Gentlemen, Start Your Engines: Frederique Constant And Austin-Healey Return
The 17-year adventure between Frederique Constant and Austin-Healey continues with two new Vintage Rally Healey Automatic Limited Editions.
The Swiss watchmaker and the British sports car maker return with two new automatic timepieces that celebrate their mutual love for mechanics and retro design.
Frederique Constant And Austin-Healey
The partnership between the two companies started in 2004 and has resulted in numerous sports car-inspired editions such as the Vintage Rally Chronograph Automatic, the Vintage Rally Limited Edition, and the Vintage Rally Chronograph Limited Edition to name just a few. And throughout this 17-year-long adventure, Frederique Constant has sponsored various vintage car rallies around the world, often acting as the official timekeeper for classic car races.
A Little History About Austin-Healey
In 1946, Donald Healey founded his sports car engineering and design firm in Warwick, England, under the name Donald Healey Motor Company. He partnered with Austin (a division of the British Motor Corporation) in 1952, and Austin-Healey was born. Famous models include the Austin-Healey 100, the Austin-Healey 100-6, the Austin-Healey 3000, and the Austin-Healey Sprite.
A succession of mergers eventually led to Healey leaving the company in 1968, and the company stopped producing cars in 1972 when the 20-year agreement between Healey and Austin came to an end.
Austin-Healeys were extensively raced across Europe and the United States, and in 1954, a special streamlined Austin-Healey set numerous land speed records at the famous Bonneville Salt Flats. Today, Austin-Healeys are highly sought after with enthusiasts and owners’ clubs spanning the four corners of the globe. And wherever you find car lovers, you will also find watch lovers as the joint venture between Austin-Healey and Frederique Constant has proven so well.
Urban Design And Retro Charm
Previous Vintage Rally Healey timepieces had favored chronograph movements and bi-compax dials, i.e., two sub-dials. However, these latest limited editions are sans sub-dial and feature a 40mm diameter case, the FC-303 automatic caliber with three hands, a date aperture at 3 o’clock, and a 38-hour power reserve. This is the first time this movement has been used in the collection, bringing a more urban design to the line, while keeping all the much-loved retro charm.
Vintage Rally Healey Automatic Limited Edition – Silver Dial
The first limited edition comes in a rose gold-plated case with matching colored hands and indices that have been enhanced with luminescence for driving at night. The silver-colored dial includes a dark brown outer ring that matches the dark chocolate color of the calfskin leather strap to perfection. The strap is decorated with perforations, in keeping with the legendary rally watches of the first half of the 20th century.
Vintage Rally Healey Automatic Limited Edition – British Racing Green Dial
The second version comes in a stainless steel case and with a British Racing Green dial – the most iconic of rally car colors and the corporate color of Austin-Healey. This iteration comes with a contrasting silver-colored outer ring and is paired with a light brown calfskin leather strap. Both editions are fitted with a convex sapphire crystal, are water-resistant to 50 meters, and are limited to 2,888 pieces each.
In True Collector Style
The casebacks of both versions are engraved with the famous Healey 100S NOJ 393. One of the Austin Healey Motorworks Special Test Cars from 1953, the NOJ 393 was famously sold in 1969 for just £155, only to then, in 2011, be sold at auction for £843,000 (almost one million Euros at the time).
Each model also comes in a collector gift set with a model of the Healey 100S NOJ 393 in the watch box, making it the perfect gift for Austin-Healey enthusiasts. Prices start at $1,895. And for those who can’t wait for the shops to open, the timepieces are available on the brand’s e-shop – racing is in this watch’s spirit after all!
(Images provided by Frederique Constant)