Frederique Constant Takes Us Around the World with Two New Classic Worldtimer Manufacture Limited Editions
Since its introduction in 2012, it’s no surprise that Frederique Constant’s Classic Worldtimer Manufacture powered by the original in-house calibre has repeatedly returned on stage. And this year, the brand’s iconic travel watch, and inspiration for the maison’s Highlife collection, celebrates its 10th anniversary by launching two limited edition timepieces.
The worldtimer doesn’t just remain a crucial and practical complication to master but also a poetic and intriguing way of contemplating the world.
I could stare for hours at the tiny dial maps observing the ballet of rings and trying to guess the mysteries of the modern worldtimer movement created by Louis Cottier in 1931 when the prospect of intercontinental travel first became possible. The time was ripe for brands such as Vacheron Constantin (with its ref. 3372) or Patek Philippe (with the ref. 515 HU) to start producing the first universal time wristwatches.
A Decade of the Classic Worldtimer Manufacture
The mechanical principles behind a worldtimer movement haven’t changed much since its creation. The city names orbit the border of the dial above an inner 24-hour ring that turns counterclockwise. This ring’s movement coordinates the time in all the time zones, and the hands indicate the time in your current location.
But when Frederique Constant released the first worldtimer in the brand’s history in 2012, it was a sign of the brand’s long-term commitment to not only watchmaking and accessible luxury but the brand’s commitment to an overall ease of use. Why? Because instead of placing a pusher that controls the time zones at 2 o’clock, Frederique Constant simplified the whole process and moved the controls for the entire watch to the crown.
And by “entire watch,” I mean setting the local time, the date, and the worldtimer.
Of course, this centralization of operations was only made possible via the brand’s in-house FC-718 automatic calibre with 139 components and a 38-hour power reserve. Moreover, the FC-718 demonstrates the expertise acquired by Frederique Constant’s watchmakers over more than 15 years of designing and assembling the brand’s movements.
It is no wonder that, of all its collections, the Classic Worldtimer Manufacture models are among Frederique Constant’s best-selling timepieces. “Indeed, the Classics Worldtimer Manufacture has been the best-selling timepiece of Frederique Constant since it was created in 2012, offering a well-balanced quality-to-price ratio,” Frederique Constant’s Managing Director Niels Eggerding told Watchonista. “This watch features a classic yet sport chic aesthetic, and it is equipped with a useful function powered by the FC-718 movement designed, developed and assembled within our Manufacture’s workshops.”
Two limited anniversary timepieces
Though encased in different metals, both versions are 42mm and feature a deep blue globe (to represent the oceans of the central planisphere) contrasted with gray land formations. Meanwhile, all around the globe decoration, luminescent indices (and hour and minute hands) ensure perfect readability, even at night. Plus, a white 24-city time zone ring unfolds on the flange. Finally, at 6 o’clock the date is displayed via a blue sub-dial with a fine sunray guilloché finish.
Lastly, the 10th-anniversary Classic Worldtimer Manufacture timepieces will be accompanied by a series of NFTs created by Rarecubes, a Geneva-based studio specialized in blockchain technology.
Niels Eggerding explained his vision of this initiative to Watchonista: “Joining the NFT and Metaverse adds a new dimension to the relationship we have built with our customers by offering them an affordable virtual experience as well. Taking part in the NFT world not only allows us to reach a younger generation but also give us the opportunity to connect with a more tech-driven and crypto-oriented community whose members share the same inventive and forward-thinking mindset as Frederique Constant.”
From the release of the limited editions a few weeks ago until September 30th, all buyers of the physical watch – whether purchased online or in-store – will be entered into a drawing, 50 of whom will win the Worldtimer 10th-anniversary NFT. The drawing will be held by Frederique Constant on October 4th, 2022, at 5pm CET.
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(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)