Introducing the Frederique Constant Classics Automatic GMT

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Few brands punch above their weight as well as Frederique Constant does. The Swiss label manages to produce a truly timeless look with in-house movements for far less than most comparable brand, especially with its Classics line. The same line that spawned the breathtaking Classic Moonphase has now grown in a new, popular direction with this: the Classic GMT Automatic.

Like most Frederique Constant pieces, this new addition looks to be a greatest hits album of classical design cues. The case is a simple three-piece affair, with a rounded bezel atop a slim mid-case with perfectly proportioned tapered lugs. From the side, the case walls gently curve outward, giving it a luxe, cushy feel and keeping things from feeling too angular. Around back, the sapphire display back offers a glimpse into the in-house-modified FC-350 caliber.

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The dial is a similarly brilliant mix of Breguet, Patek and other traditional design ideas. There’s some excellent play with textures going on here—the outer hours index ring is a muted sunburst silver, while the 24-hour GMT track continues this sunray pattern while separated by a razor thin line. The center of the dial, then, features a handsome diamond guilloche-like pattern, which is in turn picked up in a narrow ring just outside the hours track. In terms of design language, it’s as old school as it gets, with elegant slender Roman numerals coupled to Breguet hands. Meanwhile, the GMT hand is a simple arrow, with a modernity that keeps the whole dial from feeling a bit stodgy.

The at the heart of the Classic GMT Automatic started life as a Selitta SW200, but that’s far from a bad thing. The SW200 is a venerable Swiss base for building upon, and Frederique Constant has added some serious goodies to the package in the form of a completely in-house designed GMT module. Furthermore, Frederique Constant has thrown in some (albeit sparse) bespoke decoration to the FC-350, with a unique signed gold rotor finished with broad Côtes de Genève. The specs for the finished product are more than respectable as well, with a 36-hour power reserve, 26 jewels and a buttery smooth beat rate of 28,800 bph.At an advertised 42 millimeters in diameter, it’s on the large side for a dressier design, but shouldn’t be so big as to be unwieldy. Strap choice is limited to black and brown alligator. While both complement the old-school nature of the Classic GMT Automatic well, it’d be interesting to see how this piece fares on a Milanese mesh as well. All in all, it’s a classically handsome addition to Frederique Constant’s stellar Classics line, and a respectable value at $1,695 for steel and $1,895 for the rose gold plated version. We’re looking forward to seeing a lot more of these in the coming months.

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Hailing from Redondo Beach, California, Sean’s passion for design and all things mechanical started at birth. Having grown up at race tracks, hot rod shops and car shows, he brings old-school motoring style and a lifestyle bent to his mostly vintage watch collection. He is also the Feature Editor and Videographer for Speed Revolutions.
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