Frederique Constant is celebrating a double anniversary with greetings from outer space: the brand’s 35th anniversary and the launch of its tourbillon calibre 15 years ago. With its meteorite dial, the Classic Tourbillon Meteorite Manufacture is a cosmic timepiece that showcases the brand’s craftsmanship through 35 handmade limited-edition pieces.
A rare combination of materials: the case and dial
For the first time in the brand’s history, Frederique Constant combines a dial made of meteorite and a tourbillon calibre with a precious metal, making it one of the few available on the market.
The Classic Tourbillon Meteorite Manufacture’s platinum case
The Classic Tourbillon Meteorite Manufacture consists of a platinum case with a 39 mm diameter and height of 10.99 mm. Along with its scratch-resistant, anti-reflective sapphire crystal and ‘onion’ crown, the case is well equipped against corrosion and water-resistant up to a depth of 30 metres. The open caseback allows for a closer look at the inner workings of the complex calibre, in which every component has been finished by hand. In addition, the caseback reveals the serial number of the limited edition.
The Classic Tourbillon Meteorite Manufacture’s meteorite dial
In contrast to the platinum case, the grey meteorite dial, sourced from Gibeon in Namibia, is much more delicate. At first glance, it provides a simple and elegant frame for the exposed tourbillon at 6 o’clock. However, a closer look at the timepiece reveals its surface’s varied lines and colour nuances. The choice of material for the dial bears witness to a piece of celestial history and fine craftsmanship, as the ferrous meteorite rock can break easily.
Therefore, the stone was cut into 0.5 mm thick discs with the utmost care. To prevent the movement from being affected by a chip later in the process, it was vital not to damage the material and to obtain a flat meteorite disc. Thus, each Classic Tourbillon Meteorite Manufacture is home to a unique disc, making every watch one-of-a-kind. In addition, the dial was chiseled and coated with ruthenium to preserve it from oxidation. Hand-polished, silver-coloured hands indicate the hours and minutes by pointing to the diamond-cut indices, while a small hand marks the 60 seconds at the visible tourbillon.
The movement: Tourbillon Manufacture FC-980
Back in 2008, Frederique Constant presented their in-house tourbillon movement. For its 15th anniversary, the Tourbillon Manufacture FC-980 movement now beats in the Classic Tourbillon Meteorite Manufacture with a frequency of 4 Hz and a power reserve of 38 hours.
Altogether, the lever, the escapement with its silicon wheel, the regulating organs and the tourbillon cage only weigh 0.59 grams. Therefore, only a small amount of energy is required to drive the calibre. In addition, the tourbillon cage is engraved with the rhodium-plated numbering of the edition. Moreover, the ruthenium-coated oscillating weight is made of brass with a tungsten section around the rim, which has greater inertia due to its density, exceeding even that of 18-carat gold.
Attention to detail
The open caseback exhibits the attention to detail that the two watchmakers put into hand-finishing the movement. The Classic Tourbillon Meteorite Manufacture is the first model in Frederique Constant’s collection to have all its movement components finished by hand, taking the watchmakers several weeks to accomplish. For example, they spent two to three days working on a single bridge to resemble the dial’s aesthetics with the help of charbonnage, just like the tourbillon cage. In addition, all other movement components display decorations on both sides, including perlage and beveling. Even the 40 fixed screws were polished for 40 minutes each. An elaborate method was used to enable them to change colour from steel to black depending on the light and the position of the movement. The depth of this watch’s aesthetics can thus be found even in the smallest of details.
Strap, price, and availability
Resembling the night sky through which a meteor streaks, the alligator leather strap of the Classic Tourbillon Meteorite Manufacture is matte black. The 35 pieces of this limited, numbered edition are available for 42,995 euros each.
|Classic Tourbillon Meteorite Manufacture
|Diameter: 39 mm
Height: 10.99 mm
|3 bar (~30 m)
|Matte black alligator leather
|28,800 A/h (4 Hz)
|Hours, minutes, 60 seconds tourbillon