The Swiss manufacturer Frédérique Constant has expanded its Highlife collection, whose success has not been denied since its launch in 2020, with a chronograph version, the emblematic complication of motorsport. Among the three models on the market, a beautiful limited edition with a blue “Panda” dial will delight all lovers of pilot watches.
The collection high life of Frederique Constant has been a resounding success since its return to the watchmaking scene in 2020! No wonder, because it embodies the values advocated by the Swiss manufacturer, and is distinguished by a classic design imbued with elegance, manufacturing quality, the care given to the finishes and particularly attractive prices to make them accessible to a wide audience.
The high life was actually born in 1999. She then marked the history of Frederique Constant. Relaunched in 2020, it is recognizable by its dial decorated with an engraving representing a terrestrial globe, symbol of the cosmopolitan spirit of this collection that is both urban and versatile. Several models make up a coherent collection – Highlife Automatic COSC, Highlife Heart Beat and Highlife Perpetual Calendar Manufacture, Worldtimer Manufacture and Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar Manufacture – able to satisfy any watch enthusiast. So much so that it now represents 40% of the factory’s production!
A chronograph version was unveiled this summer: the Highlife Chronograph Automatic. An emblematic complication of motorsport that will appeal to all motor racing enthusiasts and gentlemen drivers. Three versions are available: 2 in steel. The limited edition subject of this article are the versions with an entirely black dial and two materials in steel and plated rose gold (a design from the 1970s which has been making a strong comeback since last year). They were unveiled by the famous French DJ and producer The Avener who is the new ambassador of the Highlife collection.
But the one that interests us more particularly is the “Panda” version, reminiscent of the pilot’s chronographs of the 1960s made famous by the famous Rolex Daytona Paul Newman (read here). This is a limited edition of 1888 individually numbered copies.
So let’s start with the main thing: the “Panda” dial that gives this model its personality and appeal. White/ivory in colour, it features the terrestrial globe, emblem of the Highlife collection, and three counters with a blue finish which brings a real plus compared to traditional black. The counter at 9 o’clock counts the small seconds while the other two are the chronograph minute and hour counters. The curved flange bearing the timer allows precise reading of 1/5ths of a second. The indexes and hour and minute hands are discreet, as is the date window, and bring a touch of discreet elegance to this sporty watch.
the Highlife Chronograph Automatic “Limited Edition” has a 41 mm diameter “tonneau” case in 316 L stainless steel. Comfortable, the watch is made to be worn every day and even allows the practice of certain nautical activities thanks to its water resistance up to 100 meters. We appreciate the alternation of polished and brushed finishes which highlight the lines of the middle and the bezel. One regret: the absence of a tachymetric scale, a distinctive sign of watches designed for racing drivers.
The strap integrated into the case, a distinctive sign of the Highlife models in the 1990s, is made of navy blue calfskin finished with a Nubuck finish. This limited edition adds two additional straps: one in blue rubber and one in polished and satin-brushed steel.
The screwed back is equipped with a sapphire crystal to admire the watch engine. It is an automatic caliber FC-391. It was developed based on a classic Valjoux 7750 by swiss manufacture La Joux-Perret, a brand renowned for the quality of its movements. You can see the column wheel, a real gearbox for the chronograph module, and the finely decorated rose gold-plated oscillating weight. It is a modern caliber (frequency of 28,800 vib/h) and precise, benefiting from high-quality finishes. It offers a comfortable comfortable power reserve of 60 hours.
In the end, the Highlife Chronograph Automatic “Limited Edition” is “the” chronograph to put on your wrist. Its timeless design and its “premium” finishes make it a rewarding watch to wear every day and on any occasion, in the office, in the evening and for leisure. There is therefore little doubt about the announced success of this model which will certainly appeal to a wide audience looking for a classic and sporty watch.
Its price: €3,395 (€2,395 for the steel version with a black dial – ref. FC-391B4NH6B – and €3,295 for the dual-material version – ref. FC-391WN4NH6).
Case: 41 mm in diameter, 316 L stainless steel, water-resistant to 100 meters, domed anti-reflective sapphire crystal, back fitted with sapphire crystal, crown and pushers in stainless steel;
Dial: white, tricompax, hand-polished silvered hour and minute hands and minute markers with white luminescent treatment, hand-polished silvered chronograph seconds hand, small seconds counter at 9 o’clock, chronograph hour and minute totalizers at 6 and 3 o’clock, date at 4:30;
Movement: FC-391 self-winding caliber, 28,800 vibrations per hour (4Hz), 26 jewels, 60-hour power reserve;
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds, chronograph, date;
Strap: navy calfskin with nubuck finish;
Limited edition: 1888 pieces;