2023 is a monumental year for Frederique Constant, marking the Maison’s 35th anniversary and the 15th anniversary of their iconic in-house Tourbillon manufacture movement. To celebrate these milestones, Frederique Constant has unveiled an exceptional limited edition timepiece – the Classic Tourbillon Meteorite Manufacture in platinum. Strictly limited to only 35 pieces worldwide, this watch represents the pinnacle of fine watchmaking and manufactory craftsmanship.
The meteorite dial immediately captures attention. Sourced from Namibia, this rare fragment of celestial matter fell to Earth in a miraculous occurrence. Transforming the brittle, metal-rich material into a flawless 0.5mm dial requires tremendous skill and dexterity. The artisan must expertly chisel around any corrosion and cracks to cut a perfectly smooth disc, without a single flake falling off to damage the movement below. The meteorite’s natural grey tones are enhanced by a coat of ruthenium, while also protecting against further oxidation. No two dials will be alike, making each of the 35 watches absolutely unique.
However, the true horological achievement lies within the exquisitely finished FC-980 calibre movement. For the first time ever, Frederique Constant watchmakers have entirely hand-finished every single component of the movement. Using traditional techniques like bevelling, hand-punching, engraving, and charbonnage, completing each component requires weeks of meticulous labor. A single bridge alone takes 2-3 days to finish by hand. The hand-engraved tourbillon cage and charbonnaged bridge demonstrate exceptional craftsmanship destined to impress even the most discerning collector.
To harmonize aesthetically with the meteorite dial, Frederique Constant has chosen an elegant ruthenium coating for the movement instead of the usual silver. Engravings and serial numbering stand out in the rhodium plate. The oscillating weight, combining brass and tungsten for optimal inertia, also receives a ruthenium treatment. Every decision unifies around the dial’s celestial origins.
Housed in a 39mm platinum case, the slim yet substantial proportions contrast beautifully with the deep grey anthracite sun-brushed dial. Index markers and elongated hands are optimized for legibility, their diamond-cut edges refracting light elegantly. A discreet seconds hand glides over the finely finished tourbillon aperture.
With only 35 pieces available worldwide, the Classic Tourbillon Meteorite Manufacture represents a horological treasure destined to be an instant classic. Frederique Constant has drawn upon their deepest well of watchmaking expertise to create a timepiece celebrating 35 years of fine Swiss horology.
In my personal opinion, this watch is a triumph in every regard. The meteorite dial is a stroke of genius, transforming something extraterrestrial into an object of wonder and beauty. The platinum case provides understated nobility. But above all, the hand-finishing lavished upon the FC-980 movement is simply breathtaking. Each component begs to be examined under a loupe. Here we find watchmaking not as an industrial process, but as a rarefied art form nurtured by human hands.
Frederique Constant honours their anniversary while also demonstrating tremendous passion for their metier. The Classic Tourbillon Meteorite Manufacture represents both avant-garde innovation and respect for tradition – virtues that encapsulate the finest Swiss watchmaking. For the lucky few who acquire this instant classic, it will be a treasure to pass down through generations.