
The watch contains an all-new in-house movement, Caliber FC-760, whose flyback chronograph complication is inspired by models from the Thirties. It uses a bi-directional rotor and has a power reserve of 38 hours. It has a modular construction and is comprised of 233 components, only 96 of which are dedicated to the flyback module. The lesser the components of a movement, the easier it is produce and maintain. Also the costs of producing such a movement is significantly lower.
This movement uses a unique star-shaped column wheel. What is a column wheel now? The column wheel governs the chronograph’s start, stop, and reset functions and rotates on bearings. Working in unison with the operating lever, which is controlled by the start/stop push-piece, the column wheel is responsible for the running of the chronograph.
Another notable chronograph component is the clutch, whose function is to establish the connection between the movement, or power source, and the gearing, or under-dial work, when required. Most chronographs use one of three different types: the classic horizontal wheel coupling, the traditional oscillating pinion, or the modern, vertical friction clutch. Caliber FC-760 employs a new type of swiveling component with two toothed pinions.
This movement was designed in-house by the manufacture. The FC-760 movement, visible through a clear caseback, oscillates at 28,800 vph and is decorated with perlage and Côtes de Genève.
The watch will retail for just $3,995 in stainless steel and $4,295 in rose-gold-plated steel.