This year the Swiss brand has presented a whole plethora of watches equipped with their revised FC-700 in-house automatic movement sporting a lube-free silicon escapement. The new Frederique Constant Maxime Manufacture Automatic Silicium (ref. FC-700SMG5M6) is one of them.
If you will compare photos of the new Frederique Constant Maxime Manufacture Automatic Silicium and the original Frederique Constant Maxime Manufacture Automatic collection that was revealed in early 2009, you will possibly notice very few differences between the two.
The 42 millimeter stainless steel case that combines polished and satin-finished surfaces is still here. The rounded lugs are here. The setting crown, too, seems to be the same.
Even the dial of the watch looks like it has retained the exquisite guilloche-work of the original with the only difference being a new set of numerals. Still hand-polished and applied, the Arabic numerals were finally replaced with Roman digits that, surprisingly, seem to be more in place here.
Of course, the main reason for reissue was the introduction of a slightly modernized FC-700 self-winding movement.
Designed and crafted at FC’s own manufacturing facilities, the revised automatic caliber has its standard escapement replaced with a more technologically advanced part made from silicon (hence the name “Silicium,” that’s how the metal was called when it was initially obtained in pure form almost 190 years ago.)
Compared to steel or brass, the mineral is more lightweight, which decreases its inertia and increases the movement’s energy efficiency, and doesn’t require any lubrication substances, which makes it easier to service.
Being manufacture-made, each FC-700 caliber is uniquely numbered and finely decorated with circular-graining and Cotes de Geneve motif. Its skeletonized oscillating weight is made from gold: the metal not only looks good, but is also denser than steel, making the automatic winding more efficient.
There are two things that I don’t like about this new timekeeper. The first one is that Frederique Constant decided to limit the timekeeper’s production to mere 888 pieces. I mean, come on! This is a beautiful timekeeper with a nice movement, why would anyone to artificially limit the supply? The second one is, of course, the price: the MSRP of $3500 seems to be sort of prohibitive given the brand’s lower perceived value compared to some other Swiss watchmakers. Come on, FC, get it lower by a thousand and you will get an instant hit!
Photos: Frederique Constant
Frederique Constant Maxime Manufacture Silicium (ref. FC-700SMG5M6) specification
Price: $3500 (MSRP)
Movement: Caliber FC-700, automatic, in-house, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 26
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Movement decoration: Skeletonized gold oscillating weight, circular graining, Cotes de Geneva motif
Functions: Hours, minutes, date
Power reserve: 42 hours
Case material: Stainless steel, polished and satin finished
Size: 42.00 mm
Case height: 11.80 mm
Lug width: 18/22 mm
Numerals: Roman, applied
Hour markers: Gray
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Black alligator leather strap with steel folding clasp and water-resistant inner lining
Crystal: Sapphire, convex