At last year’s Baselworld Frédérique Constant revealed their first in-house perpetual calendar movement for under $10,000. This year, they’ve added a competitively priced in-house complication to their collection, with the launch of the Frédérique Constant Flyback Chronograph Manufacture.
The new automatic FC-760 adopts a modular construction. The flyback module is attached to the base movement, Caliber FC-710. Comprising of 233 components (of which 96 are dedicated to the flyback module), it has a 38 hour power reserve and beats at 28,800 VPH. It features perlage and circular Côtes de Genève decoration.
For those who are unfamiliar with what this type of chronograph is, it’s about timing elapsed intervals.
Whilst the chronograph function is running, the user only needs to press the pusher at 4 o’clock to reset the chronograph’s second hand (the flyback) i.e. you don’t need to press to stop, press to reset, press to start again. Basically, the clutch is disengaged, the chronograph is reset to zero by means of the single-piece hammer, and then, the clutch is re-engaged.
The column wheel that governs the chronograph’s start, stop, and reset functions rotates on bearings. Unlike the traditional column wheels, this one is star-shaped. Working in unison with with the operating lever, which is controlled by the start/ stop pusher, this star-shaped wheel was used to increase how smoothly it runs, whilst a new clutch system ensures that the resetting happens without any variables in timing.
The movement first appeared at Frédérique Constant’s sister brand Alpina as the Calibre AL-760 name. Alpina built a 96-part module into its in-house AL-710, and the AL-760 was their fifth in-house movement. When launched in 2015 it was intended that it would eventually make its way into Frédérique Constant as well. You’ll note the numerical consistency in calibre naming across both brands for these movements.
The new Frédérique Constant Flyback Chronograph Manufacture comes in a number of dial and case combinations. The 42mm cases are available in either stainless steel or rose gold plated stainless steel. Dial wise it’s either a simple flat dial in silver or dark grey with simple line indices, or a silver dial with Clou de Paris guilloché decoration, printed black Roman numerals and Breguet-style hands. At its edge is a tachymeter scale. They come on black or brown alligator straps with a matching metal buckle.
Of the various options my favourite without question, is the stainless steel one with the dark grey dial. One of the inevitable issues that arise with choosing to go with classical designs for chronographs is that if you wish to maintain legibility and a clean dial, there really are a limited number of end results from an ‘overall look’ point of view. The risk of brands releasing watches that look similar is ever present. However, that doesn’t mean that a watch whose look isn’t ‘new’ can’t still look good, and when combined with an in-house movement and attractive pricing, it’s going to be desirable.
As I mentioned earlier, this movement was first seen in their brand stablemate Alpina (see below). What a difference a dial makes.
The RRP? Frédérique Constant are continuing on their path of competitively priced and handsome complications. It’s EUR 3,695 for the stainless steel version.