Frederique Constant may be relatively new in the watch industry. Still, they have made a name for themselves, producing fine, accurate, and beautiful watches. But is Frederique Constant a luxury watch Brand?
Frederique Constant is an entry-level luxury watch brand. Its watches are Swiss Made, with in-house movements. Most Frederique Constant watches are sold between $1,000 to $5,000, similar to other entry-level luxury brands like Oris, Longines, and Maurice Lacroix.
This article will discuss in further detail about Frederique Constant and explain why we see the brand as an entry-level luxury brand. We also answer some common questions people seem to be asking about the brand.
Is Frederique Constant Luxury?
Frederique Constant is seen as an entry-level luxury watch after we looked at the brand from these areas:
- In-House Movements and Technology
- Brand Image
We discussed each of these points in a separate article, so feel free to check it out if you want to.
ALSO READ: What Makes A Watch Brand Luxury?
|Characteristics||Luxury Watch Brands||Frederique Constant||Pass?|
|Materials||May use 904L steel, titanium, precious metals, gemstones||Gold alloy, diamonds, alligator leather, sapphire crystals||✅|
|Assembly||Mostly hand assembled||No such claims||❌|
|Movement||Almost all have in-house movement||In-house movements||✅|
|Proprietary Technology||Almost all have proprietary technology||Hybrid, horological smartwatches||✅|
|Design||Often iconic, and sets trends.||No iconic desings||❌|
|Homages||Have homages made after their models||None known||❌|
|Fakes & Imitation||Suffers from fakes and imitation||Suffering from fakes and imitations.||✅|
|Brand Image||Prestige, exclusivity, class||Carries a ‘luxury, but affordable’ image.||✅|
|Prices||At least four-figure.||Has watches as low as $700||❌|
Luxury watchmakers tend to use more premium, expensive materials to make their watch parts. With regular watchmakers, you might see 316L stainless steel, genuine leather, or resin/plastic materials.
With luxury watchmakers, materials such as gold alloy, titanium, top-grain alligator leather, and diamonds may be used.
With Frederique Constant, the lower-priced models use the materials that many regular watchmakers use. Their more premium models have materials such as yellow gold casings, diamonds, and alligator/crocodile leather straps.
All Frederique Constant models are offered with a sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating on the underside. This shows that it is not trying to cut corners with materials.
More expensive materials are used by luxury watchmakers. Other than 316L stainless steel, watch casings and straps can be constructed of 904L steel, titanium, or 18K gold.
Some luxury timepieces are also finished with diamonds and top-grain leather.
Many luxury watchmakers apply a higher degree of hand assembly to their watches. There is also a focus on pushing for in-house production.
Such practice helps to ensure higher quality for the watches, although it means less output overall. This explains why hand-made watches are usually much more expensive.
Regular and affordable watchmakers rely on automation to help mass manufacture their watches. Some also outsource manufacturing to reduce operation and investment costs. Mass manufacturing allows them to keep prices low and remain competitive.
Frederique Constant does not claim to apply a high degree of hand assembly, but they claim to produce their watches in-house. Their main manufacturing site produces watch parts and movements. The site also assembles watches.
All Frederique Constant models are Swiss Made. As per Swiss Law, a watch can only be considered Swiss Made when:
- 60 percent of its production cost is incurred in Switzerland (design, parts manufacturing, assembly, etc.)
- The movement inside the watch is from Switzerland.
- The watch is encased and inspected in Switzerland.
In general, Swiss watches are of higher quality. Suppose Frederique Constant watches can bear this recognition. In that case, it shows the workmanship and quality you can get from Frederique Constant watches.
In-House Movements and Technology
Luxury watchmakers usually develop their own movements and accompanying technology to better control and improve the performance and accuracy of their watches.
Instead, regular and affordable watchmakers outsource movement development to third-party companies by purchasing their movements. For example, if you open up a Stührling, you may find movements from Miyota, a Japanese movement maker.
Famous Swiss third-party movement makers include ETA, Ronda, Sellita, and STP. Miyota and Seiko are the more prominent movement makers from Japan.
Frederique Constant watches all use in-house movements. Many were developed from the ground up. However, some older movements, such as the FC-303, are adapted based on the ETA 2824-2 movement.
Frederique Constant’s workhorse movement would be the 700 series. These movements are fully developed in-house and have a power reserve of 42 hours. Its high beat rate of 28,000 BPH would ensure a smooth sweeping second hand.
The watch brand was also one of the earliest to produce silicon escapement wheels in 2007, with Patek Philippe the first in 2005. Frederique Constant was also able to produce their own tourbillon in 2007, a proof of the technical capabilities of their engineers.
Luxury watchmakers tend to design watches that eventually become the ‘de-facto’ or ‘gold-standard’ for their category.
For example, Rolex Submariner or the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean are seen as the ‘gold standard’ for dive watches. Many new models are designed with these models as benchmarks.
ALSO READ: Complete Types Of Watches
Luxury watchmakers also can influence trends. For example, when Rolex added additional design elements to their Datejust or Oyster watches, many other watchmaking companies would follow suit.
Think about how many watch companies offer pearlmaster style bracelets, fluted bezels, and cyclops magnifiers – these are all originally from Rolex.
Frederique Constant’s watches tend to have a classical design, with design cues similar to ultra-luxury watches such as A.Lange & Söhne, Jaeger-LeCoultre, and Breguet. The watches are thin, classic, and luxurious.
These watches are often offered with leather straps and gold plating for that luxury dress watch look. Some models are made of gold alloy casing as well.
Such an approach helps attract consumers who love designs from these ultra-luxury companies but cannot afford them. So it helps Frederique Constant to sell their watches.
However, such an approach resulted in a lack of a unique design style and cues. Frederique Constant watches are not as easily recognizable as, say, a Panerai – you can look at a Panerai from a long distance away and immediately recognize it.
Homages are look-alike watches that carry a different brand. They are legal, and homages bear the maker’s logo and differ slightly from the original. As the price of the original watch rises, homages emerge.
Luxury watch brands frequently had homages made after their models. These watches usually have great designs and are sold at a high price.
As a result, homage watchmakers enter the market and offer watches that look close and are affordable, but not to the point it becomes a clone.
Frederique Constant’s lack of unique design language, and affordable price, made it less likely to have homages.
In fact, it is possible to claim that some of Frederique Constant’s models can be homages of ultra-luxury classic dress watches. For example, Breguet, A.Lange & Söhne, and Jaeger-LeCoultre.
ALSO READ: The Truth About Homages
It is common for luxury watch brands to have fake, counterfeit, or clone watch issues. This is unavoidable due to the high cost of the watches. They are popular and are in high demand, yet out of reach to many customers.
This offers a lucrative market for clone watchmakers. Fake and clone watches can range from a low-quality copy to super-clone watches almost indistinguishable from the original.
With super clones, a qualified watchmaker and serial number checker must distinguish a fake from a genuine watch.
Frederique Constant suffers from counterfeit watches, although not to the same degree as Omega or Rolex. This is because Frederique Constant’s watches are not in very high demand compared to Rolex.
The prices are also not too high to the point many give up on actually trying to own the original timepiece. Similar to brands such as Longines or Tag Heuer, Frederique Constant is an ‘affordable luxury’ that many can still save up and purchase.
Luxury watch brands spend money and effort to develop a brand image of distinction, sophistication, and exclusivity. They usually associate their brands with similar events, people, or media outlets.
Many high-end watch brands, including Rolex, Omega, IWC, and Richard Mille, sponsor tennis, golf, and Formula One events. They also try to become the ‘official timekeeper’ for brands.
Luxury watch companies also advertise in media outlets that project power, status, and wealth, such as Wall Street Journal, The Economist, or Entrepreneur magazine.
Frederique Constant does try to build an image of luxury. Still, they focus on pushing for the concept of ‘accessible luxury.’ In fact, the company’s ethos and aims are to produce fine timepieces for many and not to be elitist.
The brand also seems to be less active in marketing, unlike brands such as Rolex and Omega that place ads and sponsor multiple events. Suppose Frederique Constant takes cues from its parent company, Citizen, which does not run too many ads but focuses on making great watches.
It is common for luxury watchmakers to charge a high price for their watches, most starting from four-figure. High prices help luxury watchmakers in many ways.
First, the high-profit margin can be reinvested into marketing and further build the watch brand’s image of luxury, success, and prestige. Secondly, high prices make the watch less accessible to the public, further building that image of exclusivity.
Those who can own the watch will also be able to use it as a status symbol.
Frederique Constant’s status as an entry-level luxury watch brand is evident in its pricing. Most of their watches are priced within $1,000 to $5,000, with some quartz models selling for around $700 to $1,000.
The most expensive model is the Classics Worldtimer (Ref: FC-718NWWM4H9), at $18,000. This model is a dress watch with a worldtimer dial and an 18K rose gold case. This model, however, is much more expensive than the average models Frederique Constant offer.
Overall, Frederique Constant’s pricing model is similar and close to other entry-level luxury watch brands such as Longines, Tag Heuer, Oris, and Maurice Lacroix.
Who Owns Frederique Constant Watches?
The Citizen Group. Citizen Watch Group acquired Frederique Constant in 2016. The acquisition allows Citizen to augment its portfolio with Swiss entry-level luxury watches. Citizen also hopes to share technology and expertise with Frederique Constant.
The Citizen group currently contains brands such as Citizen, Bulova, Alpina, Campanella, and Arnold & Sons. The watch group also owns Miyota, a major Japanese movement manufacturer powering many watch brands around the globe.
Citizen further expanded its brand holdings by acquiring Frederique Constant in 2016. Both companies look forward to working together, sharing technology and know-how in watchmaking, and marketing capacities in the acquisition note.
Is Frederique Constant Real Gold?
Most Frederique Constant watches do not contain gold. Only several models, such as the Classics Worldtimer, have their watch case in 18K rose gold. Other models may have some gold alloy plating, but the amount of gold on the plating is minuscule.
Frederique Constant is an entry-level luxury watch brand, which means their watches are not sold at a very high price.
This means Frederique Constant may be able to include diamonds, alligator leather, and sapphire crystals in their watches. But to add more luxurious materials may be a stretch, for example, an 18K gold watch case.
Is Frederique Constant Good Value?
Frederique Constant is of good value, as they are Swiss Made watches of high quality. The watches use in-house movement and are given a two-year warranty. The design is timeless, classic, and looks much more expensive than it actually costs.
Frederique Constant is a good option if you are a fan of classic, luxury dress watches with complications, such as those from Jaeger-LeCoultre, A.Lange & Söhne, or Breguet.
Models from these brands have astronomical prices. Suppose these watches are out of reach of your budget. In that case, you could get something similar, such as a Frederique Constant. You will still get respect for your watch choice.
It is also a great option if you are looking for a Swiss watch that is ‘out of the radar.’ Longines, Maurice Lacroix, and Rado are similar in pricing but are much more popular. Frederique Constant is a good option if you prefer something less popular and understated.