The limited-edition Frederique Constant Runabout is available in two versions of stainless steel (with rhodium-plated or gold-plated (ref. FC-392RV6B6) elements of the dial) and in a more office-friendly rose gold-plated case. The generously sized gadget pays homage to the 1920s: the post-WWI European Golden Age that preceded the Great Depression. You got the pun, right?
The Runabout is powered by Frederique Constant’s FC-392 chronograph movement, which is based on the famous (and expensive compared to its main competitors) ETA Valjoux 7750 25-jewel natural-born automatic chronograph caliber.
Beating at 28,800 alternations per hour, this highly reliable movement features a standard power reserve of 42 hours, a non-magnetic Glucydur balance wheel, and the Incablock anti-shock protection system that greatly increases the robustness of the caliber.
The movement is hidden inside a 43 mm stainless steel case with a set of massive integrated horns.
Although the lugs leave an impression of being too long for a case of this size, this is just an illusion: the timekeeper measures approximately 52 millimeters from lug to lug and fits nice just about any normal wrist. Still, would be great to try one on your wrist first before pulling the trigger: just to be sure that it fits.
The case-back cover is made of solid steel but features FC’s trademark porthole-styled cutout exhibiting a part of the finely decorated movement: the aforementioned balance-wheel.
In the photos below, you may notice that the movement is polished and tied together with blued screws.
Unlike most chronographs in the sub-2000 Euro price range that tend to sport flashy hey-look-at-me-style styling, the Runabout features a classic, unobtrusive design.
Although its three mandatory chronograph counters are nicely blended into the dial, their readings are legible and thanks to a set of black-painted hands wouldn’t require from you excessive concentration.
A subsidiary seconds hand, which is located at 9 hours, too, sports a black pointer slightly decreasing the timekeeper’s legibility, but that is only a minor annoyance.
Like the limited-edition “Healey Le Mans”, this one is also available in a gift box with a miniature copy of a Runabout yacht.
As usual, Frederique Constant offers good value for relatively small money. Yes, I understand that the official price of €1850 is nothing to sniff at, but, still, you get a nice (albeit a bit generic, let’s be honest here) dress watch that is powered by one of the best (both in terms of reliability and ability to keep good time) chronograph movements currently available on the market. In my opinion, this is a solid product.
Photos: Frederique Constant
Frederique Constant Runabout Chronograph specification
Price range: €1850 (MSRP)
Movement: Caliber FC-392, base ETA Valjoux 7750, Swiss Made
Functions: Hours, minutes, chronograph, date
Cadence of balance: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 42 hours
Case: Stainless steel or Steel plated in rose gold
Size: 43.00 mm
Lugs: 23.00 mm
Dial: Silver with hand-polished Arabic numerals
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Dark Brown calf strap, Rose gold plated buckle. Water-resistant inner lining
Crystal: Sapphire, convex
Back: Solid, engraved, circular cutout over the balance wheel