The Frederique Constant Highlife Chronograph debuted about two years ago. To set it on the right track, the watch came in black and blue panda versions in stainless steel. Now the Dutch-led brand of Swiss-made watches is introducing two new versions. One is a limited edition of 1,888 pieces in stainless steel with an opaline dial and green counters. The other has a rose-gold-plated case and an inverted panda dial in blue and silver.

The original Highlife collection dates back to 1999. After some years of inactivity, Frederique Constant revived it in 2020 with three new models in various color combinations. The two new chronographs we’re looking at today celebrate the Highlife collection’s 25th anniversary. I went hands-on with both new versions, so let me tell you all about them.

The Frederique Constant Highlife Chronograph

If you’re not yet familiar with Frederique Constant’s Highlife Chronograph, let me fill you in. It’s a 41mm automatic chronograph with an integrated bracelet (or strap). The case lacks traditional exposed lugs, but it measures 45.5mm from tip to tip. On its website, Frederique Constant mentions a thickness of 14.22mm, but I think that doesn’t take the domed sapphire crystal into account. If you do, the watch comes closer to 15mm thick.

The top of the case and part of the case back have a vertically brushed finish, while the rest, including the convex bezel, shows a gleaming high polish. Overall, the cushion-like case has a combination of rounded and angular facets. The new stainless steel version of the Highlife Chronograph comes with a green rubber strap, a green nubuck calfskin strap, and a matching bracelet. The rose-tone version, however, forgoes the bracelet and rubber strap and includes just a nubuck calfskin strap in dark blue.

La Joux-Perret inside

Powering the Frederique Constant Highlife Chronograph is a caliber the company calls the FC-391. Basically, this is a La Joux-Perret L110 automatic chronograph movement but fitted with a rose-gold-plated Frederique Constant rotor. It runs at a frequency of 28,800vph, features 26 jewels, and holds a power reserve of about 60 hours. It has been regulated to run between -5 and +10 seconds per day. Through the sapphire window on the case back, you can see that both the movement’s uppermost plate and the rotor feature Geneva stripes.

Frederique Constant Highlife Chronograph opaline/green on wrist

Green panda

As previously mentioned, the Highlife Chronograph was already available in stainless steel, featuring a panda-style opaline dial with either black or blue registers. Now a green panda version joins the lineup. Just like the previous two versions, this new one has an opaline dial with a globe-like texture. At 3, 6, and 9 o’clock, we find forest-green sub-dials with a subtle azurage texture in their centers and white printed markings. The applied luminous indexes mimic the design of the pencil-like hands. All the steel elements on the dial are manually polished as well.

The rehaut encircling the dial is green and features the shared track for the minutes and chronograph seconds. Finally, at 4:30, there’s a nicely executed date window. Overall, the dial looks well organized, and the green hue reminds me of racing green, which fits the Highlife Chronograph perfectly. I didn’t get a chance to try out the bracelet, but the green straps are also very well done. I prefer the included rubber strap as it suits the watch’s sporty character better.

A rose-tone inverted panda

The new rose-gold-plated Highlife Chronograph has a dark blue inverted panda dial. Its three sub-dials are silver, just like the rehaut. The hand-polished hands and applied indexes are also in rose tone. Unlike the stainless steel version, this one only comes with the nubuck strap. It matches well with the more elegant character of the watch. It’s good to know, though, that the strap does have quick-release spring bars, so if you’d like to swap it out for one of the brand’s other options, you can.

I’m not a fan of rose gold watches in general, so I much prefer the stainless steel green panda. It’s the sportier of the two, and it might be my favorite Highlife Chronograph overall.

Frederique Constant Highlife Chronograph rose gold pocket shot

On the wrist

The Frederique Constant Highlife Chronograph is indeed quite a big watch on paper. However, due to its rather organic shape, it doesn’t feel as big on my 17cm wrist. I wore it for a while and quickly got used to its size. The signed push-pull crown is easy to operate, and the pushers feel sturdy with nice, firm clicks. Overall, the Highlife Chronograph feels like a high-quality, well-put-together watch.

Frederique Constant Highlife Chronograph opaline/green close-up

What I don’t love about it is the design of the bracelet and the way the case connects to the straps. Whenever I see the watch on the bracelet, the case shape doesn’t seem to flow into it. But when wearing it on a strap, there’s a rectangular piece connecting it to the case, which looks a bit random and not as refined as the rest of the watch. Nevertheless, the Highlife Chronograph’s overall refinement is exactly why it won its Sunday Morning Showdown against the Tissot PRX Chronograph.

Frederique Constant Highlife Chronograph rose gold on wrist

Final thoughts

The new Frederique Constant Highlife Chronograph in stainless steel costs €3,495. That’s a great price for an automatic chronograph with a reliable and easily serviceable La Joux-Perret movement. As mentioned, it also includes the three strap options and a high level of finishing. The green panda version here is limited to 1,888 pieces, but the rose gold-plated version is not limited and costs €3,995. Again, this version only comes with the dark blue nubuck strap. For more information, check out the official Frederique Constant website.

What do you think of the Frederique Constant Highlife Chronograph? Let me know in the comments below.

Watch specifications

Highlife Chronograph Automatic
FC-391SGR4NH6 (steel) / FC-391NS4NH4 (rose tone)
Opaline with globe pattern, green sub-dials and rehaut, applied stainless steel luminous indexes / Dark blue with globe pattern, silver sub-dials and rehaut, and applied rose-tone luminous indexes
Case Material
Stainless steel / Stainless steel with rose gold plating
Case Dimensions
41mm (diameter) × 45.5mm (length) × 14.22mm (thickness excluding crystal, approx. 15mm including)
Sapphire with antireflective coating
Case Back
Stainless steel with sapphire crystal (and rose gold plating for ref. FC-391NS4NH4)
FC-391 (La Joux-Perret L110): automatic with manual winding and hacking, 28,800vph frequency, 60-hour power reserve, 26 jewels
Water Resistance
10 ATM (100 meters)
Green alligator-pattern nubuck calf leather with pin buckle, green rubber with pin buckle, and stainless steel H-link bracelet with butterfly clasp / Dark blue alligator-pattern nubuck calf leather with pin buckle
Time (hours, minutes, small seconds), chronograph (12-hour and 30-minute registers, central seconds), and date
€3,495 (steel) / €3,995 (rose tone)