Frederique Constant Highlife Chronograph Automatic

Leading A Double (High)Life: Frederique Constant Updates Its Popular Chronograph

To honor the Silver Anniversary of its sporty Highlife Chronograph Automatic, the artisans at Frederique Constant channel both sober classicism and evocative colorways.

By Mike Espindle
Executive Editor

Many in the watch world may consider the innovative watchmaker Frederique Constant a relative newcomer to the industry. Still, its comparatively young age does nothing to diminish the fact that the brand’s popular 41mm sports chronograph is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Tempus fugit, indeed.

The Highlife Chronograph Automatic has been a popular choice since it debuted in 1999 with an early interchangeable integrated strap design. The timepiece was reimagined and relaunched in 2020, and last year, it received an update in the form of a model featuring a steel case with a silver and blue dial.

However, to honor this 25th birthday, what the watchmaker interestingly pegs as “the first two releases” in this commemoration take two differing design approaches to speak to the flexible canvas the Highlife Chronograph presents.

Highlife, Two Ways

A new non-limited edition execution sports the shimmering sophistication of rose-gold plated steel framing an exquisite midnight blue dial with eye-popping white sub-dials for the burly case (Ref. FC-391NS4NH4).

Meanwhile, its companion piece (Ref. FC-391SGR4NH6) leans toward the contemporary as a fully limited edition of 1,888 pieces presented in a traditional steel case with an intriguing silver dial with the deepest of green sub-dials and details.

Both pieces are powered by the 60-hour power reserve FC-391 calibre movement (with its Côtes de Genève decorations visible through the exhibition caseback). And, harkening back to the origins of the model, both of the new chronos feature an interchangeable strap system, and, therefore, both come with extra straps, two for the rose-gold edition and no fewer than three for the sportier steel execution.

However, while both retain the overall design aesthetic of the 2023 model mentioned above (complete with the collection’s signature embossed globe motif on the dial, a “side-riding” date window, and three sub-dials), make no mistake: These are two very new flavors for the Highlife Chronograph Automatic.

Night Flight

With its rose-gold plating, a first for the collection, and darker dial, the Ref. FC-391NS4NH4 instantly evokes a decidedly evening vibe.

However, the approach also plays well with the wristwatch’s inherent sporty details: the broad real estate of the case shimmers; the modern, stacked chrono-pushers shine; and the integrated-strap case connections gleam.

The lush nubuck suede dark blue strap option crafted in a crocodile pattern, in particular, adds to the evening mystique of this new Highlife Chronograph. A color-matched rubber strap is also included.

Day Shift

In the meantime, the all-steel Ref. FC-391SGR4NH6 fills the role of a stylish modern sports chronograph, staying true to its “tool” watch zeitgeist. However, its dark “fir tree” green details look, dare I say, pretty elegant alongside the steely glint of this timepiece.

Strap options for this model include the same crocodile-patterned nubuck option mentioned above but in a color-matching green and a color-matched green rubber strap. For this more traditional take on a sports watch, however, many will choose the included H-link integrated steel bracelet to hold this beauty on their wrists.

To be sure, all three strap options work well, thus multiplying the personality of this timepiece.

Pricing & Availability

Having debuted late last month, the rose-gold plated version lists for CHF 3,995, while the limited-edition steel execution retails for CHF 3,495. Both new Frederique Constant Highlife Chronograph Automatics are available at the brand’s retailers worldwide and via the Frederique Constant website.

(Photography by Nicole Jarvis)

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