A Closer Look At The New Frederique Constant RedBar Highlife Limited Edition Models
With their grey dials and red accents, these timepieces were made for collectors.
Only a few weeks after launching their revamped Highlife Collection (read HERE), Frederique Constant announced that it was adding two more limited-edition timepieces, both designed in collaboration with RedBar Group.
This new pair – the RedBar Highlife Automatic COSC and the RedBar Highlife Perpetual Calendar Manufacture – were unveiled during a commemorative virtual webinar hosted by Frederique Constant and RedBar Group on September 12, 2020. And they were an immediate hit! The dark grey dial. The bright white lume. Oh, and the rich red seconds hand. But that’s not all.
One of the signatures of the Frederic Constant Highlife Collection is its global dial motif. A fitting motif, considering RedBar Group’s worldwide community. But there are so many other reasons why partnering with RedBar makes a good match. We asked RedBar founder Adam Craniotes how the collaboration came to be.
“Given FC's focus on accessible luxury and our focus on inclusivity in the watch collecting community, I suppose you could say that it was just a matter of time before we collaborated on a watch,” said Craniotes. “What's more, Frederique Constant has been a stalwart supporter of RedBar over the years, with numerous joint events held both on these shores and abroad, so there was already a deep level of understanding between us.”
Understanding turned to action after a casual conversation between RedBar CEO Kathleen McGivney and Fernando Sanchez, FC's Managing Director for North America. Later, the RedBar team were shown prototypes of the Highlife Collection. “We knew immediately that we had found the perfect canvas to create something special for our members that would embody everything that we stand for as an organization,” said Craniotes.
The RedBar Highlife Automatic COSC model is certified by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute to ensure the movement is made with the highest quality components and meets the strict ISO standards. The FC-303 caliber movement vibrates at 28,800 alt/h and has a power reserve of 38 hours.
The rest of the hardware is just as nice.
The hand-polished silver hour and minute hands with a white luminous treatment and the vibrant red second hand are contrasted against a dark grey dial that is etched with a globe motif and features a date window at 3 o’clock. The 41mm case is made from polished stainless steel, and the movement can be admired through the sapphire crystal case back, emblazoned with the RedBar Group logo.
The RedBar Highlife Perpetual Calendar Manufacture features the FC-775 manufacture caliber movement with a perpetual calendar perlage and a circular Côtes de Genève decoration, which has a power reserve of 38 hours and vibrates at 28,800 alt/h.
The case is 41mm in diameter and is made from polished stainless steel. The dark grey dial has a similar dial to the Automatic COSC, complete with globe decoration and hand-polished silver hour and minute hands with white luminous treatment. But the bold blood-red moon phase is an homage to the RedBar Group’s scarlet signature.
“I'm hard-pressed to think of a collection introduced thus far in 2020 that offers so much in terms of style, history, and value to the collecting community,” said Craniotes. “Which makes me even more proud that we have been able to put our unique imprint on it.”
RedBar and Frederic Constant wanted to present these two timepieces with as much hullaballoo that is possible during a pandemic.
“There's no substitute for an in-person gathering when it comes to launching a collection – particularly for us,” said Craniotes. “The challenge was to make the launch an occasion. To this end, we coordinated with FC HQ in Geneva to have a local watchmaker and friend of RedBar, tour the factory for a video, and naturally, we had our good friend, Pim Koeslag, FC's Technical Director, live on Zoom to announce the limited editions and take questions from our members.”
And members are liking what they saw. Good news because RedBar Group's goals include both bringing collector communities together and encouraging collectors to give back to local charitable organizations.
In this case, a portion of sales of these two limited edition watches will go to DonorsChoose – a crowdfunding platform for public school teachers, donors, and district administrators, which evaluates requests then ships the funded resources directly to classrooms. These efforts include the Frederique Constant Foundation, which locally supports DonorsChoose.org.
Membership with RedBar Group also has its privileges. Both models are presented in a leather-bound collector’s case that contains the watch with the original integrated steel bracelet and an alternate grey leather strap with red stitching, allowing wearers to effortlessly transition from a classic to sporty look with one click of a button. The Frederique Constant RedBar Highlife collection is available exclusively to RedBar members for 60 days after launch, afterwards, the remaining pieces will be available to the general public.
Another plus: Although they are limited editions, both carry the same accessible price point as the versions carried in the regular collection. The Frederique Constant Highlife RedBar Perpetual Calendar Limited Edition, limited to 10 pieces, is priced at $9,295. And the Frederique Constant Highlife RedBar Automatic COSC Limited Edition model, limited to 100 pieces, costs $1,995.
(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)