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The Frederique Constant Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown is back. Frederique Constant produces the luxurious sports watch again for about two years. Its special feature: the countdown on the dial, especially popular with regatta fans. The chic timepiece from the entry-level luxury segment was provided to me by horando.de.
Everything you need to know about Horando
For this watch review, I have collaborated with my partner Horando again. The online portal Horando is one of the most important stores for luxury watches in German-speaking countries and the place to go if you want to buy watches quickly and safely. At Horando you will find watches from brands such as Audemars Piguet, Omega, Hublot, IWC, Breitling, Rolex, Panerai, Tag Heuer, Tudor and Ulysse Nardin.
In addition, Horando is an official concessionaire and authorized dealer of the brands Alpina, U-BOAT Italo Fontana and – especially important for today’s test – Frederique Constant Geneve!
Of course, all watches are originals. So manufacturer warranties, certificates and original packaging are always included, if available. Internationally, the delivery is made by insured value shipping. Who appreciates the personal contact, can also take his watch from the pick-up lounge in Bamberg. If you want to sell your watch, Horando will buy it and certify it. All important links to today’s watch and the online store can be found at the end of this watch review.
Frederique Constant – a watch brand that stands out
Frederique Constant is a relatively young watch brand. Founded in 1988, the manufacturer has dedicated itself to “accessible luxury”. Models from Frederique Constant are located in the entry-level luxury segment. Meanwhile, the brand operates out of Geneva, the unofficial Swiss watch capital. This is also where the calibers are produced in the in-house manufactory. In-house manufacture calibers – yes, that stands for luxury, too. Incidentally, the company name is composed of the first names of two watchmakers. Peter Stas successfully continued the legacy of his ancestor Constant Stas by founding the brand.
Less than ten years after its foundation, Frederique Constant introduced the Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown in 1997. Peter Stas himself is considered a passionate sailor, for which the Yacht Timer seems made. The watch has a distinctive trademark under 12 o’clock, the Regatta Countdown. The technical complication was seen quite rarely in the watch world, at least until 2019, because this year the watch, which was discontinued in between, was reintroduced into the model collection.
Characteristic for the Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown as well as for the brand Frederique Constant: trends are ignored quite stubbornly. The philosophy, on the other hand, is to concentrate on its own independent design language that stands out. This definitely applies to the Frederique Constant Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown. Horando sent me the reference FC-380NT4H4. This is the version with a rose gold plated case and a blue dial – ready for watch photography– and testing!
This watch is in a league of its own
Admittedly, I am not a regatta connoisseur. Sailing on the open sea is also not in my blood; I prefer the beach in Denmark. That’s why I was a bit puzzled at the beginning, what the interesting function under 12 o’clock might be. Five openings that first turn white and then orange every minute, only to empty again after 10 minutes. What this, in my opinion, very original complication is all about, you’ll read later in detail.
My personal highlight is the calm, rich blue tone, which you could also replace with an anthracite dial if in doubt. The surface is covered by a fine guilloché structure, which makes the watch look very dynamic. The combination with the rose gold case also has rarity value, which you don’t discover too often, especially on men’s wrists. Frederique Constant’s Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown doesn’t seem to measure up to other watches anyway. A watch that lives in its own world. A conventional pin buckle is also out of the question. Frederique Constant has given the leather strap of this sporty and chic timepiece a noble folding clasp.
The Frederique Constant Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown in the hands-on.
I open it and put the Yacht Timer on. On the wrist, the watch cuts a fine figure. This is partly thanks to the medium case size of 42 millimeters in diameter, which also looks good on my arm. ‘Looking good’ is the keyword: because the Frederique Constant Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown masters this characteristic like few other watches. With its coherent design, the regular on the sailors of this world combines various characteristics. The watch has a sporty casual touch, but still looks very classic and elegant. The luxury segment in which the Yacht Timer is located is also apparent. Thus, the watch is also ideally suited for important shore excursions, such as dinner on the promenade.
The target group should therefore be clearly defined. And visually, the Frederique Constant Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown makes them more than happy, that’s for sure!
A dream in rose gold – the case of the Frederique Constant Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown
I had just briefly mentioned that Frederique Constant has a tendency to give its watches an independent and unconventional design. This is no different with the Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown. At its core, the case middle is made of high-quality stainless steel. However, we don’t see anything of it on the pure exterior, as this reference in particular has been encased in a layer of rose gold. Thus, the Frederique Constant Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown with the reference number FC-380NT4H4 is probably considered the most elegant model in the collection. This is matched by the fact that all surfaces are highly polished. The case finish corresponds to the price segment in which the maritime timepiece sails. Of course, for over 3000 euros, you can expect flawless perfection in workmanship!
This also applies to the watch glass, which is made of scratch-resistant sapphire. Frederique Constant states the water resistance of the Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown as up to 100 meters, which means that the watch can withstand a pressure of 10 bar. With that, the Yacht Timer can’t keep up with serious diving watches. On the other hand, those who really want to take the watch on the boat need not worry in this regard. The Yacht Timer is not affected by splashes of water.
True luxury: a manufacture caliber
It almost goes without saying that a manufacture wants to show off its pride and joy. And so it’s hardly surprising that the caseback of the Frederique Constant Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown features a glass viewing window that provides a glimpse of the in-house FC-380 automatic caliber. Manufacture calibers have the advantage that they can be developed hand in hand with the watch model and adapted to the appropriate requirements of the watch. The FC-380 beats at a frequency of 28800 vibrations per hour. Frederique Constant specifies the power reserve as a more than adequate 48 hours. Also at this point, there is praise for the successful finish. Even the rotor was covered with rose gold!
Probably, it would not have been possible for Frederique Constant to produce the Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown according to its own wishes WITHOUT building the automatic movement in-house. The countdown complication is quite unusual. Usual functions are quickly worked off: Second, minute and hour – just what you need. The haptic feedback of the two elegant pushers is first-class.
The countdown is on…
Before we turn to the undisputed highlight of the Frederique Constant Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown, I’d like to go over some other details of the dial that are worth mentioning. There is the blue hue, which I personally find stunning. The surface of the dial itself is not simply smooth, but is adorned by a finely guilloched pattern, which makes it look much more interesting. Hands and the rose gold hour markers are covered with luminous material, which makes it easy to read the dial even in the dark. The sporty contrast to the dignified blue tone is provided by the spirited orange of the second hand.
10 minutes before the start of the regatta, the upper pusher is used to set the most important complication of the Yacht Timer: the countdown. It is represented by five round openings below 12 o’clock, which fill one after the other at minute intervals. First in white, then in the orange hue of the second hand. Once these two passes have been completed and the second hand is at 12 o’clock, the regatta can begin. My conclusion after testing: a thoroughly original feature that is rarely seen and gives the Frederique Constant Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown its own personal touch.
The black leather strap is smooth on the top and has the familiar crocodile look. The beige underside, on the other hand, is very soft and pleasant on the skin. In any case, you can’t complain about the wearing comfort. It was first-class during my test days. Another plus point: what looks like a pin buckle at first glance, turns out to be a folding clasp that ensures a secure fit when the watch is turned over.
My conclusion about the Frederique Constant Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown
‘The somewhat different luxury watch’ could have been my headline. Because that describes the Frederique Constant Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown quite well. The sporty chic timepiece does a lot of things differently than its competitors in many respects. This begins with the fact that the Yacht Timer can not really be assigned to a category. Too elegant for a diver’s watch, too sporty and luxurious for a simple dress watch. The most striking feature, however, is probably the eponymous countdown, which gives the watch a maritime-sporty flair. The Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown also scores well in terms of functionality. Its design is well thought out and reduced to the most important things. And if you still doubt that you have a real luxury watch in front of you, you should take a look at the manufacture caliber!
In the Horando store, the Frederique Constant timepiece currently costs 3.055,- euros. This saves you 15% compared to the manufacturer’s RRP. The new watch comes with box and papers and has the international manufacturer warranty. My final thanks once again to Horando for the great cooperation!