Frederique Constant is a brand with many faces. These days, the sporty Highlife line plays an important role in the brand’s catalog. However, in the beginning, Frederique Constant made a name for itself with a classically inspired collection. That’s why it makes total sense that Frederique Constant chose a classic silhouette to celebrate its 35th anniversary. And this is not just any watch. The new Frederique Constant Classic Tourbillon Meteorite Manufacture has a platinum case, a meteorite dial, and a completely hand-finished Manufacture FC-980 tourbillon movement. Talk about a celebration in style!

I like what Frederique Constant has achieved as a brand. With a diverse collection, FC has plenty to offer for many watch fans. With that diversity also comes several favorites. For me, the Manufacture and Highlife collections hold some of the brand’s best pieces. One that immediately comes to mind is the Manufacture Classic Flyback Chronograph, which celebrates the classic chronograph style in a great execution. Another favorite is the Manufacture Classic Worldtimer. When it comes to the Highlife collection, the Highlife Automatic Edition Caron that Nacho reviewed is a beauty. The brand created a hit with a great dial color and a motif that replaces the dial’s divisive globe image with a soft swirl. Another standout is the Highlife Worldtimer Manufacture. In particular, the brown-dial version on the bracelet is a winner.

The story of the Frederique Constant Classic Tourbillon Meteorite Manufacture

But today, we’re here to discuss something else — something special, not just in terms of the piece itself but also the occasion it celebrates. This year, Frederique Constant enjoys its 35th anniversary. On top of that, it’s been 15 years since the brand introduced its Manufacture tourbillon caliber. To combine both special occasions, Frederique Constant has unveiled the Classic Tourbillon Meteorite Manufacture. The brand’s most exclusive timepiece to date will be produced in a limited run of just 35 pieces. Its most special feature is, without a doubt, the completely hand-finished tourbillon movement.

It is combined with a special meteorite dial and a platinum case. This a combination we do not see very often, which makes this watch even more special. The funny thing is that at first glance, the colors might seem a bit subdued, even underwhelming. But don’t let that fool you because experiencing this piece in real life is completely different. I was especially impressed by the overall level of craftsmanship that goes into creating this timepiece. It’s truly the next step in making Frederique Constant a formidable, high-end manufacturer.

A platinum canvas for the meteorite dial

Let’s start with the basics. The watch has a fully polished three-part platinum case that is 39mm wide, 10.99mm thick, and water resistant to 3 ATM. The round case with its straight lugs does not really stand out in terms of design. But it is a nice, classic platinum canvas for the other elements to shine. It is fitted with a scratch-resistant and antireflective convex sapphire crystal on the front. Additionally, it features a sapphire crystal on the display case back so that you can admire the special movement.

Frederique Constant Classic Tourbillon Meteorite Manufacture dial close-up

While the movement is an absolute showstopper, the dial side is also quite something. The watch features a dial cut from a meteorite that landed in Gibeon, Namibia. As most of you will know, the true intricacies of a meteorite dial shine best in bright, natural light. Only with that can one fully appreciate the unique visual properties of this extraterrestrial material. The dial of the Classic Tourbillon Meteorite Manufacture is only 0.5mm thick and is protected by a ruthenium coating. This ensures that all the stunning details are perfectly visible, and it also protects the dial from oxidation.

Gracing the meteorite dial are diamond-cut indices and a hand-polished silver-colored handset. It is a very straightforward aesthetic to allow the dial and movement to shine. The movement is partially visible on the front side through the big opening at 6 o’clock. It reveals the 60-second tourbillon mechanism of the special hand-finished version of the FC-980 caliber that was introduced 15 years ago in 2008. This is another reason to celebrate that coincides nicely with the brand’s 35th anniversary.

Frederique Constant Classic Tourbillon Meteorite Manufacture movement

The hand-finished in-house FC-980 caliber

The Frederique Constant Manufacture has gone to great lengths to create a special version of its in-house FC-980 caliber. Every single part has been finished by hand, and the results are stunning. Two watchmakers at the manufacture were responsible for creating and finishing the complicated movements. They used traditional tools and instruments and worked for weeks to meticulously finish all the individual parts. Among the tools they used were a buff file for beveling, a hammer and punch for hand punching, and 9-micron sandpaper for the carbon-like charbonnage finish on the frame (bridge) and the base of the tourbillon cage. This is to reproduce the feeling of the meteorite dial.

Frederique Constant Classic Tourbillon Meteorite Manufacture Movement

The beading and graining of the flanks were also done by hand. On top of that, the finishing was applied to both sides of each part, even the ones that are not visible through the display case back. Every single detail has been taken into account, down to the black-polished screws. This technique is very demanding and requires diamond polishing on a zinc plate. It results in screw heads that give off either a black or shiny steel sheen depending on how the light hits them. Each of the more than 40 screws takes roughly 40 minutes to polish and bevel by hand. Yes, the movement beats at a 28,800vph frequency and has a 38-hour power reserve. As you can tell, though, mundane specs like that are not what the finished product is about.

Frederique Constant Classic Tourbillon Meteorite Manufacture on wrist

Wearing the Classic Tourbillon Meteorite Manufacture

Once all the individual elements are finished and the movements are assembled, every single detail is painstakingly checked. According to the brand, the whole creation, finishing, and quality control process are up to Haute Horlogerie standards, which bodes well for Frederique Constant’s future developments. And I have to say, if you see the movement, you will only feel respect for the levels of craftsmanship, time, and dedication that brought this project to life.

Frederique Constant Classic Tourbillon Meteorite Manufacture on wrist

You also feel that when you put the watch on your wrist. Because of its platinum case, it immediately demands your attention with its weight and presence. But quickly after you have affixed the matte black alligator strap to your wrist, the details start catching your eye. The combination of the textured meteorite dial, razor-sharp hands, and indices is wonderful to witness. On top of that, you are quickly sucked into the large tourbillon opening that reveals the exquisitely finished movement.

Frederique Constant Classic Tourbillon Meteorite Manufacture

You feel the unique character of this piece

Honestly, the Classic Tourbillon Meteorite Manufacture is not a watch that is necessarily my style. The classic appearance combined with a meteorite dial is an acquired taste. But despite it not being up my alley, I can’t help but feel how special this piece is. The craftsmanship and the incredible level of detail stand out immediately, both on and off the wrist. And that’s why I really appreciate this beautiful labor of love.

And while I enjoyed wearing the piece, the true magic is visible through the sapphire window on the back. That’s where you see the incredible tour de force that the two Frederique Constant watchmakers pulled off. I am sure that all 35 future owners of this Frederique Constant Classic Tourbillon Meteorite Manufacture will enjoy the watch immensely.

To do that, however, they will have to pay the €42,995 asking price. Yes, you read that correctly. This watch is by no means inexpensive. But what you get in return is, arguably, worth it because each of the 35 watches has a different dial and a unique hand-finished movement. While I won’t be one of the 35 people to own this watch, it certainly was special to experience it up close.

For more information, visit the official Frederique Constant website. Also, don’t forget to tell us what you think of this uniquely hand-finished Classic Tourbillon Meteorite Manufacture in the comments section.

Watch specifications

Classic Tourbillon Meteorite Manufacture
Meteorite with diamond-cut applied indices
Case Material
Case Dimensions
39mm (diameter) × 10.99mm (thickness)
Case Back
Platinum with sapphire display
Frederique Constant FC-980 — in-house caliber, automatic nd hand winding, 28,800vph frequency, 38-hour power reserve, 33, jewels, silicon escapement wheel and anchor. Manually finished in-house with chamfering (anglage), hammering (martelage), circular graining (perlage an cerclage), flanks drawing (étirage des flancs), mirror polishing (poli miroir).
Water Resistance
Matte black alligator leather (20mm width) with platinum pin buckle
Time only (hours, minutes, small seconds displayed on tourbillon cage)
Special Note(s)
Limited to 35 pieces