New Watch Alert: Frederique Constant, Luminox, Citizen

Posted by Robert Farago on March 10, 2021

Frederique Constant Classics Index Automatic – $1600?

Why do watch brands release new models to the media before putting them on their has the jump on the new Frederique Constant Classics Index Automatic. They accuse the brand (born in 1988) of horological chutzpah for calling their throwback watch a “classic.” FC’s “refreshed” 40mm Classics are available in matte blue, white or black dials. In an attempt to liberate extra cash for the bound-to-be-popular blue dial, FC only sells that variant on steel (black on leather above). As before, the range is powered by . . .

Freddy’s automatic FC-303 calibre (base Sellita SW200-1). FC doesn’t specify which of Sellita’s four grades they modded to motivate the hands. The Swiss watchmaker’s Highlife makes a big deal of its COSC spec powerplant. So whatever it is it ain’t that.

Also true: Frederique Constant watches have a strange habit of turning up on the gray marketMacy’s and Amazon for significant discounts. We’re talking Tissot territory pricing. If you like the look of the Fredster’s minimalist Swiss three-handed dress watch, wait ’til it settles into its natural habitat.

Luminox Bear Grylls Survival AIR Series 3761 GMT – $695

Unlike every other rotating bezel GMT watch made, the timepiece completing Luminox’s Bear Grylls series doesn’t use the usual reference cities. Mr. Grylls – a former combat trooper for the British Army’s Special Air Service (nothing to do with postal delivery) – decreed that his AIR Luminox’s bezel should list cities “home to the premier special forces around the world.”

I was kinda hoping Hereford was at the top because that’s where hurricanes hardly ever happen. Instead . . .

It’s a who you gonna call? directory for time zone traversing anti-terrorist operatives, sitting on a Carbonox alloy bezel with an aluminum inner ring (the bezel not the operatives). I’m a little perplexed by the AIR’s inner railroad track; it writes an accuracy check the seconds hand can’t cash and gives the watch an odd sort of Aztec calendar feel.

There’s no faulting the quartz-powered watch’s accuracy, 200m water resistance or always-on tritium tube illumination. And who doesn’t want to be constantly reminded of Mr. Gryll’s belief that persistence is the key to success? Pressing on . . .

Citizen Series 8  – $1000 to $1500

“Simple. Contemporary. Stripped down. Unpretentious.” Citizen would say that about their new Series 8 automatic watches, wouldn’t they? New watch alert! Compared to the new Citizen ProMaster Aqualand, Liberace wearing a diamond tiara would be simple and unpretentious.

Also worth noting: the Citizen Promaster Tough is an equally minimalist watch for $300. But then it’s a plastic fantastic EcoDrive timepiece affixed to rubber; not a mechanical watch with a steel bracelet boasting Citizen’s new caliber 0950 and the 0951 movements. My problem . . .

The Citizen Series 8 has none of the visual oomph of their new high end Caliber 0200 watch, with its applied indices, eagle logo, pebble-dash dial and Klosoff-offending seconds sub-dial. Developed with Citizen’s Swiss La Joux-Perret subsidiary, the movement exceeds Chronometer standards. For $6k – if you Kane believe it. That’s a lot of money for a Citizen watch.

As is a grand-and-a-half for a Citizen three-handed automatic. The Japanese watchmaker knows it has to move upmarket to avoid DBA (Death by Apple) – at least until their CZ Smart watch picks up the slack (sometime between now and never). As always, we report, the market decides.

This article was republished with permission from TheTruthAboutWatches.

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