The new pair of Frederique Constant Maxime Manufacture automatic watches (refs. FC-700MS5MZ9 and FC-700MS5M6) is the second lot of manufacture-grade timepieces from the independent Swiss watch manufacture. Unlike its numerous competitors, it is equipped not with a mass-produced ETA job, but features its own in-house movement.
Called Caliber FC-700, the mechanism is built on 26 jewels and features a nicely decorated golden rotor visible through the watch’s transparent caseback.
The FC-700 is the second manufacture-made caliber from the young Swiss watchmaker after their FC-930 movement that was presented in 2004 together with the vintage-styled Frederique Constant Heart Beat Manufacture Automatic collection. Frankly, I don’t see anything groundbreaking or revolutionary in this mechanism, but, if Frederique Constant will somehow manage to make enough of these movements for the economy of scale to kick in, it would really be nice to have an extra maker of high-grade mechanical movements in the field that is currently manipulated by just one behemoth (and you probably already know who I am talking about.)
Back to our sheep though. Frederique Constant has made its fortune selling watches that are both affordable and elegant.
More than that, FC is the first company that, with the aforementioned Heart Beat model with a skeletonized dial, actually started the “open heart” craze.
However, the Maxime Manufacture Automatic clearly lacks in terms of originality of exterior design.
The watch features rather standard layout with central hour and minute hands and a date sub-dial located at 6 o’clock.
Its combination of Sun Ray and Clous de Paris guilloche patterns is nothing new and quite often used by other brands -for example, the German Limes- striving in the same niche.
What really stands this watch out of the crowd, is its movement.
You see, most brands in this price range (the watch will retail below €2000, by the way) are usually powered by standard ETA movements with standard complication modules supplied by third-party manufacturers like, say, Dubois-Depraz.
Although the choice of movements usually (not always!) makes it easier to service or repair the watch in case of damage or replace a faulty movement altogether at a reasonable price, there is always that tiny voice in your head that constantly tells you that your watch is not unique. It tells you that you paid too much for a timekeeper, which is powered by a movement that costs around 40 bucks apiece.
The FC MMA is powered by the company’s own FC-700 in-house movement and, although its accuracy and reliability still have to pass the test of time, this makes it THE most exclusive affordable watch on the market.
See also: Bvlgari Sotirio in rose gold
Photos: Frederique Constant
Frederique Constant Maxime Manufacture Automatic (refs. FC-700MS5MZ9 and FC-700MS5M6) watch specification :
Price range: €1950 (MSRP)
Movement: Caliber FC-700, in-house, Swiss Made
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date
Power reserve: 42 hours
Case material: Stainless steel with 18kt rose gold bezel, transparent caseback
Case dimensions: 42.00 mm
Case height: 11.80 mm
Lugs: 18/22 mm
Numerals: Roman or Arabic; polished, applied
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Dark-brown or black alligator strap with folding clasp in matching metal
Crystal: Sapphire, convex