Sports cars and watches. Yes, it’s a bit of a cliché in the watch world, and there are plenty examples to choose from watch brands linking up with carmakers.
But when the partnership is done right, it’s hard to argue against the logic. After all, every serious collector needs a proper driving watch (or two) in his (or her) collection.
Here we have the latest such offering, the Frédérique Constant Vintage Rally Healey Chronograph. The name of the watch certainly isn’t hiding any secrets: this is a partnership between the accessible Swiss watchmaker and British carmaker Austin Healey.
- The new Frederique Constant Vintage Rally Healey Chronograph
Fans of the collaboration will already know that each year they release limited editions within the same collection. In fact, the watchmaker has been partnering with Healy since 2004, and they have usually delivered solid, vintage-inspired watches.
In 2018, the Swiss watchmaker will again be supporting the European Healey Club as the official Gold-Sponsor for the fifth European Healey Meeting. It will take place in the Black Forest in Germany, for those interested in joining in on the fun.
- The Vintage Rally Healey sports a bi-compax chronograph layout
To mark the occasion, they have produced three new models, each one picking up on various design elements of vintage British racing cars.
We have two models in stainless steel, one with a green dial with white sub-counters (which is the one I’d have, if you were curious), and a second in a more classic-looking silver dial with blue sub-counters. Rounding off the trio is a rose gold-plated case option, which is nicely contrasted by a blue dial with white sub-counters.
While the watches are clearly vintage-inspired, they are sized for contemporary times with each case measuring in at 42mm across. Readability on all models is good, despite the details on the dials like the date window at 3 o’clock and the Healey logo at 6 o’clock.
Under the hood, the watches are powered by the FC-397 automatic chronograph movement, which can be appreciated through the display case back. The 25 jewels movement beats at 28’800 per hour and promises up to 46h of power reserve.
Interestingly, Frédérique Constant opted not to use its flyback chronograph movement here, which it introduced in 2017 as its first in-house chrono movement. Rather, we have the FC-397, which is actually an outsourced ETA-based movement.
The elegant yet sporty Vintage Rally Healey Chronograph is limited to just 2’888 pieces, and I reckon it will be a hit among watch enthusiasts who love a good vintage driving watch.
All the more so because the collection is, as expected, quite accessibly priced. The two steel models start at 2,595 Swiss francs (well under 3,000 USD) and the rose gold-plated model starts at 2,895 Swiss francs (just over 3,000 USD).