When I hear Frederique Constant and Austin Healey, one word immediately comes to mind; tradition. Both brands, after all, have collaborated for 17 years and counting, through their Vintage Rally Collection to create Austin Healey racing inspired watches. The collection has seen various types of dial designs and complications over the years including a dial with a ‘triple date window’ and several different types of chronographs. Frederique Constant’s latest announcement displays yet another evolution in the collection and a welcomed detour, with an off center seconds sub dial and a modern grey dial. This new release is the equivalent of passing by a vintage Austin Healey; you’re going to take a second look.
Frederique Constant leads off the Vintage Rally collection with a contemporary grey dial model wrapped in a wearable 40 mm polished stainless steel case that is just a hair above 11 mm thick. The matte grey dial gives the Vintage Rally Healey an updated, sleek look, and, as with most well executed grey dials, it’s not too serious like a black dial tool watch, but not too striking like a brightly colored dial watch. The off center sub dial is confidently located at 9 and the red small seconds hand contrasts quite nicely. The oversized numerals located at 12 and 6 are a staple of the Vintage Rally collection, and center the rest of the silver colored and hand polished applied hour indices and hands, filled with white colored lume.
I dig the dial asymmetry with the off center sub dial, however I’m particular when it comes to the symmetry of the hour markers, and if you do look closely, the hour marker at 3 seems to be ever so slightly smaller than the hour marker at 9. It’s not a deal breaker for me, as the asymmetric dial and overall design make for an attractive piece. The grey dial model comes with a grey racing style calf leather strap with tonal grey stitching, completing the ‘All Grey Everything’ affair.
If being greyed out isn’t your speed, then Frederique Constant offers up a pair of different colorways with their ‘International Models’. We get the traditional ‘British Racing Green’ á la the classic Healey rally car, and like the aforementioned grey model, it’s encased in polished stainless steel with polished indices and hands, and fitted with the small red seconds hand. And what better way to complement a green dial than with a brown racing leather strap and white stitching to suit the white graduated 60 minute scale.
Its counterpart is dressed up in a rose gold plated case with matching indices and hands, and accompanied by a midnight navy blue dial and matching leather strap. All three watches are powered by Frederique Constant’s FC 345 Calibre (a modified Sellita SW-200), the iconic NOJ 393 engraved on the case-back and a complete gift set including a miniature NOJ 393 model.
Each colorway is limited to 888 pieces, with the grey model only being available for order in the United States. The Frederique Constant Small Seconds Vintage Rally will retail for $1595 USD. Frederique Constant