The Good Life: How Frederique Constant is Redefining Femininity
With elegant designs and ice cream-colored dials, the brand’s Highlife and Classics collections for ladies are not for vanilla collectors.
Female watch enthusiasts are not a monolith. Some of us feel comfortable in jeans and a big old diver. Others like to wear a tiny timepiece with our pearls and twinsets. We’re sisters, but we each express ourselves differently.
Come to think of it, like our male and non-binary friends, what all humans like is options. And that’s why we’re fans of Frederique Constant’s Highlife Ladies and Classics collections. The construction, size, finish, and price point – all these elegant timepieces speak to the whole spectrum of femininity.
In 1999, Frederique Constant introduced the very first Highlife watches. Known for its barrel-shaped case and stylized globe on the dial, the collection contains everything from simple time-only designs to impressive complications like perpetual calendars.
Of course, the maison has updated the iconic design a few times over the past two decades, revising the architecture to align more with current tastes. As a result, the Highlife collection always feels like it belongs to our times – no matter what that means culturally or historically.
This philosophy also inspired a Highlife family for women, which was the logical next step, as its sporty shape and integrated bracelet sit comfortably on smaller wrists. However, the Highlife Ladies collection became more than a mere expansion of an existing line because Frederique Constant’s designers have used the ladies’ collection as a safe space to play with color and finish.
The best example of this design freedom is the Highlife Ladies Automatic Sparkling. While it lacks the geometric globe, the sky blue dial of this 888-piece limited edition is dusted with silver flecks, meant to capture the nuances of the Milky Way, and features eight starry diamond markers to aid in navigating your busy schedule. Its glittering surface is adorned further with polished geometric indices and then surrounded by a gem-set bezel, which includes a total of 60 diamonds.
Interestingly, this horological galaxy comes in an understated 34mm stainless steel case with a seamlessly integrated stainless steel bracelet and an extra interchangeable cloud-white rubber strap. However, once you turn this beauty over, you’ll discover via the sapphire caseback a mesmerizing mechanical universe of the calibre FC-303, which features a delicate spiral motif. This automatic movement is based on the calibre SW200 and offers a power reserve of 38 hours.
Ice Cream Dreams
Like the night skies, the Highlife Ladies Automatic collection contains multitudes of stars. And while each of these models features the Highlife’s integrated bracelet – a hallmark of the watch’s sport-chic aesthetic – this supple steel can also be quickly swapped out for a satin, rubber, or leather strap to suit one’s sartorial vision.
Then in 2022, Frederique Constant upped the collection’s versatility game by adding three more models – with your choice of a pink, turquoise, or champagne dial – to the family. This trio of timepieces comes with a stainless steel, three-part, quick-release bracelet and an additional white rubber strap. Moreover, these Highlife Ladies Automatic models also come in a 34mm case. And like the Highlife Ladies Automatic’s sparkling counterpart, these otherwise dainty cases have a sculptural silhouette that lends them a powerful presence (especially when paired with the bracelet).
However, unlike the Highlife Ladies Automatic Sparkling, these ice cream-colored models have the collection’s signature globe motif decorating their dials, which is meant to stand as a symbol for, among other things, a generation that shares a desire for sustainable and sensible living.
If 34mm is too tiny for your wrist, Frederique Constant will always have options for you. Case-in-point: The 38.5mm Classics Premiere timepiece.
Featuring a mother-of-pearl dial and Breguet-style blue-tinted hands, this stainless steel time-only piece practically oozes sophistication. Meanwhile, the applied Roman numerals, diamond set inner ring, “railtrack” minutes circle, and the crocodile pattern black calfskin strap only add to the Classics Premiere’s upscale visage.
We would rock this watch on a red carpet. At the same time, these ultra-luxe details would not feel out-of-place worn in a boardroom or even a ladies-who-lunch situation.
The Classics Premiere also boasts a lot of inner beauty. Fortunately for us, the use of an open glassbox-style caseback provides a magnifying effect through which one can admire the Côtes de Genève detailing on the G100 La Joux-Perret automatic movement. This calibre was developed to meet the needs of the modern woman with an increased power reserve of 68 hours (80% more than the 2824 or the SW-200 mechanisms).
There are four additional variations of the Classics Premiere with guilloched dials and prices starting at $1,895. However, the model featured here is part of a 300-piece limited edition, the price of which was not available at the time of publication. For more information, visit the Frederique Constant website.
(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)