Frederique Constant Vintage Rally Healey
The relationship between Frederique Constant and classic racing is a long one and began sixteen years ago when the Swiss brand signed a partnership with the current owners of the Austin Healey brand. As a result, various limited edition chronographs and time only models were introduced.
This year, Frederique Constant unveils a fully renovated, limited edition time-only collection, replacing and esthetically updating the old one. It features an altimeter-like date window, whose style looked outdated compared to the chronographs line up, whose last update dates back to 2018.
When re-styling the Frederique Constant Vintage Rally Healey Automatic, designers focused on enhancing the whole collection's family feeling. They adopted the latest Healey logo, placed above the index at six o'clock. Compared to the outgoing model, it makes the watch look much cleaner. The perforated leather strap has changed too, it is more refined, and features small holes instead of the original large ones; all in all, the watch's design has dramatically stepped up. Last but not least, Frederique Constant introduces a "British Racing Green" color option, and a more elegant rose gold plated steel proposition that showcases a silver dial.
The top-end model comes with a brown strap and dark brown minute ring contrasting the silver dial. I'm not a great fan of gold-plating, but I believe it offers high perceived value without raising the price tag that much, which is in line with the brand's mission. The finely perforated dark brown strap completes a package that makes the new Vintage Rally Healey Automatic the most elegant option. Turning our heads back to the previously introduced British Racing Green variant, it looks like the quintessential weekend getaway's wristwatch, hopefully when driving a classic Austin Healey. Dial and engraving on the case back are, in fact, a tribute to a specific car: the Healey 100S NOJ393, purchased in 1969 by a collector for 155 pounds and sold in December 2011 for an incredible one million euros.
The case design is simple, stripped-down, featuring slightly curved lugs, since it is a relatively thin watch (it also measures 40mm, across) given the adoption of a mechanical movement with no complication, on top of the date window. Also, the date is welcome, since the white window matches the white outer minute ring, making the entire design more compelling. Designers adopted the oversized applied Arabic numerals, which add form and function. They guarantee excellent readability, given they're filled with Super-Luminova®, something you won't miss if you're driving open-air along a twisty road somewhere in Tuscany, or the English countryside. Each model comes available in 2888 specimen, and they cost 1,390 and 1,590 Euros, respectively.
The 2020 Vintage Rally Healey joins, as mentioned above, a collection best known for their two-register chronographs, among which a stunning British Racing Green option is available since 2018, among other things. With the new Vintage Rally Automatic, the offering is fully refreshed.
Among the significant differences between the two, I'd highlight the tone-on-tone leather strap and a 2mm wider case. A blue on blue variant is also available and sports the darkest blue tone I've ever seen in watchmaking. It works well on such a vintage-inspired chronograph, whose minor letdown is the too oversized Chrono pushers.
(Photo credit: courtesy of Frederique Constant)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®