BASELWORLD 2013 : affordable luxury from Frédérique Constant


Departing my previous blogging abode did not mean cutting ties completely, and with Baselworld alive and kicking for the year, @onomatopia, @initialjh and I found ourselves animatedly discussing the new Frédérique Constant Slimline Moonphase. So much so in fact, that two of us have decided to blog about it.

The first point of discussion was the aesthetics. From a functional point of view I concur with my friends that it is akin to the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Moonphase, and that the dial design has a marked similarity.

However, my first reaction when I saw the pictures of the new Frédérique Constant Moonphase was that it is a simpler (and less expensive) relative of the Girard Perregaux 1966 Full Calendar, its ‘look’ is slightly more similar to the Girard Perregaux than the Jaeger-LeCoultre, though with a much thinner bezel and different crown. In fact, I rather prefer the thinner bezel, it gives the watch a more open feel.

In comparing the Jaeger-LeCoultre and Frédérique Constant, even though the latter has an in-house movement (FC-705, with a 42 hour power reserve), it is undeniable that they are quite different brands marketed at quite different consumers, but disregarding price point  and prestige, I think that the Frederique Constant moonphase gives JLC more than a run for its money if an elegant moonphase dress watch is what you are after.

There is an important functional difference to note, with the less expensive Frédérique Constant having a three position crown which manages all the functions. Position ‘0’ is for winding, position ‘1’ for date adjustment through a clockwise turn and moonphase adjustment through a counter clockwise turn, and position ‘2’ for hour and minute hand adjustments.

At 42mm it is markedly bigger than the Girard Perregaux 1966 (40mm) and the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra thin Moon 39 (39mm), and at the middle-upper end for many people in terms of dress watches, though the slim case means it will sit low on the wrist. The caseback is see-through.

With prices starting at €2,695, the Slimline Moonphase comes in five iterations –
1. Stainless steel with silver dial nickel indices/ hands.
2. Stainless steel with a blue dial and matching blue strap.
3. Rose gold plated with a silver dial, rose gold plated hands and indices and matching brown alligator strap.
4. 18 carat rose gold with a silver dial, rose plated indices/ hands and a dark brown alligator strap.
5. 18 carat rose gold with a chocolate dial, rose gold plated hands/ indices and the same dark brown alligator strap.

With this level of entry point pricing, these new models strike a number of my watch friends and I as a staggeringly good bargain. The blue dial one is my favourite based on the press pictures. So, what are you waiting for?

Categories: Baselworld 2013, Frederique Constant, Girard Perregaux, Jaeger-LeCoultre, watches

5 replies

  1. I recently bought an FC World Timer – similar to the Moonphase, it offers high end styling and complication for a much more reasonable price. Very happy with it, but a little surprised that FC is a department store brand in Australia.


  2. Although elegant and beautiful, the FC watch does not have a running second hand, which is a deal breaker for me. One of the pleasure of owning a mechanical watch is watching its sweeping second hand.


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