By Jovan Krstevski
Racing cars and elegant watches, what’s the connection? Pretty much everything although if you can’t figure out the resemblance, then probably you’re on the wrong page of the internet. Car enthusiasts who happen to be horology junkies are common these days so I’ll be forgiving in all honesty if you’re not. One thing I like about racing inspired watches is their incredible engineering. At high speeds, if the race car is not engineered well, it simply breaks piece by piece.
Imagine a watch built to outlast you, that’s simply incredible. Albeit such watches come with a hefty price tag which Frédérique Constant reimagined with the release of the Vintage Rally Collection. Fortunately, the Swiss watch manufacturer was able to bring the price closer to the comfort of the masses. Another plus factor is that the Vintage Rally Collection comes limited. It’s a masterpiece so I understand if they want the prestige of the Limited Edition tag. Oh and if you remember the Healey cars, you’ll be pleased to learn that you can practically have a Healey NOJ393 car… in a miniature form though. That’s something worth displaying in your man cave.
Enough talk, so let’s examine the watch. The 42 mm case comes in either stainless steel or gold-plated versions. I know, right now you’re probably put-off by the plated-in-gold form factor. Think about it though, if you want it in pure gold, the price may jack up threefold so yeah, the plated thingy comes for a reason. Either way, I’ll get the stainless steel version anytime since it has clearer dial and gold is not really rally-oriented, trust me. On the other hand, the design is marvelous. The lugs are smooth and in perfect harmony with the bezel, crown and the two pushers evenly positioned at the right side of the case. From a quick glance, the two pushers look spartan but they actually signify the racing prestige so yeah, it’s really a terrific design.
Now to the elegant dial which comes in white for the stainless steel version and black for the gold-plated version. At this point, it’s worth mentioning that the green highlight is only available for the stainless steel version. Personally, I’d pick the stainless steel as it contains more bravado than the lame professional appeal of the gold-plated version. To each his own I guess. Oh and Austin Healey’s logo can be found on the dial at the 6 o’clock. The two handy sub-dials include a 30-minute counter at the 3 o’clock and small continuous seconds at the 9 o’clock. The hour hands are coated with Super-Luminova for excellent visibility. The main dial is a combination of clean surface for the applied indices and a channeled surface for the sub-dials. All of these goodies are protected by a convex sapphire crystal.
The watch is powered by a Calibre FC–397 featuring 25 jewels and a 46-hour power reserve. This nimble movement is responsible for juicing up the chronograph that measures elapsed time that you control with the pusher at the 2 o’clock. Then, you get to wear these babies with black leather strap for the stainless steel version and brown leather strap for the gold-plated version all conforming to the rally spirit using large Rally-styled holes in the sporty strap. Note that there are only 2888 of these watches, but their boxes all come with a Healey NOJ393 car miniature model. So yeah, it’s kinda exciting. For more info, please visit frederiqueconstant.com
JOVAN KRSTEVSKI – FOUNDER, PROPRIETOR & EXECUTIVE EDITOR
Watch collector, aficionado and an Event profile in the Swedish nightlife. He launched Watchgeek back in 2011, which is now known as WristReview and is one of the most widely read watch blogs on the Web. He quotes ’WristReview is a site to help people find, explore, discover and enjoy wristwatches.’ His passion jump started in his early teens when he was given his first mid-range wristwatch which was an Omega Seamaster. Since then he has always been in love with wristwatches! Besides WristReview, he also writes for a number of publications. Read his articles here.