How the Frederique Constant Highlife Collection Marries Daring Innovation with Style

By Justin Mastine-Frost

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Looking to start your watch collection? Swiss luxury watchmaker Frederique Constant is the perfect option for the budding enthusiast.

Frederique Constant has long been (rightfully) positioned as one of the better brands for value in the current luxury watch market. Its in-house manufacturing capability far surpasses that of nearly any competitor in its respective price bracket. Combining this with a thoughtful classic design that echoes traditions of the watchmaking industry, and pulling it together with a value-focused price of entry means you’re looking at a very appealing proposition. There’s good reasoning that Frederique Constant is considered one of the few reputable “gateway brands” in the watch world, providing budding enthusiasts a step up into proper Swiss watchmaking without hitting the exorbitant sticker prices of some of the industry’s more well known brands. 

In recent years, most offerings from Frederique Constant aired on the more classic and dressy side of things, however in the midst of the pandemic the brand brought something decidedly different to the table—a proper steel sports watch collection with an integrated bracelet. The Highlife collection is an absolute charmer, with its tapered tonneau-shaped case and textured dial featuring a graphic representation of the earth’s longitudes and latitudes. As an added perk, the new model features a quick-change strap system and each reference is sold with a bonus rubber strap alongside either a leather or metal bracelet. This particular category has been booming as of late, and though they’re not an early adopter, they’re also one of few in the category that doesn’t feel like it’s an homage to a certain classic from the holy trinity of watchmaking.

At present, three different Highlife models are available in an assortment of dial colors and case materials (11 references in total), including a chronometer-certified time and date model, a time-only reference with an open balance wheel, and their crown jewel—the manufacture perpetual calendar. A mechanical perpetual calendar is a lovely thing and has long been one of the most sought-after complications in the world of high watchmaking. Due to its complexity (having to mechanically account for days of the month as well as leap years), perpetual calendars are the sort of thing typically seen from top-tier luxury brands in the category. As a point of reference, even Rolex doesn’t even offer a perpetual calendar in its catalog. Typically something that can easily set you back anywhere between $25,000 and well north of $100,000 depending on the maker, the Highlife Perpetual Calendar’s list price starts at a comparatively modest $10,495 even though it’s built right down the road from some of the industry’s heavy hitters on the outskirts of Geneva, making it an alluring option for those interested in the style and category.