Frederique Constant Flyback Chronograph Manufacture

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It took six years to develop the FC-760 movement inside the Flyback Chronograph Manufacture, says Frederique Constant. And its first flyback chronograph made in-house arrives at Baselworld 2017 in one gorgeous package.

FC_FC760_2

To be fair, the movement first showed up inside Alpina’s Alpiner 4 model in 2015, under the AL-760 name. As Frederique Constant owns Alpina—the long-lived, aviation-themed brand—it was only a matter of time before it made its way underneath a more classic veneer.

What’s so cool about a flyback chronograph? With just one push of a button, a chronograph’s second hand will reset to zero while it’s still running. It eliminates the need to press a button to stop, press a button to reset, and press a button to start again. Compared to a regular chronograph, the complexity is immense. The stopper must not only disengage the seconds hand, but also precisely send it back to the start, in as little time as possible, and reengage—while the chronograph is still running. For some people of adventure, the function is indispensable. Pilots once needed it to navigate: how many seconds to follow a compass bearing before changing direction. Racers of all kinds still use it to time laps. And so forth.

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And the packaging is impressive. Of 233 components in the FC-760 movement, a mere 96 are related for the flyback module. A unique star-shaped column wheel allows for smooth running, while a new clutch system ensures that the resetting happens without any variables in timing. Three registers dominate the dial; they are for small seconds, a 30-minute timer, and the date. The case measures 42mm, with thin square pushers.

According to the company, its designers looked to 1930s-style chronographs for inspiration. Given that the first flyback chronograph debuted right in the middle of that decade, that vintage look is well-represented—especially for a company that’s only been around since 1988.

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Two variations will be introduced: one is a clean, smooth-dialed one in either a silver or dark grey dial, with circular engraving on the registers and a subtle tachymeter set against the edge of the dial. (Contrasting smaller hands against the silver dial is a nice touch.) The second, more classical-looking version features a silver dial, Roman numerals, “Clou de Paris” guilloché detailing that adds some lovely texture to the proceedings, and dark Breguet-style hands. Both can be had in either stainless steel, or rose-gold plated steel.

At last year’s Baselworld, FC unveiled its first in-house perpetual calendar movement for under $10,000. This year’s in-house feat is just as impressive, but half that price: at 3,695 Euros, it’s a fair tick under 4000 Euros. A classical design with an in-house complication is one thing—but to call it a relative “value” makes it a little bit sweeter.


For more: FrederiqueConstant.com

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Hailing from the middle coast of Austin, Texas, Blake Z. Rong is a freelance writer, researcher, one-time podcast host, and occasional automotive journalist. When he was 13, he took apart a quartz watch and forgot how to put it back together again. His love for watches has lingered ever since. He can usually be found on his motorcycle speeding across Texas Hill Country.
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  • Nicolas Roard

    Beautiful, particularly in steel + dark dial. The case is 42mm, but I was wondering how thick is it?

    • egznyc

      Great question, as it would be nice to have something not quite as thick as a hockey puck. I like these a lot – nice, dressy chronograph – but wish there were more visibility into the moving parts of the movement.

  • gw01

    BIG props to FC for stepping up their game!!! In-house movements for the same MSRP than other re-case companies; great value.

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