Long-gone are the days of tiny, bracelet-like watches for women. Today's woman enjoys wearing a timepiece that is visible and fashionable. Colourful straps and endless designs allow women to choose a perfect match for their personal style. With the advent of battery-operated, quartz movements, one positive aspect of past ladies' watches was lost. That is their carefully assembled and finely decorated mechanisms. With a surge of mechanical watches for women happening in the past five years, the horological art has returned to many woman's models.
The Frédérique Constant Maxime Manufacture Lady captures the essence of mechanical watchmaking in a classic, feminine package and contemporary size.
Given that one of the founders of Frédérique Constant in its current form is a woman, it is not surprising that the company's collection offers some excellent, mechanical time pieces for female watch enthusiasts. The Maxime Manufacture Lady is the perfect example. It marries a high-quality, Swiss-made movement with the stunning class of its case, dial, and strap. The 39mm case is hand finished with several different polishing techniques. While the lugs and side display a soft, satin brushed finish, the bezel is glossy. The bezel is even more brilliant when it is set with 52 full-cut, quality diamonds as can be had in the two diamond studded versions of the watch.
The dial complements both the simple, classic style of the all-steel version and that of the bejewelled models. The grade of the mother of pearl used is high and displays a beautiful, distinct, cloud-like texture. More diamonds as well as Arabic numerals are applied as hour markers, and a sunburst pattern is engraved at the center of the dial and sub-dial. The two-tone version comprises an 18 karat rose gold bezel, hands, and hour markers, and it is equipped with a white silk strap. The combination of white with rose gold has become very popular in the past few years and is surprisingly versatile, perfect for both summer and winter.
The FC-700 calibre movement within the Maxime Manufacture Lady is a symbol of Frédérique Constant's status as an important Swiss watchmaking company. It is their first mechanism entirely conceived and manufactured in their factory in Geneva. The FC-700 is identifiable from the dial thanks to the way the date is displayed. While most watches display the date in a window, the Maxime Manufacture does this via a small hand on a subsidiary dial at six o'clock. The mechanism is self-winding and has a power reserve of roughly 42 hours. It will run for almost two days off the wrist if fully wound. Aside from the unparalleled quality and durability of Swiss manufacturing, the FC-700 movement completes the artistic value of the watch. It is finely decorated and assembled by hand so that you know that your watch is as spectacular on the inside as it is on the outside.
If everything in life was conceived like the Lady Maxime Manufacture, our world would be a happier place. Beauty, quality, and care are all ingredients in its construction, and despite the manufacture (or in-house) moniker the price tag manages to stay accessible. The retail prices, ranging from US$3,250 to US$4,950 are considerably lower than the majority of other watches in its class. The Lady Maxime does a great job at bridging generations with aspects like traditional Swiss watchmaking practices, fashion-forward thinking, a classical style, and contemporary size.
By Marco Gagliano
Expert of Frédérique Constant, mattbaily.ca