Disclaimer: I got this watch from a friend as part of a trade. I’m not being externally incentivized in any way to make this review. All opinions here are my own. However, since this watch was worn/used, please make note that the experience might differ from that of a brand new watch.
This is the third Frederique Constant watch that I’m reviewing in a very short span of time, so I should make it clear that I have no affiliation to the brand or have any bias towards them. With that out of the way, this is the Classics Index Automatic (FC-303BN5B6B) watch, which is a pretty conservatively designed dress watch that packs a Sellita SW200-1 movement.
This watch has a retail price of around $1100, but you should never pay retail for one of these watches. You can either be very nice to your AD and request a massive discount, or you can buy it on the grey market for around $600-800. My review will be done assuming that this watch costs closer to the $600 mark, rather than $800 – $1100.
Let’s check it out!
I measured the case to be 39.5mm in diameter, 46mm from lug-to-lug and 10mm in height. The case shape seems identical to the Classics Moonphase quartz watch that I reviewed, but this has a slightly thicker case to accommodate the automatic movement.
The sleek mid case extends out into a pair of slightly tapered and curved lugs, with a lug width of 20mm.
There is a slim fixed bezel section that seats a sapphire crystal. The AR coating on this isn’t as good as the quartz moonphase, and it catches reflections quite easily.
There is a 5mm signed push-pull crown at the 3 o’clock position that is easy to grip and operate, and has no crown or stem wobble.
Flipping it over, you have a solid screw-down case-back that is high polished and almost mirror-like. This watch is rated for up-to 50m of water resistance.
The dial is simple, and isn’t going to do much more than be a classic dress watch. I’d find it hard to say that this is a versatile dress watch, because it isn’t, but that isn’t a bad thing if a dress watch is what you’re after.
There is an outer minute track that has printed white ticks for the minute markers, and Arabic numerals for each increment of five. The quality of printing is excellent, which seems to be the case with all the Frederique Constant watches that I’ve reviewed so far.
The only splash of color here is the red color “60” Arabic numeral minute marker at the 12 o’clock position. I think this is pretty cool.
You then have polished stainless steel applied indices for the hour markers, with stick indices for each marker except the 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock markers. The finishing is very good and I couldn’t find any serious imperfections.
There is a date window at the 3 o’clock position that has a white date wheel with black text. I wish this date window was at the 6 o’clock position instead, and I wish it had a color matched date wheel. Or better yet, get rid of the date entirely, but that’s just my preference.
The hands are simple leaf style polished stainless steel hands and are well finished. Their proportions are excellent, and the dial is very easy to read. Apart from the date window, I don’t really have any complaints here. This dial isn’t going to win any awards for creativity or excitement, but that’s pretty much what most folks want from a dress watch.
The bracelet is well made and is a pretty typical dress watch fine link bracelet with a butterfly clasp.
The finishing on the links is good, and they’re all polished links with pin and collar style link pins.
There aren’t any half links, but the links are small enough to get a reasonable fit. I don’t really like butterfly clasps, but I’m more forgiving of the lack of finer adjustments on a dress watch.
The end links fit great and are solid. No wiggle whatsoever, and the entire bracelet is leaps and bounds better than the bracelets you’d find on a sub $500 Seiko Presage.
This watch uses an FC303 movement, which is basically a Sellita SW200-1. This is a good movement and I have plenty of experience with it.
I put this watch on my time-grapher and observed roughly -8 spd in the dial up position and -10 spd in the crown up position. Given that this is a pre-owned watch that’s seen a lot of wear, it’s not too bad. But it can definitely be regulated to keep better time.
On The Wrist
This watch wears great on my 6.25″ wrist, coming in at around 39.5mm in diameter and 46mm from lug-to-lug. I think these are great proportions for a modern day dress watch, and it will accommodate a wide range of wrist sizes.
The case-back is very slightly curved, but you don’t notice it at all since the entire height is only 10mm and it sits very low on the wrist. I’m impressed that they were able to pack the automatic SW200-1 into a case that is only 10mm tall.
No complaints from me regarding comfort, and on the metal bracelet it feels quite solid and should make for a great daily work watch.
Overall, I think it delivers quality components, finishing and comfort to justify it’s price tag. As I mentioned early on in this review, I’m referring to the $600 range and not the supposed $1100 retail price. I would not pay $1100 for this watch.
Price tag aside, it has an elegant dress watch aesthetic and has case dimensions to back it up. I can’t think of any glaring weaknesses here. Maybe the dial could’ve been slightly cleaner, and since it has a limited water rating, a nice exhibition case-back could’ve earned it more points among some potential customers?
Thanks for reading!