Frédérique Constant’s thirty-fifth anniversary is marked by the Highlife Worldtimer Manufacture.
The Swiss watchmaking manufacture, located in Geneva, Switzerland, was founded in 1988 by a couple of independent entrepreneurs, Aletta and Peter Stas. The Stas wanted to offer quality Swiss watches at an affordable price, with the aim of democratising luxury Swiss-made watches. After originally entering a well-known market filled with storied companies, this relative newcomer set off on a path that showed an uncommon level of consistency, attracting loyal collectors.
The original Geneva-based firm has since embarked on an impressive journey, becoming a fully-fledged manufacturer that is now international while remaining firmly attached to its Geneva roots. To celebrate this outstanding odyssey, Frédérique Constant is unveiling two new variations of the Highlife Worldtimer.
Highlife Worldtimer Manufacture, anniversary edition of 35 watches, 18-karat rose gold. All images courtesy of Frédérique Constant.
Two Highlife Worldtimer Manufacture watches, one in 18-karat rose gold in a limited edition of 35, and the other in steel in an unlimited edition with a chocolate-colored dial, are being unveiled today by the Manufacture as a tribute to the splendor of this continuous narrative. Both models come with one or two additional interchangeable straps and have a diameter of 41 mm.
In just three years, the Highlife collection has earned a name for itself as Frédérique Constant’s flagship collection, embodying the rise of the manufacturer that first brought it into being.
A highly exclusive limited edition
The first of these "Highlife Worldtimer Manufacture Variations" is an anniversary edition par excellence, comprising just 35 watches made with 18-karat rose gold—sure to delight collectors who now eagerly expect exceptional commemorative creations to appear from time to time in highly limited editions. The piece's highly contemporary, multifaceted case shows off the shimmering gleam of precious metal to the full; the manufacturer has further enhanced the resulting interplay of light by offsetting the brushed case with a polished bezel and crown.
For this edition, Frédérique Constant has chosen a dial in petroleum blue, a hue soft enough to reveal the shades engraved on its surface: the Earth's symbol, complete with lines of latitude and longitude, and a sunray finish at 6 o’clock on the date disc. The dial features luminous, gold-colored appliqué hour markers matching the three central hands indicating hours, minutes, and seconds. The hands are carefully proportioned to give pride of place to the worldtimer’s double disc; the external disc is marked with 24 cities, denoting 24 time bands, while the second internal disc displays the time in each reference city. Blue and white backgrounds allow the wearer to effortlessly distinguish between night and day. To round off the monochrome effect, the watch comes on an interchangeable, integrated strap in blue alligator leather with a nubuck finish, as well as being supplied with a blue rubber strap.
The second, unlimited reference, which was unveiled today, has the same features as the first, with three major exceptions. Firstly, the case is steel, suitable for more contemporary urban wear. Secondly, the prevailing color here is chocolate brown for the strap and worldtimer, coupled with a slightly lighter shade for the dial center. Finally, instead of two straps, this version has three: chocolate brown alligator leather with a nubuck finish, a rubber strap in the same color, and a polished, brushed steel 3-link strap.
Circle the globe, Manufacture style
A ball of gears from the Manufacture FC-718 automatic caliber powers this model, backed by a 38-hour power reserve. With thoroughly tried and tested reliability, it's the epitome of simplicity to use: all indications are set using the crown, thanks to an ingenious three-notch system. The first notch is for winding the watch. The second sets the date (going upwards) and the reference city (going downwards). The third sets the time on the central display.
Frederique Constant creates, develops, assembles, and controls a wide variety of mechanical, quartz, and connected timepieces at the same time within its 6,200 m2 manufacturing facility in Plan-les-Ouates (GE). To this day, Frederique Constant has designed 30 manufacture calibres, including high complications such as the tourbillon, the perpetual calendar, and the flyback chronograph, as well as a new and unprecedented type of escapement in watchmaking—the monolithic. Made from a single piece of silicone, it replaces the 26 components of a standard assortment and oscillates at a frequency of 40 Hz, which is 10 times that of most mechanical movements. In 2015, Frederique Constant launched the Horological Smartwatch, the first Swiss-made connected timepiece featuring a traditional appearance. In 2018, the Classic Hybrid Manufacture succeeded it, combining a mechanical manufacturing movement with connected features. It was followed in 2020 by the Smartwatch Vitalityline, which included a new generation built-in heart rate sensor.
The same year, Frederique Constant reinvigorated the Highlife collection (1999) with a redesigned case and an interchangeable integrated strap. This was followed in 2021 by the Slimline monolithic manufacture with its very high-frequency one-piece escapement, then by the Highlife collection for women. Frederique Constant is currently present at nearly 3,000 points of sale in 120 countries across the world. In 2016, the Frederique Constant group (Frederique Constant, Alpina Watches, and Ateliers de Monaco) joined the Japanese group Citizen so as to pursue its international development and nurture new synergies. Follow www.frederique-constant.com.