New Watch Alert: FC, Luminox, Citizen

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Frederique Constant Classics Index Automatic – $1600?

Frederique Constant classic

Why do watch brands release new models to the media before putting them on their website? watchpro.com 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 . . .

FC front

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 market, Macy’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

Luminox Bear Grylls Survival AIR Series 3761 GMT Watch - new watch alert

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 . . .

Luminox Air Series

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

New watch alert Series 8 831

“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 . . .

New watch alert - Citizen Series 8

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.

8 COMMENTS

  1. “What’s the color of the boathouse at Hereford?”

    I like the functionality of the faceted corner chamfers on the citizen. I don’t want a blocky watch that catches cuffs and doorways. But I hate the look, almost more than I hate the ashphalt dial on the 0200.

    • I dunno. I kind of like the 0200. Asphalt dial and all. But I’m not paying $6K for it. Maybe $2K. For the price of the Series 8, they’d have me ordering as soon as I can get my wallet open.

      • I’m ignorant as to what the Albanian flag logo is about. That dial texture may be impressive in person or under a loupe, I don’t know. As mentioned below, everyone is struggling to understand the pricing.

    • A second glance at the Lumin-Ox shows that they didn’t get the memo about Dacca being spelt Dhaka since 1983. Or is this a British thing?

  2. The reason Citizen subsidiaries Frederique Constant and Alpina go for Tissot/Hamilton prices grey is that Tissot and Hamilton make nicer watches. The Tissot Gentleman Silicium is a much nicer watch than this Frederique Constant.

    These integrated bracelet Citizens are pretty goofy. In particular I don’t know who buys the $6K one that overlaps with the price of an Omega Manhattan and costs much more than the still superior Tudor North Flag.

    Maybe a severe Japanese nationalist whose dog was run over by a Seiko delivery truck? I’m thinking that is the very narrow demographic that will pay more than a couple hundred for a Citizen.

  3. The sculptured case (nearly as good as Grand Seiko’s 44 gs case design), and high quality movement is appealing. Don’t like the secondary seconds dial nor the asphalt dial. A bit more work on the design would pay dividends I think. However, good to see Citizen making a serious bid in the luxury manual watch market and I hope they succeed.

  4. ..”’til it settles into its natural habitat”…”There’s no faulting the quartz-powered watch’s accuracy”…”sometime between now and never”. It’s more than just watches here, its semiotics, it’s the beauty of the English language, its philosophical musings.

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