Yesterday in Amsterdam, a curious clash of gastronomy and horology took place. Watch enthusiasts and those who love haute cuisine gathered in a single space. And as eclectic a combination as this may seem, learning more about the new Frederique Constant Highlife Automatic Edition Caron might add a bit of sense to the equation. With the same balance of expertise and care with which their recipes come together, the three chefs bearing the Caron name — a father and two sons — worked with Reijersen Juweliers and Frederique Constant to bring this project to fruition. These new Highlife models pay tribute to the spirit of French cooking in the form of a timepiece from the Dutch-Swiss brand. In doing so, they embody the self-prescribed three Cs of Caron; Creative, Chaotic, and Culinary. So iron your chef whites, sharpen your knives, and remember, in the kitchen, every second counts!

As you can probably tell, watching HBO’s The Bear is as close as I get to having a modicum of proper kitchen expertise. However, as some of my Fratello colleagues can attest, I make a mean tortilla de patatas (among other occasional specialties). My cooking (and watchmaking) pale in comparison to the expertise brought together by the Caron family and Frederique Constant in creating a uniquely culinary-inspired timepiece with more than a couple of nods to the family business. Alain Caron (not to be confused with the master of the six-string bass by the same name) is a Paris-born chef who found success in the Netherlands over the past four decades. Having worked in prestigious restaurants and appeared on TV programs like MasterChef, he has become a household name here in Holland. He co-operates a number of locations in Amsterdam — including Cantine Caron, Café Caron, and Petit Caron — alongside his two sons David and Tom.

The Frederique Constant Highlife Automatic Edition Caron

So, let’s take a look at the watch(es) on the menu today and have a taste of what the chefs have prepared for us. It’s a minimalistic menu — a two-course meal consisting of two mains. But as long as you’re hungry for Highlife, you’re bound to leave satisfied. As with any complex dish concocted by a skillful trio of chefs, the Highlife Automatic Edition Caron requires some explanation. Let’s start with the dial’s color and shape. It has a subtle champagne tone, which Alain himself calls “the color of welcome.” Then there’s the central swirl, or colimaçon, which is based on a drawing by Mr. Caron. It symbolizes the height of pressure in the kitchen, at the center of which (in the eye of the storm, if you will) stands the chef. It also looks a bit like the peak of a light and crisp meringue.

But this is not where the subtlety ends. You might notice that the hour markers from 6 to 11 o’clock have pistachio-green lume. This is the Caron color, which highlights the hours of service at the trio’s restaurant. This period is the high point of their day and the hours during which their guests may enjoy fine culinary concoctions to the fullest. Finally, the frosted-glass back of the watch depicts a drawing of two people kissing. This illustration unites both Alain and his youngest son in the form of a shared tattoo. These Highlife models are available in both 34mm and 39mm sizes, measuring 9.8mm and 10.34mm thick, respectively. Served on a steel bracelet, each also comes with a khaki-colored rubber strap. Under the central pinion, the name “Caron” is printed on the dial.

Final thoughts

Specs-wise, you’re looking at the standard features of the Highlife model. You get a three-piece stainless steel tonneau case with 5 ATM (34mm) or 10 ATM (39mm) water resistance. The movement inside both is the Frederique Constant FC-303. This Sellita-based automatic caliber displays the time with central seconds, the date at 3 o’clock, and a 38-hour power reserve.

Just as with haute cuisine, these watches are exclusive and not meant for everyone. Only 50 pieces in each size will be made. The prices will be €2,295 for the 34mm model and €2,395 for the 39mm version. These are available now through the Edition Caron website or in-store at Reijersen Juweliers. Along with the watch, buyers will receive a special Caron Laguiole knife as a gift.

What do you think of this latest collaborative offering from Frederique Constant? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Watch specifications

Highlife Automatic Edition Caron
Champagne tone with matte finish, colimaçon pattern, applied luminous indices, Caron signature, and date window
Case Material
Stainless steel
Case Dimensions
34mm (diameter) × 9.6mm (thickness) / 39mm × 10.34mm
Curved sapphire with antireflective coating
Case Back
Stainless steel with sapphire display
Frederique Constant FC-303 — Sellita SW200-1 base, automatic and hand winding, 28,800vph frequency, 38-hour power reserve, 26 jewels
Water Resistance
5 ATM (34mm model) or 10 ATM (39mm model)
Stainless steel integrated H-link bracelet with butterfly clasp and additional khaki-colored rubber strap with Easy Exchange system and pin buckle
Time (hours, minutes, central seconds) and date
€2,295 (34mm) / €2,395 (39mm)
Special Note(s)
Limited to 50 pieces in each size. Comes with