One of the more pleasant surprises at Watches & Wonders 2023 came from Frederique Constant, who celebrated their 35th anniversary with the release of a very special limited edition Classic Tourbillon Manufacturing. A refresh of the FC-980 from 2008, this new and modern product shows that the brand is operating at a much higher level than what you’re used to seeing. And while it’s also priced significantly higher than what we’re used to seeing from Frederique Constant, it’s hard not to be charmed by the good looks and watchmaking that’s actually quite impressive here. Making this second point with the understanding that this is essentially a 15-year-old movement only serves to emphasize that point.

The Classic Tourbillon Manufacturing is housed in a warm 18k rose gold case paired with a sunburst anthracite gray dial. The lancet hands and applied indexes keep things simple as the clear highlight of the collection here is the substantial aperture housing the finely finished tourbillon. With a sweeping second hand, the 81-component tourbillon cage has each watch’s individual serial number engraved on it as well as images of some of the frosted screws, the silicon escapement and the eye-catching curved bridge (a salient features). , Follow me). As the brand often does with its “heartbeat” aperture, it is framed in a rose gold ring that perfectly matches the stately, neat and very attractive dial design. My only real criticism here is to have solid hands instead of plated, even if it does push up the price.

Looking at the case back, you can appreciate the mirror polishing, circular graining, and chamfering present throughout the movement. The in-house FC-980 automatic movement operates at 4 Hz and has a power reserve of 38 hours, the latter figure being possibly the only thing that indicates the overall age of this movement.

The case measures 39mm wide and 10.99mm thick, and is water resistant to 30m. The case is made in three parts and has edges and curves throughout that really show how much thought and sophistication has gone into designing the Classic Tourbillon Manufacturing. Onion crowns somehow don’t feel out of place or stuffy like they tend to do, which is largely due to the excellent proportions and clean lines that give way to a bit of traditional flare . It all makes for a very beautiful and robust watch in terms of watchmaking.

Producing the classic Tourbillon is a great way for Frederique Constant to celebrate its 35th anniversary. The clean and sharp design and the stunning tourbillon showcased through that impeccably large aperture create a watch that is almost universally appealing. Citizen Group’s investment and efforts have certainly not gone unnoticed by the watch enthusiast community as there was quite a bit of discussion about this watch during the Watches & Wonders event. This is also an interesting starting point to see what direction the manufacturer will choose in the future.

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